NEC has announced that it’s signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the smart cities pilot scheme “Bristol Is Open”, to provide an array of enabling technology for the project including its SDN offering.

Tim Skinner

March 10, 2015

3 Min Read
NEC looks to drive smart cities using SDN in Bristol

NEC has announced that it’s signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the smart cities pilot scheme “Bristol Is Open”, to provide an array of enabling technology for the project including its SDN offering.

Bristol Is Open is a smart cities joint venture between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol. The project involves a number of partners including the BBC, as well as local, national and European governments, academic research and collaboration with the private sector. Its aims are to create a tangible representation of a smart city, with sensors transmitting data and information on as many aspects of city life as possible, including energy, air quality, traffic and more.

Underlying the city-wide intelligence will be high powered fibre, wireless and mesh networks, facilitated by a high performance software defined networking platform as the city’s operating system. Tying everything together will be dedicated platforms for IoT and big data analytics to enable the burgeoning number of smart city applications coming to market.

NEC claims to be working closely with Bristol to virtualize and converge a new high capacity wireless and optical network to help manage the widening array of user services and applications being utilised today. The Japanese tech firm has identified ultra-low latency connectivity, enabled by SDN, as one of the key enablers for facilitating smart cities services, such as driverless cars, M2M-based monitoring of citizen health, ultra-HD TV broadcast and more.

Speaking about the work being done in Bristol, NEC’s EMEA director of strategy & solutions highlighted SDN and virtualization as the key enabler for smart cities.

“This is a truly ground breaking smart city project. It will use the lates NEC SDN-enabled network technologies – which will operate with Bristol Is Open’s SDN platform, developed by the University of Bristol – to create an open, dynamic, virtualized network to serve each traffic type according to its Quality of Service priorities and real-time levels of demand over multi-carrier Wi-Fi, LTE, millimetre wave and optical channels,” he said. “Looking further ahead, we see our partnership with Bristol as a unique opportunity to apply and showcase NEC’s ‘Solutions for Society’ in close collaboration with local government, universities and industrial partners.”

According to NEC, the BBC has also committed to the use of the University of Bristol’s SDN-enabled network to enable the capture, production and distribution of live camera feeds throughout the city for its “Springwatch” show.

Paul Wilson, Bristol Is Open’s managing director, is excited about what the project could help to achieve for the city.

“Bristol has already opened up almost two hundred of the city’s data sets on traffic flows, energy use, crime and health trends to kick-start the creation of innovative new services,” he said. “We’re excited about all the possibilities to give the people of Bristol more ability to interact, work and play with their city.”

According to the Bristol Is Open website, the trial network may be extended out to surrounding areas of Bristol after successful establishment in the city centre, including Bath and parts of North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The project is due to go live this spring, and will run for at least the five years, leading up to 2020 and beyond.’s news coverage is sponsored by NEC.


NEC brings together and integrates technology and expertise to create the ICT-enabled society of tomorrow.  We collaborate closely with partners and customers around the world, orchestrating each project to ensure all its parts are fine-tuned to local needs.  Every day, our innovative solutions for society contribute to greater safety, security, efficiency and equality, and enable people to live brighter lives. Read more…






About the Author(s)

Tim Skinner

Tim is the features editor at, focusing on the latest activity within the telecoms and technology industries – delivering dry and irreverent yet informative news and analysis features.

Tim is also host of weekly podcast A Week In Wireless, where the editorial team from and their industry mates get together every now and then and have a giggle about what’s going on in the industry.

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