Sutton Council have announced a pilot scheme with high tech firm North to install sensors that will monitor various greenspaces in the borough.

The sensors, reminiscent of hi-technology that wouldn't seem out of place in science fiction, utilize a form of Internet of Things (IoT) technology that uses links between devices connected to the internet.

Sutton Council said the pilot scheme is part of the wider South London Partnership’s InnOvaTe Project, will be using private tech company North’s IoT sensor technology to monitor how many people are using the parks and at what times.

How much data will the sensors collect though?

The wording of the council press release hinted at various wider uses including "helping to identify and prioritise cleaning and bin emptying at busy locations, as well as the introduction of other safety measures, such as additional signage to remind people to use the borough’s parks responsibly".

However, the council stressed that no personal data would be collected:

"The sensors do not collect personal data, but will be used to identify how busy the parks are throughout the year," a spokesperson said.

As such, no Minority Report or Bladerunner analogies would be entirely appropriate. So far.

The parks where the technology will be located are Sutton’s Manor Park, The Grove in Carshalton, Cheam Recreation Ground, Collingwood Recreation Ground, Cuddington Recreation Ground, Sutton Common Park and Carshalton Park.

"We are working in close consultation with North to review footfall data from 30 key points of interest around the parks, including entrance points and access to playgrounds within the park, giving insight into whether the green spaces meet the needs of local people," Sutton Council said.

"Sutton’s parks have benefitted so many residents during these difficult times and continue to do so," Councillor Manuel Abellan added. "This is why I’m excited for us to be trialling this technology to make the parks and facilities as clean and safe as they can be."

Business Development Director at North Mark Lowe said the company were "thrilled" to be partnering with the council over the pilot scheme.