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Glasgow nips smartly into the future

Glasgow has won a £24 million grant to make it a smart city.

The cash is coming from a UK Government agency called the Technology Strategy Board and will be spent on all sorts of apps to make the dear green place all integrated and a perfect example to the rest of the world as to how a City of the Future will work.

Among the issues which will be addressed in the smart city are fuel poverty and low life expectancy. Even more amazing than the prospect of being warmer and living longer is the news that Glaswegians will have an app to tell them in real time if the buses are running on time. (Will we say: "Excuse me, pal, have you got the time in real time?")

This business about the buses is where the smart city initiative will fall on its bahookey. We already have digital screens at bus shelters that say a number 20 will be along in five minutes. But we know that almost the entire city bus fleet is caught in a traffic jam in Renfield Street and there might be a number 20 sometime next Tuesday of you're lucky.

Glasgow's public transport is about as integrated as those legendary Old Firm supporters clubs the John F Kennedy No 1 and the Lee Harvey Loyal Sons of Ibrox. Glasgow is such an integrated local authority you need to get a letter from the council tax office to give to the parking department to prove you live in the city before a resident's permit is awarded.

But things are moving on. There is now a Glasgow council app for reporting pot holes and missing bin collections.

There will presumably be a separate app for reporting that the pot hole is still there and the rubbish still has not been collected. (My advice is take your rubbish up the street and use the pot hole as a landfill site.)

Maybe I am being too negative and should rejoice that Glasgow is now a Future Cities Demonstrator.

Where better than the former second city of the empire to stimulate technology-enabled innovation.

I am not sure Glasgow wants to be a smart city.

In my day, the word smart often had negative and pejorative overtones. An app to tell you how big the queue is at Greggs would be smart, though.

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Local government

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