Having impressed judges with a revolutionary design proposal, Shaping Cloud were chosen to develop an innovative application using new real-time environmental data for Manchester City Council.

The application would successfully use real-time environmental data from a Manchester wireless sensor network, and display it to users, while allowing Manchester City Council to monitor and improve air quality.

With a tight deadline of under four weeks, our teams had to work quickly and effectively.


SmartAir acts as a City Dashboard and Open Data solution, providing the council with data from local sensors including temperature, carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide level. This data is made available to over 500,000 citizens who can monitor the quality of air in their city, and make informed decisions on the most environmentally-friendly way to travel around the city.

The solution allows Manchester City Council to fully exploit the available open data and cloud technologies, creating a healthier, safer, and more sustainable place to live.

With over 200 million devices running Windows 8, we established exclusive use of the Microsoft operating system to solve the key requirement of creating a fast, fluid and visually stimulating application perfect for displaying data to the end user.

By utilising Microsoft Azure we were able to create a fast and effective service with no initial capital costs, and one that could maintain an acceptable service level when the number of users and participating cities utilising SmartAir increased.

The application was showcased in Athens at the Future Internet Assembly to over 400 European researchers, industrialists, SMEs and users and was the focus of a dedicated Webinar as part of Microsoft’s CityNext campaign.

Dave Carter, Manchester Digital Development Agency

Innovation can be quite a challenge, especially with budgets being so tight. This is why we like working with more agile companies who can take an idea and turn it into reality quickly and efficiently. As a public body we need results that are readily available to users, accessible and easy to use. This is exactly what the SmartAir App does. It meets our objectives in terms of demonstrating how open data can underpin new services based on the quickest possible turn round time in the most cost effective way. SmartAir is an innovative and dynamic example of doing just that.

Why Digital Matters

Making The Case for Citizen Engagement


of users

Who used social tools to encourage other people to take action on an issue that is important to them


annual savings

That could be made by the UK Government by enabling citizens to process their transactions online.


transactional services

Provided by government. Many have a digital option, but few people use it. Half of these don’t offer a digital option at all