Digital Birmingham, established in 2006, is the driving force to ensure that the benefits of digital and new emerging technologies are available to everyone in the city to support sustainable economic growth, greater social inclusion and a better quality of life. We are continuing to ensure that the city maintains its digital leadership across the region to stimulate innovation led growth, deliver better services and achieve greater transparency and efficiencies by driving forward Birmingham's Smart City approach. This represents a collective ambition by city stakeholders to deliver real change by developing intelligent and integrated services through the use of digital technologies, data and open collaboration, driven by the citizens and communities that are core to the city’s future growth.
Below provides an example of just some of the projects and initiatives we are involved in. For more information visit our website at www.digitalbirmingham.co.uk or follow us on twitter @digibrum
Developing fast, accessible and affordable digital connectivitythat includes
- An innovative and ground breaking contract negotiated by Digital Birmingham that will see the very best mobile broadband experience across the city
- £10.5 million Urban Broadband Fund and ERDF, to provide support to businesses in the form of connectivity vouchers to cover the connectivity costs for high speed broadband services., as well as business assist programme to build capacity and skills in the use of new and emerging technologies
- A free public access wi-fi service in many council buildings across the city including libraries, childrens’ homes, adult education centres as well as other outreach offices.
- Launch of one of the largest free wi-fi schemes in the UK by Castle ValeCommunity Housing Association, CommunityUK.net is helping to create a ‘digital neighbourhood’ that will support residents to get online, learn new skills and enable greater engagement in how services are delivered, which if it proves successful will be expanded to other neighbourhoods
We are supporting citizens and businesses to develop the skills to help them thrive in the internet connected world:
- Building on the success of the Young Rewired State Festival of Code that fosters the talent of young coders, we have worked in partnership to establish a permanent centre, hosted by the BBC, to support a network of young coders / designers that will use their digital skills and creativity to address social / economic challenges
- The EU funded DISCOVER– skills for carers project is establishing a service to support digital skills training for carers that addresses social inclusion, wellbeing and enhanced IT employability skills.
- Led by Digital Birmingham, an ERDF funded business assist programme is helping small businesses understand how they can transform their business through the application of digital technologies and better quality connectivity. The aim is to help businesses increase their growth potential, market competitiveness and long term sustainability addressing for example use of digital to support new revenue models and operating processes such as cloud technologies.
- An online service directory and referral service funded through DWP, incorporating an innovative digital logbook, is being developed to help support the unemployed back to work
By 2030 it is estimated that there will be a £200 billion global market annually in smart city technologies. We are working with partners to help the city to take advantage of this opportunity:
- Established theBirmingham Smart City Commission drawn from the commercial and academic sector and including national experts to provide the leadership and set the standards for planning and creating the future city
- Birmingham is now recognised as a Smart City leader and sits on national steering groups such as the newly established Smart City Forum, chaired by Rt. Hon David Willetts, Minister of State for Universities and Science
- Supporting WM healthy Ageing KIC bid as part of a wider UK consortium positioned as a regional culturally diverse health economy and testbed to drive innovation around healthy living and active ageing challenges
- Identifying new technologies to improve energy efficiency - the EU funded project Smartspaces is demonstrating how ICT can be exploited to achieve energy savings in public buildings using the Council House and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as exemples
- Creation of a Smart Development Blueprint, will provide guidance to ensure a future proofed digital infrastructure fit for 21st century living
More about Birmingham’s Smart City activities can be seen on our dedicated blog at: http://birminghamsmartcity.wordpress.com