When you think about Llanberis you probably picture Snowdon, the slate mines, and a quaint little train- not necessarily a village at the forefront of innovation. Gwynedd Council and Menter Môn are hoping to change this.
As part of the Smart Gwynedd a Môn Menter project, leading digital technology provided by the Welsh Government has been installed. This will provide free Wi-Fi to the high street, and will also open the doors to further innovation in the village.
Senior Project Officer Kiki Rees-Stavros explains that the Wi-Fi shouldn’t just be seen as a service for tourists, but as an opportunity for locals.
By using the same technology as supermarkets and smart cities all over the world, Llanberis will be able to monitor their visitor levels and use this data to help make tourism work for the village.
Emlyn Baillis, Chairman of the Llanberis Development Group explains that it can be a hard balancing act to promote tourism while making sure that the town’s residents don’t feel left behind.
Erw Fair guest house owners Jane and Trevor Grove believe that using the email marketing possibilities offered by the new Wi-Fi system could help bridge that gap. As well as targeting tourists who have logged onto the Wi-Fi to ensure return visits, creating monthly newsletters to keep locals informed of the goings on in the village could make life easier for everyone.
‘It will be good for locals to keep up to date with what’s going on, so they can be prepared when there is going to be a big influx of tourists. Sometimes there will be a race on, and the businesses don’t even know about it, so the shop shelves are empty!’
The technology could also lead to smoother running services all over the village, which could help alleviate some of the pressures of over-tourism.
Using the infrastructure that is now in place as the ‘building blocks’ any number of sensors can be added to the network in order to collect more data. This data can then be presented to the council and other decision makers to help them make informed decisions.
An example of this would be to place sensors in the village’s bins. This would not only alert council workers when the bins were full, helping them cut carbon emissions from unnecessary collections, but the data would also help identify areas where more bins may be necessary, which would help reduce littering.
County Councillor Kim Jones hopes that the town will also be able to collect data in order to better manage the town’s parking and use the WIFI system to encourage tourists to park in designated areas.
“I look forward to working with Menter Môn to help develop Llanberis, to improve the experience for tourists but also for us as local people” she adds “It will also allow us as a community to prove the success of our events.”
However, the development of Llanberis as a smart village will depend on the input of its residents, and Menter Môn will be hosting an open workshop to consult with business owners, residents, and key stakeholders on Wednesday 19th of October at the community centre, from 17:30- 19:30.
Registration via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/415201548007
Smart Gwynedd a Môn is developing smart places all over Gwynedd and Anglesey. For more information go to https://linktr.ee/SmartGwyneddaMon