Category Archives: Technology

Creating the infrastructure for growth

Birmingham will find the best ways to provide the technology which helps citizens communicate and take part in city life. It will provide the infrastructure we need for a successful economy and work with developers and city planners to future-proof connectivity. Our proposed actions centre on:

Connectivity

Planning for Digital Infrastructure

Information market places.

PRESS RELEASE: Cloud9 continues success with growth of national account

PRESS RELEASE FROM PARTNERS AT INNOVATION BIRMINGHAM 20.01.16

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based telecommunications provider, Cloud9 has marked an end to another successful year with the growth of one of its largest accounts.

Established in 2013, Cloud9 is a strategic communications supplier which provides bespoke project management services for a wide range of connectivity solutions including infrastructure, fixed line, broadband and mobile.

Cloud9 has doubled its annual turnover in the last 12 months, with further plans to accelerate the current pace of growth with ongoing recruitment scheduled for 2016. The company’s success follows a fantastic year which saw one of its largest accounts, international organic tea and food supplement provider, Pukka Herbs, extend their current contract.

During 2016, Pukka Herbs will be relocating its current multi-site office environment to a single office. Cloud9 will be integral in facilitating this move; providing infrastructure, full mobile and fixed line telecommunication services to support the relocation of the business and its 100 staff.

Stuart Allbut, Operations Director at Cloud9, said: “We are thrilled to continue developing our positive working relationship with Pukka Herbs and supporting them in their relocation to Parkview Office campus.

“It has been another fantastic year for Cloud9 and with more and more companies beginning to demand faster broadband and secure mobile connectivity, we look forward to continuing to work with each client on a case-by-case basis to ensure we meet their individual business needs.

“The Innovation Birmingham Campus and the e4f programme has opened up an array of resources and successfully creates a comprehensive support network in and out of the workplace, providing us with the perfect location in which to successfully operate our business.”

Cloud9 has a number of high profile clients including multi-disciplined property consultancy, CP Bigwood; leading UK construction and regeneration group, Morgan Sindall and car dealership franchises comprising Ford, Kia and Peugeot.

120 tech start-ups have been incubated by the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme since November 2009, with over £10 million raised in initial investment rounds. Cloud9 is one of 18 early stage tech companies receiving support from Innovation Birmingham’s ‘e4f Inspire’ programme, which delivers a series of workshops, keynote events, entrepreneur dinners, off-site visits, funded internship/apprenticeship placements, and peer group sessions, in order to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial tech companies.

For more information on Cloud9, please visit: https://cloud9.uk.com/

For additional information on the e4f programme, visit: http://e4f.co.uk/

PRESS RELEASE: HOPPER SECURES £100,000 REGIONAL GROWTH FUND GRANT

PRESS RELEASE FROM PARTNERS AT INNOVATION BIRMINGHAM 13.01.16

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Hopper HQ Ltd has successfully secured a £100,000 grant from the Birmingham Post Growth Fund to contribute towards its £400,000 investment plan.

Launched in August 2015, www.HopperHQ.com is the world’s first fully automated scheduling tool for Instagram, enabling users to post content for a specific date and time, similar to popular applications such as Hootsuite and Buffer which enable posts to be scheduled across Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The user friendly platform has the same extensive range of picture editing tools that are available within the Instagram app, as well as allowing pictures to be uploaded from multiple sources, such as Dropbox, Google Drive and a user’s own files.

The £100,000 grant from the Birmingham Post Growth Fund, in partnership with Bournville College, will be used alongside an additional £300,000 investment from parent company, Turn Partners Ltd, to accelerate the pace of global growth and to support plans to expand the team by 50 per cent during 2016.

Mike Bandar, Co-founder of Turn Partners said: “Just five months since the launch of Hopper, the business has grown considerably and we are now working with hundreds of customers across over 30 countries. The Regional Growth Fund grant will provide vital support and flexibility to help maximise this growth as we continue to build the business and extend our offering to new and existing customers.

“With a phased recruitment programme currently underway, myself and my co-founder, James Vardy, are looking to extend our Birmingham-based team with current vacancies for in-house developers and a full-time CRM Manager. We look forward to speaking with passionate people looking for a new challenge in an exciting start-up with a global reach.”

Hopper offers three standard packages, with bespoke options available to agencies. The Basic package is priced at $8 per month to schedule up to 10 posts for one Instagram account. The Business package is $19 per month for unlimited scheduled posts to one Instagram account. The standard Agency package is $90 per month to schedule unlimited posts for up to seven Instagram accounts, each with an unlimited number of followers.

120 tech start-ups have been incubated by the Entrepreneurs for the Future programme since November 2009, with over £10 million raised in initial investment rounds. Hopper is one of 18 early stage tech companies receiving support from Innovation Birmingham’s ‘e4f Inspire’ programme, which delivers a series of workshops, keynote events, entrepreneur dinners, off-site visits, funded internship/apprenticeship placements, and peer group sessions, in order to accelerate the growth of entrepreneurial tech companies.

For more information on Hopper, please visit https://www.hopperhq.com/

Data Workshop – 15 September 2015@ Impact Hub Birmingham

Presentations from the session are now available below:

Birmingham’s Smart City Commission invited key individuals with a keen interest in all things ‘Data’ and ‘Health’ to their share knowledge and expertise which will be key to enabling Birmingham to become an‘Open by Default’ city.

The work follows on from June’s Smart Commission meeting and the recommendation from Cllr Lisa Trickett for a Data Workshop to shape the development of the Open Data and wider Data agenda of the Birmingham region with a view to producing a briefing paper for wider circulation and adoption.

Smart City Commission Data Workshop
Hierarchy of Data Needs

Hosted by Impact Hub Birmingham and Facilitated by Robin Daniels, Managing Director of Redpill Group, the day included a case study contribution from Atos and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council/Public Sector partners on their Multi Agency Data Sharing:  Vulnerability Intelligence Project (VIS); and participants were asked to help determine the challenges/pain points, service engagement and data interactions in a ‘Day in the Life’ of an archetype citizen (focusing on the ‘Health of Older People’).

The workshop details can be viewed on Eventbrite.

Please post your comments and perspectives here as we would welcome your input.

Ofcom reveals UK is now a ‘smartphone’ society!

Smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, Ofcom research has revealed, with record ownership and use transforming the way we communicate.

Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online.

Ofcom’s 2015 Communications Market Report finds that a third (33%) of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who are still sticking with their laptop. More…

Spica Technologies’ Devicepoint™ is shortlisted for the Cisco BIG Awards

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based start-up Spica Technologies has been selected as a semi-finalist in Cisco’s BIG Awards 2015. The final of the ‘Internet of Things’ focused awards event will be held in London on 22nd October, where the winner will receive a top prize of cash and support worth $220,000. The runners up prizes are worth $110,000.

Spica Technologies’ nomination is for its ‘Devicepoint™ for healthy water’. The start-up is developing the system on Innovation Birmingham’s Low Carbon Accelerator programme, which is part of the European-funded Climate-KIC initiative. Devicepoint™ is a risk management tool to control Legionella, powered by a secured wireless network and low-energy sensors.

Real-time data is transmitted to the Devicepoint™ cloud and the networked solution issues alerts if there are any immediate risks to be addressed. The low-power system also produces detailed reports, identifying any areas of stagnant pipework that need attention.

Paul Collins, CEO of Spica Technologies said: “Devicepoint™ revolutionises how Legionella is monitored and controlled, which is a basic requirement of every commercial premise and public building. Rather than conducting a manual on-site test, our system continually monitors the risks, producing real-time data and alerts when action is required. By constantly monitoring the temperature of sections of pipe work, it provides a vastly superior picture of any likely risks and eliminates the potential for human error from the process.

“It is great news for us that the 2015 Cisco BIG Awards are focused on Internet of Things start-ups. Being selected as a semi-finalist is a huge endorsement of the work we’ve done to date to launch this new solution to the marketplace.”

20 start-ups have been selected as BIG Awards semi-finalists by Cisco. The shortlist includes projects that turn information into actions and present businesses, individuals and countries with new capabilities, richer experiences and increased economic opportunities. The finalists for the Cisco BIG Awards will be announced on 28th September 2015.

Tom Kneen, Head of the British Innovation Gateway (BIG) programme said: “We see pilot projects such as ‘Devicepoint™ for healthy water’ as a new Internet of Things networked solution, which could have tremendous commercial value and disrupt a traditional market.

“By eliminating regular manual testing work, the risk of a water system being contaminated with Legionella is significantly reduced for a fraction of the current typical cost. The benefits of Internet of Things powered systems such as this are numerous in many domestic and work environments, as we move towards a future of Smart Cities.”

For more information about Devicepoint™ click here or email paul@spicatech.co.uk.

Scout7 Kick-Off 2015/6 Football Season With Pro.tv Video Content Analysis App

Ahead of the new 2015/16 football season, Scout7 has launched a new video scouting and analysis app within its industry-leading Intelligent Sports Framework (ISF) application, which is being used at 150 professional clubs worldwide.

During the last six months, the Innovation Birmingham Campus-based football technology company, whose clients include Chelsea, Manchester City, Barcelona, Paris SG, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, has invested heavily in its video content infrastructure. With data centres covering the globe, Scout7 captures over 3,000 professional broadcast matches each month, totalling over three million minutes of new footage a year. It is the industry leader for analysis solutions in the major European football leagues.

Bradford Griffiths, Operations Director for Scout7 said: “During the last 10 years, scouting and analysis departments have expanded considerably at the elite end of professional football.

“These departments operate 24/7 and are under constant pressure to deliver detailed analysis to their club’s senior management. It is our job to support these departments by providing an environment that allows them to manage, review and collaborate on content as a team.”

Sxout7 has worked in close collaboration with Intel to completely upgrade its video processing environment. This has included the adoption of Intel’s Quick Sync Video hardware, allowing football matches to be transcoded in just 15 minutes, four times faster than was previously possible. It also enables the company to deliver video for streaming and download with one parse of the original file, meaning crisp HD content is not compromised through transcoding.

Scout7 also works with the sports data company OptaPro, who provide time-coded match event feeds for every football game played in over 60 leagues and competitions during the season, which are integrated into the match video. The improvements mean that Scout7 can now deliver HD content, with the integrated events, to each client within two hours of the final whistle.

The introduction of the new ISF video analysis app, Pro.tv, ensures that club staff can utilise Scout7’s enhanced video content to optimise their existing scouting processes, using either a desktop or tablet device.

Bradford Griffiths added: “The features we have introduced in our Pro.tv app mean that scouts and analysts can now start their evaluation of matches played on a Saturday afternoon early on in the same evening. So no matter whether they need video to prepare for their team’s next game, or require footage of players being monitored for potential recruitment, they can prepare detailed analysis for senior management faster than ever before.

“What’s more, if content is time-critical, they can share it with colleagues via email who can stream it on-the-go.

“As a company, we are committed to providing our clients with the best professional services available and with Pro.tv we are confident that top flight clubs will be able to further optimise their various scouting and analysis processes into the new season and beyond.”

Key features of the app include an event filter, which allows users to watch key events such as shots, passes and tackles involving a specific player or team in sequence from multiple games, including events for and against. These event clips can be saved as playlists and archived online, or shared via email.

Pro.tv also incorporates editing tools that enable users to conduct their own editing of games online, without the need of offline editing software. The app also incorporates match and event playback buttons, which allow users to speed up or slow down the footage as they watch it, in addition to being able to jump to a specific time in the game. As well as the analysis mode, the app also allows games to be watched in a pop-out player, so that games can be watched on various devices in full-screen.

 

Wildlife Conservation Park reaps wireless benefits!

Staff at the Birmingham Wildlife Conservation Park are being helped to carry out their daily tasks by Wi-Fi installed as a part of a city-wide scheme, the Wireless in Public Buildings Project, led by Digital Birmingham. See this short video from the launch

For connected buildings near you, please visit http://localview.birmingham.gov.uk/freewifi/

Innovation Birmingham’s Women in Tech Event

The Innovation Birmingham Campus welcomed 100 members to its Women In Tech event. The event brought together female tech entrepreneurs, coders, programmers and digital media specialists.

Four leaders in their field delivered presentations about their experiences of working in the tech industry. Jessica Rose, self-taught programmer and technical writing specialist, spoke about the need for increased gender diversity within the tech industry to facilitate efficiency and creativity within tech businesses. Sonu Bubna, Co-Founder of Owned It, gave a very honest and inspiring presentation on her perspective on life after moving from the world of corporate finance to becoming an entrepreneur. Florence Okoye, UX Developer, National Grid spoke on the intersection of personal motivation and how that drives technology engagement, reiterating the benefits of developing applications driven by your own self-interest. Faye Pressly, Associate Director, Mortimer Spinks delivered an eye opening review of the findings of their Women in Technology 2015 report. The event was hosted by technology and health enthusiast Mary Matthews, Founding Director of Memrica, an application which helps to improve the lives of those living with dementia.

The event was organised by Michelle Rayner, Innovation Birmingham’s Entrepreneurs for the Future Programme Manager. The refreshments were provided by Mortimer Spinks, the UK’s leading innovator in technology recruitment.

Gosia Borzecka. Tobias Koprowski. Rupi Dosanja - Cotidia
Gosia Borzecka – Developer. Tobias Koprowski – Developer. Rupi Dosanja – Cotidia.
Donna Parchment. Trevor Cornbill - Techinsure. Cleo Morris - MarketingMaker
Donna Parchment – MGDP Consulting. Trevor Cornbill – Techinsure. Cleo Morris – MarketingMaker.
Naomi Edge-SocialSignin. Melinda Marsh-Connect Group. Grace Ngolet. Clare Stevenson - Burley Law
Naomi Edge-SocialSignin. Melinda Marsh-Connect Group. Grace Ngolet. Clare Stevenson – Burley Law.
Florence Okoye. Jessica Rose - Yotta. Pauline Roche - RnR Organisation
Florence Okoye. Jessica Rose – Yotta. Pauline Roche – RnR Organisation.

To view all the photos from the event click here

 

Majestic launches new app which generates influence ratings for all Twitter handles

MajesticInnovation Birmingham Campus’ largest tenant – is launching a new Android app that will generate influence ratings for all Twitter handles. The ground-breaking app provides instant influence ratings based on 800 topics, when scrolling through a Twitter newsfeed.

Majestic – the developer of the largest global commercially available website link index – has created the new app to give Twitter users instant data on the influence of all Tweeters appearing in their newsfeed, or as a result of a key word or hashtag search. The automatically generated Majestic ‘Topical Trust Flow’ score is based on the quantity and quality of the weblinks to each Twitter handle.

Majestic is launching the new app in Beta form to make way for further development and functionality. The app will be free of charge to the thousands of Majestic account holders located worldwide. Subscription packages for new customers start from £30 + VAT per month.

Dixon Jones, Marketing Director of Majestic said: “The majority of our customers regard Twitter as a vital information tool, with many increasingly relying on it as a principle route to market. By instantly gauging how influential each account is – while scrolling through the latest Tweets in a newsfeed or search results – our new app will ensure key Tweets aren’t unknowingly overlooked. This will be particularly useful when looking to build up a higher base of followers and interact with established Twitter influencers.

“When using the Majestic Twitter app, it will be apparent if a user has seemingly boosted their account by acquiring fake followers. The app will also display information on the topics that a selected Twitter handle is most influential in. In a nutshell, this groundbreaking app will provide a wealth of instant intel while using Twitter. It will enable engagement with influencers, not interlopers.”

Majestic’s specialist search engine categorises the entire World Wide Web, eradicating the need for manually categorised website directories. Its purpose-designed technology continuously crawls the web in order to map links between websites. Over seven hundred billion web pages – including all Twitter accounts – are filtered into 800 topics to enable easy analysis and comparison. Majestic’s automatic Trust Flow scores then provide rankings based on the quality and quantity of relevant links to a web page or Twitter account.

Majestic’s retained clients include some of the best known international technology brands. Its search engine is multi-lingual and enables analysis of the web to be fully automated. For organisations that want to boost their own web presence, it provides clear results as to which sites are more influential to have backlinks from, without actually needing to view any web pages.

Majestic came second in the Midlands – and 17th overall – in the Deloitte Fast 50 awards programme, held in November 2014, ranking higher than notonthehighstreet.com, Just Eat plc and Sky Scanner. In five years, the web index creator’s turnover has grown by 1,571 per cent. Having been based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus since its inception, Majestic has recently expanded the size of its office to over 3,000 sq ft, to accommodate its growing team of 20 and its suite of servers.

For more information, visit https://majestic.com/

Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult to run Intelligent Mobility incubator within Innovation Birmingham’s £8m iCentrum building

A 2,500 sq ft Intelligent Mobility incubator is the first confirmed quarter of Innovation Birmingham’s Serendip space within the new £8m iCentrum® building.

Centro – the region’s public transport co-ordinator – and the Transport Systems Catapult, which is the UK’s innovation centre for Intelligent Mobility, have both signed up as joint partners for the specialist centre. It will launch when iCentrum®, located off the A38M Aston Expressway, opens in March 2016.

The ground-breaking business incubation centre will focus solely on Intelligent Mobility, which uses emerging technologies to enable the smarter, greener and more efficient movement of people and goods. In particular, it will encourage the development of smart phone and other apps that provide real-time information and advice for passengers.

Innovation Birmingham’s business mentors will actively work in the Intelligent Mobility incubator. There will also be mentoring from industry experts, access to open and closed transport data, and exclusive insight into innovation challenges facing the transport industry. Representatives from Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult will have co-working space within the incubator, in order to open doors to the local, national and international Intelligent Mobility marketplaces.

Tech start-ups looking to develop innovative new concepts within the field of Intelligent Mobility – or responding to the innovation challenges – will be offered space in the incubator.

Geoff Inskip, CEO of Centro said: “The concept for an Intelligent Mobility incubator – based here in the West Midlands – was born out of Centro’s ‘New Journey’ initiative, which we launched 12 months ago to harness new technologies for the benefit of passengers. Being at the centre of the UK’s transport network, we are ideally placed to drive new innovation to further improve the passenger experience. We will help entrepreneurs to interpret the vast data sets that can initially appear as a major hurdle, but actually have the potential to revolutionise the public transport marketplace.

“This is a very important new initiative for Centro and we eagerly anticipate the launch of the incubation facility, when the iCentrum building opens next year.”

Centro and the Transport Systems Catapult will act as partners of the Intelligent Mobility incubator for an initial three year term.

Steve Yianni, CEO of the Transport Systems Catapult said: “Innovation Birmingham has an exemplary record for attracting and developing tech start-ups. By launching a new incubation centre dedicated to Intelligent Mobility within the Innovation Birmingham Campus, disruptive innovation will result. This represents an important step in our long-term aim of helping UK-based businesses to capture a large share of the emerging new Intelligent Mobility market.

“We look forward to the partnership with Centro through this initiative, which will help technology-based start-ups to develop and prosper.”

The Intelligent Mobility incubator will be located on the first floor of the 3,874sqm (41,700 sq ft) iCentrum® building. The three remaining sector-specific quarters are Energy, Internet of Things and Digital Health. Innovation Birmingham is in the advanced stages of discussions with a number of potential commercial partners aligned to these sectors.

The whole 10,000 sq ft first floor of iCentrum® will be known as Serendip, with the ethos behind the space being to harness the power of serendipity and encourage the development of ideas between the four quarters. To complement Serendip, there will be state-of-the-art event and meet-up space on the ground floor for 500 people.  The top floor of iCentrum® will house office suites for growing tech companies.

Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Innovation Birmingham said: “Construction work started on iCentrum® in January and is on schedule to complete on time and on budget in March 2016. It is being developed and funded speculatively as a tech incubator for the generation that is growing up with social media, 3D printing and cloud-based business solutions.

“Sitting at the heart of the new building will be Serendip; a 10,000 sq ft incubation centre purpose-designed to nurture relationships between corporate executives and entrepreneurs. I am delighted that the first quarter can be announced eight months before the building is open. This is a hugely confident statement about Birmingham’s Smart City ambitions.”

iCentrum®, which has been under construction since January, is being funded through a £7.5m commercial loan, agreed with Birmingham City Council, to cover the main construction and fit-out costs. In addition, Innovation Birmingham secured funding from the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone’s Site Development and Access Fund to create additional co-working space in the new building. iCentrum® will provide space for 400 high-value skilled tech jobs at any one time, generating £25 million of GVA to the local economy per annum. The building was one of the first to start on site within the GBSLEP’s Enterprise Zone, which features 30 sites within central Birmingham.

The Innovation Birmingham Campus is currently fully let with an extensive waiting list for space from new and growing tech businesses. Significant investment has ensured its 110 technology tenants can already access 30Gbit/s broadband speeds – equalling the fastest internet connection available anywhere in the UK. iCentrum is the first building under construction within Innovation Birmingham’s £45m development zone.