CARDIGAN is blazing a trail when it comes to the use of smart and connected technology to help boost its economy.

Rapidly growing technology such as ‘internet of things’ (IOT) – internet-connected devices – could help rural areas thrive in future.

Cardigan’s wi-fi scheme provides free web connectivity at strategic points throughout the town centre.

Data from the town’s wi-fi app measures visitor footfall, provides information on where visitors are from and how long they stay and whether measures like free parking make a difference to numbers.

All this helps traders in the town tailor their services to customer demands.

The tourism and hospitality industry has seen a revolution in the use of digital technology in recent years, with smartphones, mapping services and augmented reality apps transforming the way visitors engage with tourist locations.

New technologies can help businesses work smarter and adapt to rising consumer expectations.

The town’s WiFi system is already viewed by many other towns as a model to follow and it is looking to further develop relatively low cost, LoRaWAN technology (Long Range Wide Area Network)

This is designed for long-range, low-power operation with sensors and controls that work off batteries or energy-harvesting devices.

Cardigan town councillors held a discussion at their February meeting on how the town can further build on the innovative work already accomplished.

It has agreed to purchase a dashboard to further develop the ‘internet of things’ at a cost of £36 per month.

Town mayor Cllr Clive Davies is the digital champion for the whole of Ceredigion, with plans to roll out the technology throughout the whole county.

"We are in the early stages of the scheme but Cardigan is ahead of the game in many areas and the use of such technology can have wide implications," said Cllr Davies.

"Simple sensors can be used to tell council staff that bins need emptying or the temperature has dropped in certain areas and roads need gritting. Sensors could also be used in sheltered accommodation to alert staff to problems or on farms to monitor valuable equipment."