Tag Archives: Digital Birmingham

Developing intelligent and sustainable mobility

Vision of New Street Station and planned Metro
Vision of New Street Station and planned Metro (bigcityplan.birmingham.gov.uk)

Digital Birmingham attended the New Journey workshop at the end of June to help shape a shared vision for the New Journey – a new way of thinking about connecting places and people. This takes a smart approach on a journey towards individual, integrated and seamless mobility solutions, making public transport the natural choice for people’s journeys across the West Midlands. Ultimately the aim is to make the West Midlands a leader in developing and delivering intelligent sustainable mobility providing combined improved access to public and private transport movement across networks with wider ‘big data’ product solutions. Some great thinking and ideas flowed during the day and these were captured and presented by Centro in this brilliant New Journey Conference Mindmap – which has perfectly captured the discussion strands and themes of the day – certainly worth dipping in and out of to absorb all of the information presented here and great contributor to progressing the Smart City Roadmap actions



Birmingham, the smarter, greener city

British Science Festival, Birmingham 2014
British Science Festival, Birmingham 2014

Wednesday 10 September 2014, 2.30pm-8pm
Millennium Point, Birmingham

As part of British Science Festival 2014, this event will showcase research and innovation in the theme of smarter and greener cities.

The need for cities to work smarter and in more environmentally efficient ways is essential to ensure the wellbeing of citizens, and to help businesses reduce their impact on global warming.

Jointly hosted by Birmingham City University, Aston University, Millennium Point and the Smart City Alliance, Birmingham: The Smarter, Greener Science City will include an exhibition, site tours and a series of lectures throughout the day.

Our keynote speaker is Dr Rick Robinson, Executive Architect of Smarter Cities, IBM.

Registration is free, with an option to attend a drinks reception at the end of the day. Please note that limited places are available for the drinks reception. Tickets for the event available here



Boost for Health Care Innovation in the Midlands

Creative England has announced a new £1million fund for regional based SMEs, designed to stimulate creative and digital innovation in UK healthcare. The first of four programmes to open as part of this fund is the West Midlands Interactive Healthcare Fund, in partnership with Nominet Trust and the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. The fund aims to encourage small creative and digital businesses in the North, Midlands and South West regions to develop innovative concepts or prototypes using digital technology to improve patient care and health services…

…The West Midlands Interactive Healthcare Fund offers local businesses a unique opportunity to work directly with the Health Trust to develop their concepts. “This partnership provides an extremely exciting opportunity for all involved,” explains Bethan Bishop, Head of Innovation & Industry Engagement at Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust. “It enables us to give insight into the areas of healthcare which will benefit from existing & new technology sitting within creative businesses. Importantly the fund will deliver the vital investment required to enable these developments to be used and make a real difference across healthcare services and the health & wellbeing of patients and the community.”

More about how to apply here

Mobilising for Action

Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)
Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons http://www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)

The Birmingham Smart City Commission has established a number of thematic working groups, based on discussions with its members, with the aim of establishing a programme of strategic priorities and activity that will support delivery of Birmingham’s Smart City Roadmap. All activity aims to embed the principles of and address the strategic aims set out in the Roadmap:

  • Use of digital technologies and information to increase capacity of existing infrastructure and services
  • A joined up, integrated approach to service delivery across all sectors
  • Release and access to data
  • Citizen involvement, cooperation and citizen focused service delivery

Each working group is chaired by a lead representative from the Smart City Commission who is responsible for progressing the Smart City principles alongside the needs of the sector / area and its membership focused on practical actions that deliver real outcomes.

Working Groups and leads are as follows:

Benchmarking and Progress – Mark Barber, KPMG
Civic Economy – Jas Bains, Ashram Moseley Housing
Education, Skills & Innovation – David Hardman, Innovation Birmingham Ltd
Energy – TBC
Health – Tim Jones, UHB
Mobility – Nick Gregg, Amey
Open and Big Data – Bjorn Birgisson, Aston University

We are holding a meeting at the end of September to bring together the leads above with the Chair of the Commission (Cllr. Lisa Trickett – Cabinet Member – Green, Smart and Sustainable City) to agree the framework and collective vision that will ensure an integrated  approach across the themed areas.

You can read more about the results from the stakeholder analysis, undertaken with the Commission members and supported by Mark Barber from KPMG that helped to inform the development of the working groups and the timeplan for next steps here

Birmingham’s top decision-makers to launch Making a Difference with Data programme on 26 June

Some of the top policy and decision-makers for Birmingham’s public services will be getting together in the city on 26 June to launch Making a Difference with Data – a new programme about the role of data in creating social and economic wellbeing.

The Making a Difference with Data programme is being developed and run by Birmingham-based Boilerhouse Media in collaboration with England’s core cities and is being supported by Digital Birmingham as part of Birmingham’s Smart City Roadmap.

Cllr James McKay,Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City, who will be opening the event and talking about the central role of data in Birmingham’s plans to become a ‘smart city’ said:

I welcome the Making a Difference with Data programme with its emphasis on communicating the benefits of using data and open data for better decision-making. There needs to be much greater awareness among leaders locally and nationally about the volume and value of data they can access to inform everything they are doing to improve cities, regions and neighbourhoods. This programme will help make that happen.

The launch is an invitation-only event bringing the city’s leaders in health, social care, housing, economic development and policing, together with representatives from transport, education and the third sector.

Speakers who will be presenting their ideas about how data can contribute to improved pubic services, more sustainable economic development and greater citizen involvement in their city and neighbourhoods include:

  • Emer Coleman, data entrepreneur and former deputy director of the Government Digital Service
  • Jas Bains MBE, Chief Executive of Ashram Housing Association
  • Shane O’Neill, chairman, roadworks.org
  • David Frost CBE – First Chairman, LEP Network (event chair)

Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust will be fielding one of their top team to speak, and there will also be presentations on the data programmes at Manchester, Sheffield, and Leeds.

Further information can be found at http://www.madwdata.org.uk and also via @madwdata and the #smartbrum hashtag.


Delivering healthcare digitally

Birmingham (creative commons www.chris-allen.co.uk)

There are increasing number of citizen centric health care consumer products on the market to support self-care management enabling individuals to engage digitally with their own health and care and the care of close family members. A number of emerging opportunities are taking forward a disruptive and transformative approach to deliver new models of healthcare. The opportunity for the Council, NHS and other partners is to look at how we support better integration around new pathways of healthcare. Health United Birmingham is a recent initiative and great example of this supporting Action G1 in the Birmingham Smart City Roadmap. It has just won £1m from the Prime Minister’s £50m Challenge Fund to pilot new ways of providing primary care.

“Digital Life Sciences has teamed up with Birmingham GPs to make it easier for patients see their doctors where and when they want to.

It’s part of a consortium called Health United Birmingham (HUB) that has won almost £1m from the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund to pilot new ways of improving access to general practice.

HUB is a partnership between two GP partnerships – Vitality and Bellevue – and Digital Life Sciences, a healthcare technology and change management company. It’s supported by Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups, Sandwell Council and Birmingham City Council.
It aims to radically change the way in which 60,000 Birmingham people access primary care. From July this year, patients will be able to:

• see GPs from 8am to 8pm seven days a week
• use instant messaging to chat to clinicians
• manage their care from their homes.

The pilot comprises a central hub which acts the single point of entry for 60,000 people. Technology is used to increase access to the hub. There is a digital channel through which patient records are stored and shared. The patient, the GP, the specialists and community workers can all see the patient’s medical records at the same time.

Patients can use instant messaging, or teleconferencing for consultations with a range healthcare professional to access their healthcare from home.

They can upload their care plans, monitor and record their blood sugar levels and exercise regimes, and choose to share this with clinicians and support staff at the touch of a button.
As it has already been proven that self-monitoring in this way reduces hospital admissions by 15 per cent, it is expected that the benefits to patients of extended hours and self-monitoring will be funded by the reduction in cost of patients using secondary care.”

Read the full article here

Brum’s young digital makers in the making

YRS Focus group meeting

A couple of weeks ago Digital Birmingham, Lara Ratnaraja, BBC, Birmingham City University and Arts Council West Midlands ran a focus group that brought together some of the local young people and mentors that have been involved in Young Rewired State (YRS)– National Festival of Code. The aim was to see how we could build on the exciting work that had started through YRS and run more regular activities and events throughout the year (you can take a look at the summary of the feedback here). Following on from this, the BBC held its first regular get together in the public space of the Mailbox bringing together young local coders and designers, in fact anyone under the age of 18 keen to learn new digital skills, supported by mentors to look at how they can make use of open data and their creative skills to solve real world challenges, through the development of apps etc. There are now regular meetings planned the last Saturday of the month and though it’s early days yet in the long term, we would like to see how we can help the young people take some of these products to market through crowdfunding schemes and also help broker relationships with prospective employers that will help foster and hold on to the regions talent. This is driving forward the Smart City roadmap action under skills, which aims to strengthen the network of self-taught coders, programmers & digital designers. For more information email: nicola.bryant@birmingham.gov.uk


Birmingham supports UK Smart Cities standards development

Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)
Bull Ring at night (Creative Commons  (www.photoeverywhere.co.uk/)

Below is an extract taken from the recent press release from BSI (British Standards Institute) about the work that has been undertaken with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills involving UK cities such as Birmingham in development of smart cities framework and standards. It has been instrumental in helping to develop Birmingham’s Smart City strategy. The UK is seen as taking a lead in being the first country to develop such standards.

 “BSI, the business standards company has recently published new guidance to help support UK cities in becoming smarter. In the UK alone, 8 out of 10 people now live in cities, and the United Nations predicts cities will grow by 70% by 2050. As they become more complex, an intelligent standardized structure for using and sharing existing data and resources, becomes vital. This is echoed in the findings of the government’s Information Economy Strategy published in June 2013.

 BIS (Department for Innovations & Skills) has worked with BSI to develop and launch an agenda around the smart city standards, in what is an emerging market still in its infancy. The Publicly Available Specifications PAS 180 and PAS 181, address the standardization gaps in the smart city market by providing a guidance framework and common language.

 Scott Steedman Director of Standards at BSI said: “Smart Cities need Standards. The UK leads the world in shaping business standards. If we are to make the most of the global opportunities from smart cities, we need to work fast to structure the knowledge that can help city leaders, communities, innovators and technology providers recognize what good looks like and how these concepts can bring benefits for all. I’m delighted that the UK is the first country to publish a set of standards that will help us navigate the governance and leadership challenges that smart technologies bring for cities everywhere.”

  • PAS 180Smart cities – Vocabulary

Was developed to improve communication and understanding of the smart cities field by providing a tool to ensure developers, designers, manufacturers and clients use a common language when talking about smart cities helping the industry to work more efficiently and effectively.

It is the first version of a “smart cities vocabulary”, the beginning of a process to collate the diverse range of terms and expressions used in day-to-day discussions about smart cities. The vocabulary aims to provide an agreed set of working terms to enable practitioners to better share a common understanding.

  • PAS 181 Smart city framework – Guide to establishing strategies for smart cities and communities

Was developed to guide decision-makers and assist them to develop, agree and deliver smart city strategies that can transform cities’ ability to meet future challenges and deliver future aspirations.

The framework does not describe a one-size-fits-all model for the future of UK cities. It focusses on the enabling processes by which innovative use of technology and data coupled with organizational change, can help deliver the diverse visions for future UK cities in more efficient, effective and sustainable ways. 

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said:  “There is huge potential for the UK to be the world leader in smart cities and to achieve a strategic advantage for UK cities and industry as international markets develop. Industry standards are key to achieving world leadership status for the UK and hence I welcome the publications of the first two BSI smart city standards. These standards will help to address barriers to implementing smart city concepts and promote uptake of smart city solutions at scale.”

Some of the organizations involved in the development of PAS 180 include: Department of Architecture, Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Cambridge University and University of Westminster. Some of the organizations involved in the development of PAS 181 include: Balfour Beatty, Birmingham City Council. BRE, Fujitsu, Future Cities Catapult, IBM, Leeds City Council, Royal Borough of Greenwich and The Technology Strategy Board.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City at Birmingham City Council said: “Birmingham City Council welcomes the publication of the first Smart City standards by BSI. There was a clear lack of practical advice for city leaders, which is now starting to be addressed.  We are especially supportive of the new Smart City Framework – Guide to establishing strategies for smart cities and communities (PAS 181) as Birmingham City Council was directly involved in its development and the knowledge we have gained has already influenced the development of our own Birmingham Smart City strategy.”

Full press release can be read here 

Action F2: Embedding smart city principles in procurement

Digital Birmingham will work with BCC’s Procurement Services to embed smart city principles in procurement/commissioning; particularly where it has an infrastructure, technology or data element. This includes guidance and training to departmental buyers on data ownership and open data requests, compliance with interoperability standards and focusing on service integration at the design stage for specifications. Existing assets (infrastructure, data) should be exploited and re-used where possible. This will support service transformation through service integration and external innovation.

Stakeholders identified

  • BCC Procurement Services
  • BCC service areas and budget holders
  • Legal services
  • Procurement training providers
  •  Compliance managers

Potential stakeholders

Other councils and public sector organisations may also be interested in sharing learning in this area

What makes this approach smart?

Stakeholder led service transformation and transforming the city’s operating model

Short-term actions

  • Roll-out commissioning toolkit for all internal staff and develop and enhance in-house procurement training
  • Develop contract management toolkit for wider use within and external to BCC
  • Include BCC ownership of data into contract templates

Future actions

  • Restructure commissioning function into thematic areas of excellence, which focus on key Council outcomes and must contribute to the outcomes
  • Develop central PQQ database and availability of grant management and spend data