Balbriggan has been chosen as Ireland’s first town to be named as a Smart District in a move that will put it at the cutting edge of smart projects to improve services, create jobs and build a better community.
Smart Districts, under the Smart Dublin programme, are strategically selected geographical locations where targeted smart projects are implemented.
The core focus of the Balbriggan Smart District will be to enhance community life, support economic opportunities and drive innovation through a number of smart district projects.
The other districts in Smart Dublin – DCU, the Docklands and Sandyford – have seen increased grant income, commercial investment and support for projects as a result of their involvement.
The initiative will also support the delivery of the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan, which was developed last year after 4,000 people took part in a public engagement on the future of the town.
“On behalf of Fingal County Council, I welcome this initiative, Balbriggan has a young, diverse population who will significantly benefit from the proposed Smart District,” said Mayor Eoghan O’Brien.
“Smart Balbriggan will tackle local challenges using smart technology and support economic growth and job creation by targeting indigenous creativity and technology.”
Underpinned by the Our Balbriggan free public wi-fi, Smart Balbriggan projects will include the creation of an innovation hub and maker space.
“A key message of the Smart Balbriggan District is that the town is open for business and investment,” said Emer O’Gorman, Director of Economic Enterprise and Tourism.
Smart Balbriggan will kick off with a public webinar at 10am on Thursday, June 25 where members of the community can learn more about the concept and get involved.
“Smart Balbriggan initiatives will prioritise people – both residents and visitors – and improve the quality of life for communities,” said Aishling Hyland, Digital Strategy Manager, Fingal County Council.
“We believe that positioning Balbriggan as a smart district will enhance the town’s brand and build a local identity as a forward-thinking and dynamic place to live, work and visit,” she said.
“At the heart of all smart initiatives is the concept of open data, which is the publication of non-personal data generated by public bodies for use by researchers, businesses and citizens.
“Fingal County Council is a national leader in open data and we will make it available to stimulate the local economy through the development of new products and services.
“Balbriggan is a commuter town, so a priority for the Smart Balbriggan District will be to support the development of co-working space for SME’s and tech start-ups.
“The Our Balbriggan Hub will provide a flexible smart space for community groups, and the Maker Space will enable the community to be creative and run events.
“The initiative will also address mobility and accessibility through the creation of car and bike sharing initiatives, a network of smart street furniture and a 3D virtual model of the town.
“An IoT Lab will showcase the latest Smart City technology using open data platforms, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, machine learning and the Internet of Things.
“Another challenge is accessibility, and we will see the development of an app to help wheelchair and pram users navigate footpath obstacles.
“In education, Smart Balbriggan District will work closely with Fingal Libraries, along with initiatives such as Dublin Maker and Coder DoJo, to build digital literacy.
“The plan will provide opportunities to local industry and academics to test and trial IoT technologies to foster a research culture within Balbriggan.
“As a Living Lab, the town will become a centre of research and development, with cutting-edge technological advancements demonstrated locally.”
To participate in the webinar on Smart Balbriggan District, email firstname.lastname@example.org