A major new technology project could transform lives in West Cumbria.

Digital Allerdale could help businesses boost their efficiency using smart devices, while similar systems could be used to remotely support vulnerable people in their homes.

Allerdale council is behind what it calls an "exciting digital transformation programme", which could also make public services more efficient.

A pilot scheme is due to launch in Workington in the next two months, and a second trial in Keswick and Borrowdale could follow.

The project will introduce an internet of things - a low-power wide-area network through which devices across a broad area can transmit and receive information.

During the pilot, the council plans to use devices in some litter bins, enabling staff to track when they need emptying rather than using a routine schedule.

The system could also be used by pest control officers to track whether traps have been activated, removing the need for regular check visits.

Organisations including NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group, the Lake District National Park Authority, the Environment Agency, the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) and Cumbria County Council are already involved with the project, and the council is keen to hear from businesses and organisations that might be able to benefit from the scheme.

Devices could be used by relatives or carers to monitor the temperature and humidity of vulnerable people's homes and check whether they have moved or fallen.

The council has appointed Milnthorpe company Invisible Systems to set up the pilot and test the technology to see whether a borough-wide roll-out would be viable.

Richard Quayle, who is leading the project, said: "Digital Allerdale is about making a difference to people’s lives. Our ambition is to create a first-class digital infrastructure that provides significant opportunities for local businesses and residents.

"The potential opportunities this could provide are immense – from enabling the council to remotely monitor how full litter bins are, visitors being able to locate available parking spaces, through to farmers being able to remotely monitor the location and health of livestock, or providing family members peace of mind by being able to monitor the environment and wellbeing of vulnerable loved ones."

The scheme will use emerging technology, so it could eventually use devices not yet created.

Mr Quayle said: "The trial is about proving whether the concept works for our community."

The council is also exploring opportunities for high-speed internet for businesses, and is looking at the possibility a providing free public WiFi in town centres and enhancing mobile coverage.

Mr Quayle said: "The project has got a lot of potential and it could be really exciting in terms of the opportunities it could open up for the community."

Councillor Konrad Hansen, Allerdale council executive member responsible for transformation, said: "Digital Allerdale is one of the most exciting projects I have been part of because of the scope of benefits it brings to the community. It will enhance operations, target deployment and offer analytics, and more widely offer opportunity to local businesses to develop, educational establishments to train innovators and our partners to link in their services.

"Most of all, this has the potential to be a cost-effective means of enhancing the lives of all in our community. I’d like to thank the team behind the project for their forward thinking, innovative work."

Anyone interested in getting involved with the project can email corp.comms@allerdale.gov.uk