A global IT company has signed a five-year contract to support Edinburgh’s transformation into one of the world’s leading ‘smart cities’.

The city council’s deal with Canada-headquartered CGI includes deployment of its industry-leading SensorInsights360 solution, which harnesses technological solutions to provide the data insights, processes and tools required to achieve “transformational change and deliver high-quality services to citizens of Scotland’s capital”.

CGI SensorInsights360, which was originally developed by the company’s experts in Australia, is a real-time data platform that delivers an end-to-end approach to the Internet of Things (IoT), asset data collection and asset management.

It is “agnostic, flexible, extendable, innovative and value-driven, reducing the complexity of IoT and identifying ways to improve operational efficiency whilst proactively monitoring and managing critical services”. 

CGI SensorInsights360 will be implemented through a Smart City Operations Centre, bringing smart city transformations to Edinburgh.

According to the tech firm, it will deliver benefits including more proactive estate management, creating better services and neighbourhoods for citizens, enabling healthier and safer social housing with increased sustainability and regulatory compliance, improving waste management through the utilisation of smart bins, sustainable recycling and route optimisation, and using data to drive more ‘real world’ efficiencies. 

Procurement of this city management asset is supported via a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant as part of the ‘Scotland’s 8th City – the Smart City’ programme. The City of Edinburgh Council is delivering three projects budgeted at £6.4m of which £2.5m is part of the ERDF grant.  

CGI, together with the council, has already started its smart city work by implementing Edinburgh Learns for Life, a unique digital solution to transform learning and teaching in schools, providing equality of attainment in education.

This will be achieved by deploying 39,000 iPads to 35,000 pupils and 4,000 teachers in more than 120 schools through a phased rollout of digital devices to every school pupil from P6 to S6 beginning this month, with additional iPads issued to P1 to P5 year groups.

Cammy Day, City of Edinburgh Council’s deputy leader, said: “Edinburgh has big ambitions in becoming a world-leading smart city – a digitally inclusive and sustainable city with services that are easily accessible by all of our residents no matter where they are in the city, or what their circumstances are. We’re looking to deliver a more digitally-enabled proactive service to help make everyone’s lives in our Scottish capital better, and so we can continue our work towards ending poverty, meeting our net zero targets and improving wellbeing for all. 

“This smart city partnership with CGI, supported by a European Regional Development Fund grant, will help us achieve that ambition – whether it is improved safety on our streets, better waste management or enhancements to other core services and operations. We’re also fully committed to giving our young people the best possible start in life by better equipping them for their educational future.

“Through CGI, we believe we’ve found a strong partnership that will deliver on that world-leading vision and will change the way we provide our services to all, while providing benefits in our community – assisting businesses, groups and the environment by, for example, sponsoring playing kits for a number of school and sports teams, providing technical expertise and connectivity help for community groups and planting a hundred trees across the city.”

Adam McVey, the council’s leader, said: “Through our partnership with CGI, we’ve already been able to bring real innovation to the council. We’ve used that expertise to develop and drive improvements for our communities and more effectively use public funds by delivering more high-tech and strategic services proactively across Edinburgh. I’m confident that this partnership will keep on flourishing as we continue our work to create a fully connected, efficient and sustainable Edinburgh.”

Tara McGeehan, UK and Australia president at CGI, said: “Edinburgh is a vibrant and diverse capital city that is home to more than 518,000 citizens and CGI has been the primary provider of transformational ICT services to the City of Edinburgh Council since 2015. CGI has a global track record of smart city success in cities such as Montreal and Helsinki, where efficient use of modern technology has made the relationship between citizens and their cities simpler and more transparent. We very much look forward to taking Edinburgh’s vision of a smart city and making it real through our innovative use of technology, analytics and data. Together, we will turn Edinburgh into one of the world’s leading smart cities.”