BALBRIGGAN has been named one of Ireland’s first Smart District towns and is set to be at the cutting edge of IT smart projects to improve services and boost jobs.
Smart Districts, under the Smart Dublin programme, are strategically selected geographical locations where targeted tech projects are implemented.
The other areas in the capital – 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 e30m Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan, which was developed on foot of a survey of locals and includes the provision of free Wi-Fi, smart benches and an innovation hub.
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“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 with Fingal County Council.
The north county Dublin seaside town is ideally placed as a commuter town to benefit from a co-working hub for SMEs and tech start-ups.
Car and bike sharing initiatives, a network of smart street furniture and a 3D virtual model of the town are also on the cards.
“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.
“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.
“A 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.”
A year on from the launch of Our Balbriggan the transformation of Ireland’s youngest town is taking shape. Its initial target of 20 things in 12 months with the rejuvenation of the harbour top of the agenda for the next year.
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