Digital solutions for North Wales high street regeneration through SMART Towns

MENTER Môn’s Smart Towns team are setting their sights on North Wales for the next stage of their Smart Towns project.

Funded by Gwynedd Council and Isle of Anglesey County Council, this project will see technologies which have been piloted by Welsh Government as part of the Year of Smart Towns, implemented in rural communities to help tackle issues from high street degeneration to anti-social behaviour.

Elen Foulkes and Kiki Rees-Stavros will be working closely with business owners, community stakeholders and members of town and county councils to create a specifically tailored action plan for each participating town, to drive forward the Smart agenda across Anglesey and Gwynedd.

Workshops will be provided, outlining opportunities such as using footfall data to make business decisions and targeted marketing campaigns to the town’s visitors.

But they stress that the outcome of these workshops depends on the needs of the particular town with solutions ranging from IoT sensors and digital signage to virtual rewards platforms.

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Elen Foulkes, senior project officer, said: “The possibilities are endless. the Year of Smart Towns has been piloting some ground-breaking technologies all over Wales, but now there is an opportunity to bring these solutions closer to home.

“We want to start the conversation, to find out what the problems are and to find Smart solutions.

“The beauty of the open access footfall data is that we will be able to measure how well these solutions are working.”

Project officer Kiki Rees-Stavros knows first-hand the challenges of starting a business in the area and is looking forward to helping other entrepreneurs make data driven business decisions.

She added: “There is so much trial and error involved when you start a business, but having access to data from the high street can cut out a lot of the guess work.

“We’re also finding a lot of established businesses are having their assumptions challenged- towns that have traditionally had half days on Tuesdays or Wednesdays have found that actually, footfall wise, those are the busiest days!”

As well as helping local businesses, Menter Môn’s officers are keen to stress how these technologies can help shape our towns for the future, allowing local authorities to make greener decisions, and shape development around the needs of residents.

Elen added: “We would love to talk to communities, find out where they would like to see their town in the next ten years or so, and see how we can help them get there.”

Workshop dates:

Beddgelert: May 19, 6pm, Beddgelert Village Hall (www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/328788855317)

Aberdaron: May 29, 6pm, Becws Islyn Aberdaron (www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/315227151897)

Open access data: Patrwm.io

North Wales Chronicle | Anglesey