Adastral Park
Careers & Education   >   British Science Week   >   Smart Cities
Day 2: Smart Cities
1 - Introduction
Meet Evandro and Amelia, who will introduce you to the world of Smart Cities with experts from BT and the University of Manchester:
2 - IoT Air Polution is NO2 Laughing Matter with Ian Neild
Photo of Amelia Winterburn
Amelia (host): For this session, we will be exploring how Smart Cities will use and share data in real time, to make sure the air we breathe is safe.
Over to you Ian....
Photo of Ian Neild
Photo of Ian Neild
Ian Neild
Smart Infrastructure, Research Manager in BT Applied Research
Key qualifications: Applied Physics with Opto-electronics and laser system engineering BEng Hons; Telecoms MSc
What does your job involve? I look to see what problems BT and its customers are having or are going to have and then how I can use today's and emerging technologies to fix them. Currently, I'm helping BT create services that will allow councils to get much more information about air pollution to make our cities cleaner.
How did you get into your current role? BT Applied Research offered me the chance to do summer placements during my first degree course, which I found fascinating. BT saw I had an inquisitive nature and after I graduated, they recruited me. I've had various roles inside BT, mainly working on emerging technologies and their impact, which has given me the chance to travel around the world, appear on national TV and radio as a 'futurist' and also do an MSc.
What did you want to be when you were younger? As a child I wanted to be a fighter pilot but my dad explained that machines were likely to be flying the planes by the time I grew up. I think he was right but was a generation out.
What do you do outside work? I'm an Archery coach for a local Archery club, so I make sure the archers and surrounding people are safe and don't end up as targets. I'm part of APES (Adastral Park Emergency Services) and training to be a Community First Responder, I drive the ambulance at Adastral Park.
Photo of Ian Neild
Ian: Thanks for watching my video, I bet you didn’t realise how useful sensors can be in our towns and cities! We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to British Science Week which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com. We also held a live Q&A session on the day, a recording of which can be seen below...
Questions and answers
Question:
Are there other places that this technology could be useful? Mines, volcanoes, construction sites, etc.
student profile
Photo of Ian Neild
Answer:
Yes, smart city ideas scale up and down into lots of places but those are some great examples. Mining and construction sites have extra safety issues as well, some mines have laser and radar scanners to monitor the sides of some mines and if the sensors go offline the mine has to shut, some of the trucks in the big mines can cost a million dollars and their tyres are the size of a house. If the trucks break down it can close a mine and that can cost millions.
Question:
How could I start making smart environments for myself at home?
student profile
Photo of Ian Neild
Answer:
We could probably spend a few days on this one, it really depends on what you want to make smart and how technical you are. Raspberrypi.org and Micro Bit are great places to start as they have forums of people to help.
See more questions...
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
3 - Have a Go activities
Evandro Pioli Moro
Evandro (host): Shane is going to explore how sensors could be used to create a smart museum and show you how you can make a domino alarm and code an intruder alarm. You can download the activity pack (link below the video) to get step by step instructions.
Download the activity pack
4 - Career profiles
Photo of Amelia Winterburn
Amelia (host): Now that you know a little more about Smart Cities, take some time to explore more roles in this space by taking a look at these profile cards...
Photo of John Davies
Photo of John Davies
John Davies
Senior Manager, Future Business Systems, BT
Key qualifications: Degree in Computer Science and Physics, PhD in Artificial Intelligence
What does your job involve? I am in charge of a team of BT researchers looking into the future of digital business systems. In other words, how we can use IT to make more intelligent systems for businesses. Recently, for example, we have started to investigate cyber-physical systems - robots which can act independently to do jobs like pick fruit, deliver parcels and so on. The best thing about my job is working on cool technology with clever people!
How did you get into your current role? I joined BT after I finished my PhD in AI. Back then, the web was quite new and I worked on one of the first ever web search engines, a forerunner of Google. Later on, I started to lead a team of other people and I got interested in the Internet of Things - loads of sensors recording data and sending it to the Internet for analysis.
What did you want to be when you were younger? International Footballer
What do you do outside work? Outside of work, I like sports and music. I play tennis and go to the gym a lot. With music, I like Indie bands like The DMAs and also some rap (Bugzy Malone, for example). Fun fact: I once organised a free music festival in Colchester: the first year we got 800 people, by the third year it had grown to 10,000!
Photo of Laura Russell
Photo of Laura Russell
Laura Russell
Apprentice Researcher, BT
Key qualifications: A Levels (Physics, Maths and Product Design). Working towards a degree as part of the Apprenticeship.
What does your job involve? Currently I am in the Internet of Things (IoT) team and am working on a project involving Robots, Networking and Strawberries!
How did you get into your current role? I am on my final rotation as an apprentice and will stay in this team till I finish the apprenticeship in 2022. Previously I have rotated within research in areas such as Cyber Security, Software Development Labs and Openreach Research.
What did you want to be when you were younger? Something creative, maybe a designer of some kind.
What do you do outside work? I love bouldering which is indoor climbing without the ropes, if I’m not climbing I’ll be making cake and eating it (obviously!)
See more career profiles...
University of Manchester
Photo of Evandro Pioli Moro
Evandro (host): Meet Nikolay Mehandjiev and Dr Qudamah Quboa from the University of Manchester, who will explain to you how combining Virtual Reality Gaming, 3D cinema technology and immersive analysis of a multitude of data sets, allows the creation of a data rich X-ray model of Manchester - otherwise known as a Digital Twin
Over to you, Nikolay and Qudamah....
Photo of Nikolay Mehandjiev
Photo of Nikolay Mehandjiev
Nikolay Mehandjiev
Professor of Enterprise Information Systems, University of Manchester
Key qualifications: MSc in Computer Science, PhD in Information Systems
What does your job involve? Conducting interesting research projects and teaching information systems to students from different parts of the world and with different levels of professional experience. The best part of my job is that even at 55, I have not stopped learning and discovering.
How did you get into your current role? I took a PhD scholarship after my Masters Degree. Once that finished, I started a job as a junior lecturer in another university, eventually joining the University of Manchester.
What did you want to be when you were younger? I wanted to work in a space centre, not necessarily as an astronaut.
What do you do outside work? I take care of my teenage twins and maintain my bicycle with which I travel to work.
Photo of Dr Qudamah Quboa
Photo of Dr Qudamah Quboa
Dr Qudamah Quboa
Research Associate University of Manchester
Key qualifications: PhD in Business and Management - Information Systems
What does your job involve? It involves working with a dynamic multidisciplinary team, investigating challenging research and innovation problems as well as developing data visualisations for research areas from across the University through short collaborative projects. The best thing about my job is its flexibility and exploratory nature as well as being industry-related.
How did you get into your current role? I finished my PhD at the AMBS and from there I landed this job.
What did you want to be when you were younger? I wanted to be a Computer Engineer
What do you do outside work? Playing chess, cards, board games, cooking and running after my one year old son.
Photo of Nikolay Mehandjiev
Nikolay: Thanks for watching our video. What sort of data would you like to see on our Data Visualisation Observatory screens? We have had some questions submitted relating to this topic in the lead up to British Science Week which are answered below. However, if you have any questions, we'd love to hear from you. Please email stemexpert@bt.com.
Questions and answers
Question:
Could you use Augmented Reality features that some VR headsets have to see these models in the real world?
student profile
Photo of Nikolay Mehandjiev
Answer:
Our Digital Twin models are developed in Unity, a popular environment for developing VR and AR applications, so they can be ported to any combination of devices supported by Unity, including AR/VR headsets. Porting will involve modifying some of the controls but not a significant redesign of our digital twin.
Question:
How would I create a digital twin myself?
student profile
Photo of Nikolay Mehandjiev
Answer:
We started with an open source project publicly available at GitHub. It uses map information from OpenStreetMap. Our digital twin model can be transferred to Leeds, London or Ipswich by changing the location coordinates, but finding and formatting data sources in these other locations will be more time- and labour-consuming.
Got a question? email stemexpert@bt.com
6 - Related STEM learning content
These videos from our STEM learning programme are related to smart cities:
Data visualisation
Suggested age range: 13+
This video will focus on data visualisation using visual programming tools like Node-Red...
What is edge computing?
Suggested age range: 14+
An introduction to Edge, or Edge Computing, where processing is done at the edge of the network.
Connected devices
Suggested age range: 13+
An introduction to Connected Devices or the Internet of Things (IoT)...
7 - Final thoughts from our hosts
Day 3: Creative Media >