Life-Saving Smart Hubs Launched In Belfast City Centre

Belfast has became the first UK city to benefit from Pulse Smart Hubs - a network of potentially life-saving technology pods dotted around the city centre.

The "smart street furniture", funded by the Urban Innovation Company, was launched on Tuesday 19 February by the firm's CEO Patrick Fisher and Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey.

The £3 million project is aimed at helping people stay connected and even saving lives.

Belfast City Council has approved 25 of the smart hubs so far, with planning applications in progress for a further 30.

Residents and visitors can benefit from the following:

• A defibrillator allowing anyone, even without training, to save a life.

• Sensors that capture crucial data on air quality made available to city stakeholders to be used for clean air initiatives.

• A police override function for public messaging on the main screen, in case of an emergency.

• Public messaging to promote the city, local services, and events in collaboration with Belfast City Centre management and Visit Belfast.

• A 999 button that connects directly to the police, fire, and medical services in case of an emergency, or if someone feels intimidated or vulnerable.

• A free-to-use touchscreen interface to access local maps, services, facilities, and visitor information provided in collaboration with Visit Belfast.

• Free public WiFi so people can enjoy connectivity around Belfast City Centre.

• Free local and national calls, plus mobile phone charging, and scope for mobile data offloading.
News Image
The project supports the council's Smart Belfast initiative, which brings together universities, businesses, local government, and citizens to collaborate, innovate, and experiment using cutting-edge technologies and data science.

Welcoming the launch of the project, Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey, said: "As well as the impressive public health and safety features they will offer, the Pulse Smart Hubs will put Belfast on the map as a truly modern 21st century city that focuses on meeting the needs of its citizens and visitors. They are a symbol of the agencies and key stakeholders working together for the benefit of our city.

"This initiative supports our Smart Belfast framework which harnesses innovation, technology and data science to build on the city's growing strengths in the digital sector, and, unveil great products for the future."

Patrick Fisher, CEO of Urban Innovation Company, said: "We have been working closely with local stakeholders to ensure the Pulse Smart Hub network supports Belfast City Council's strategic vision for smart cities and that the benefits to the city and its residents are truly maximised and available, free to all.

"In the age of the Smart City, street furniture must do more than to earn its place on the High Street. At no cost to the public or taxpayer, the Pulse Smart Hub is the smartest of smart furniture. A network of beautifully designed and engineered hubs that provide next generation connectivity, share information, track the environment and ultimately save lives."


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

15 March 2004
St Patrick's Day event has support of BCC says councillor
The Chairman of Belfast City Council’s Good Relations Steering Panel has challenged claims that the Council is not supporting St Patrick’s Day in Belfast. It follows a protest outside Belfast City Hall last week by the St Patrick's Carnival Committee who claim the Council isn't funding this year's event at the City Hall.
23 July 2009
Belfast 'Twelfth' Was Shopping Hit
Initial feedback on the commercial impact of Belfast shops being open over the traditional 'Twelfth' celebration has been excellent. This year's event, titled 'Orangefest' on 13 July witnessed Belfast city centre shops opening on the day of the parades for the first time.
12 October 2004
City Hall prepares for bookworm invasion
Belfast City Hall is preparing itself for an invasion of young bookworms later this month. Belfast City Council is teaming up with two major cultural festivals, Young at Art and the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, to open up the world of children’s literature.
05 April 2004
Business membership figures show 'massive' increase
Figures released today by Belfast City Centre Management and the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce show a massive increase in the number of businesses joining their joint membership scheme.
20 June 2014
Belfast 'Heart Of Economy' - Robinson
"Belfast is the heart of the local economy," Peter Robinson has said. The First Minister made the comments as he launched a blueprint that sets out "bold and aspirational plans" for Belfast City Centre.