UK’s Sheffield installs thousands of smart sensors to slash energy use

Sheffield, England, is becoming a smart city to reduce energy consumption. Infrastructure support service provider Amey is installing thousands of sensors in garbage cans, trees, and drains that will be hooked up to a network and fed into tech company Connexin’s CityOS platform.

Smart Sheffield

Amey operates Streets Ahead, a huge citywide highway maintenance contract. The project is upgrading and maintaining the city’s roads, sidewalks, streetlights, bridges, etc.

Using the Internet of Things (IoT), Amey will use Connexin’s CityOS platform to manage and respond to information in order to improve maintenance services.

Connexin’s CityOS platform, which it describes as the “operating system of a smart city,” will digitally connect highway maintenance services and report back on the condition of street assets in real time.

As BIM+ explains:

Sensors will be placed in public bins to determine when they need to be emptied, grit bins to signal when they need to be refilled, at the base of trees to tell when they need to be watered, and in drains to detect floods and blockages.

The new smart system will also reduce air pollution because it will cut down on the number of trips city vehicles make. They can also avoid areas where air quality is poorer.

Sheffield City Council councillor Mark Jones said:

By investing in this new initiative, our contractors will be undertaking fewer journeys, which in turn will result in a reduction in energy consumption, pollution, and congestion, while ensuring our streets are kept clean and our bins are emptied using a more efficient and effective approach.

Using technology in this pioneering way will help the council in its efforts to tackle the climate crisis while improving standards. Following installation, those who live and work in our city should see a positive impact on their neighborhoods fairly quickly.

Electrek’s Take

This is a super-neat initiative. It’s not only going to help the city run more efficiently with better IoT communication — particularly in light of the major flooding occurring recently in the UK (ahem, climate change) — but it’s also going to help Sheffield work toward its required net zero goals. The trees will surely benefit from the consistent care. And potholes, begone.

Photo: Benjamin Elliott/Unsplash

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.