Bath to become UK's first wireless city

Bath to become UK's first wireless city

An experiment by Bath & North East Somerset Council and the University of Bath will see the city flooded with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other radio technologies to assess future applications for residents and tourists.

The 'Cityware' project will involve an initial group of 30 volunteers having their wireless usage monitored for three years.

The first application will be a location recognition tool where users take a photograph of a building and the central server will identify the building and give information on the sender's location and local points of interest.

"Pervasive technology that is available to everyone, everywhere and at all times promises to be the next big leap in mobile computing technology," said Dr Eamonn O'Neill from the Department of Computer Science at the University of Bath, who is leading the project.

"Cities are where there is likely to be the greatest demand for this kind of technology, so it is important that we look at it in a city-wide context and improve our understanding of the effect this kind of technology will have on people's lives."

One of the reasons why Bath was chosen is that, as a Unesco World Heritage Site, the city attracts millions of visitors each year and the researchers will learn more about how to embed the technology without disrupting the appearance of the area.

The project is funded by a £1.2m grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and contributions worth £400,000 from industrial partners including Vodafone, Nokia, HP Laboratories and IBM.

The researchers are currently recruiting 30 volunteers to work with the project. For information on getting involved, contact Dr Tim Jones in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bath.