The move toward urbanization serves as a great opportunity. Cities are places where people, meet, exchange, work, live and interact. They bring people with different interests, experiences and knowledge close together. They are the centres of culture, economic development and social change.

On average, larger cities produce more wealth and innovation per capita than smaller ones. Those living in cities tend to produce substantially less CO2 per capita as compared to those living in rural or suburban areas. Cities offer unique options for efficient sharing of limited resources.

In a sense, cities can serve as an efficient means of living – culturally, interactively, and ecologically. However, as with most complex systems, understanding the city system is essential to facilitating their operation in a cost-effective way; making these capacity boundaries elastic.

The rhetoric of the “Smart City” has increased awareness of the potential for connected devices to support urban systems, but as the Internet of Things hits the peak of the Gartner hype cycle we need to expand our thinking around how the use of these technologies will be sustained.


The ICRI is an industry / academic collaboration between Intel, University College London, Imperial College London and Future Cities Catapult in collaboration with the London Legacy Development Corporation at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

Intel Labs are investing in the London Living Labs to deliver use case inspired basic research activity. Our mission is to demonstrate the compute fabric needed to support the design of an urban Internet of Things at city scale. Our research agenda focused on creating an intelligent and secure network of things. In particular we explored how networks should evolve to sustain connected devices and the technologies required to process information “in network”. We deployed a series of sensor networks using low cost compute platforms, a variety of communications technologies (LoRa, Wifi, BLE) and a number of sensor types. Our focus was to work with stakeholders to identify use cases to test the technical challenges of delivering IoT whilst also resolving the socio economic issues of sustaining a long term installation.

The focus from UCL’s perspective was designing and evaluating IoT technology for participation and reflection with citizens. We used a combination of data sensing, social media, novel physical computing and in-situ visualisations, to provide a variety of stakeholders with ways of collecting, and reflecting about citizens’ experiences in the urban environment. A series of prototypes were developed, deployed and used by a diversity of users (e.g., local residents, visitors) to share their experiences. The projects build upon our pioneering work in prototyping physical computing systems and in-situ visualisations for citizen sensing (UCLIC) and work on social network analysis and IoT data integration (CASA). Our wider goal is to develop IoT technology that can be used by city councils and local municipalities worldwide who need to understand more how their citizens respond to big changes caused by urbanization, immigration, gentrification, and the like.

The Adaptive Embedded Systems Engineering group (AESE), is a world leader in the development of self-organising MAC and Routing Protocols and Self-Adaptive Management schemes for low-power resource-constrained devices, including Wireless Sensor Networks. Our research has been motivated by applications that span asset monitoring, to environmental monitoring, to the arts. AESE focuses on the core technologies that support the widespread adoption of connected devices in the small dense space of the city. In particular we researched the tools that will permit the programming of heterogeneous devices at city scales (to help ensure interactions and behaviours are as expected) and the support for maintaining networks of devices over time. We designed and deployed Energy Neutral Operation sensor networks, created tools to support multi-tenancy design and management of IoT gateways and nodes, and experimented with protocols for adaptively managing access to different communication networks in the park.

The Innovate UK supported catapults are technology and innovation centres where the best of UK businesses, scientists and engineers can work together on research and development. The Future Cities Catapult aims to accelerate urban ideas to market, grow the economy and make cities better. From our Urban Innovation Centre in London, we provide world-class facilities and expertise to support the development of new products and services, as well as opportunities to collaborate with others, test ideas and develop business models. Our work focuses on three core themes: promoting healthy cities, building resilience in urban infrastructure, and designing strategies to help cities adopt and finance smarter technologies. In the ICRI we focused on connecting IoT SME’s to challenges posed by stakeholders in the park and a “performance in use” framework to test economic models for capital expense justification and ROI models.


Books summarising the work completed in the discovery and capstone phases of the project are available as pdf’s below or via the book covers linking to the print on demand service Lulu:

Capstone Phase (2016-2018): http://cities.io/icri2018.pdf

Discovery Phase (2012-2015): http://cities.io/icri2015.pdf


The ICRI completed in Jan 2018. This website provides an archive of work undertaken. Earlier versions of the website are also archived at:

http://2012.cities.io/ (Discovery – first 3 years)

http://2016.cities.io/ (Capstone – final 2 years)