Milton Keynes secures new global Smart City partner

Pete Marland
Pete Marland

Milton Keynes Council has signed a ground-breaking three way agreement with the Chinese smart city of Yinchuan and Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE.

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The agreement was signed last month at a major international conference in Yinchuan, one of China’s leading smart cities. It commits the three partners to work together on smart city projects that will be implemented by ZTE in the two partner cities.

Milton Keynes Council Leader, Peter Marland, and director of strategy and futures, Geoff Snelson, were joined at the signing by Alan Fletcher of the Open University. The UK Embassy in Beijing also sent representatives to support the event.

Milton Keynes was also presented as a showcase initiative to the conference and shortlisted for a global city leadership award.

ZTE Corporation is a multi $billion global leader in telecommunications and information technology. The first initiative to be established locally with ZTE is the CityLabs project with the Open University and Milton Keynes Council. ZTE is investing close to £1 million to provide technical support for digital businesses in Milton Keynes and the region.

The Yinchuan agreement will create new and additional projects beyond CityLabs with early discussion focusing on the potential for 5G technology trials in both cities.

Council leader Peter Marland said: “The Chinese city of Yinchuan is small by Chinese standards, only two million people, but like Milton Keynes is new and fast growing with an international reputation for smart city innovation. In keeping with our pioneering tradition the link with ZTE is the first of its kind and will bring industry investment into practical projects in both cities.”

Alan Fletcher of the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute commented: “The MK:Smart project led by the Open University helped establish Milton Keynes as a global smart city leader. This new double commitment to further international collaboration shows that the city and its partners are well placed to continue to play a leading role in the global smart city movement.”

Bob Dowell from ZTE said: “This ground-breaking agreement allows for the collaboration, learning and development of smart solutions focusing around both cities smart city aspirations and the low latency access networks that will deliver the speed required.”