Tag Archives: Technology

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


Win your company £500 worth of VoIP technology with AlphaTalk

Fancy winning £500 worth of VoIP technology for your business?

Birmingham telecoms company AlphaTalk are running a Twitter Milestone competition where one lucky winner, picked at random will win an AlphaTalk Business VoIP System Package which includes:

A brand new VoIP phone worth £100

Free calls worth up to £250

VoIP software app and line rental worth £150

VoIP technology is incredibly useful for a business because it offers more functionality and options such as voicemail, call waiting, toll free numbers, call forwarding, call hunting, remote operation and voicemail to email transcription.

This is an exciting opportunity to win some advanced technology that can enhance communication for your business.

It’s really simple to enter, all you have to do is follow AlphaTalk on Twitter @alphaTALKLtd and retweet any tweet that mentions the competition.

The competition closes in January so hurry and be quick!

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO launches new product to categorise the web

Innovation Birmingham Campus-based Majestic SEO has launched a groundbreaking specialist search engine to categorise the entire World Wide Web. Called ‘Topical Trust Flow’, the innovation has been seven years in the making and is the first of its kind to eradicate the need for manually categorised website directories.

Topical Trust Flow categorises over seven hundred billion web pages – including all Twitter accounts – into 800 topics to enable easy analysis and comparison. Trust Flow scores are also provided, where higher rankings are achieved by having links directly relevant to a web page.

The new 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 link to, without actually viewing any web pages.  Finding appropriate content can be carried out with laser-like precision.

Read full press release here>>
o find out more about being based or having an office at Innovation Birmingham Campus see here>>

Debate: how technology skills can support a carer

Last Tuesday (18/3),  Digital Birmingham together with its UK Discover partners – Bham City University, Dundalk Institute of Technology , Health, Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) and The Open University held an event to spark dialogue about digital and ict related training for formal and informal carers, how new technologies and the use of technology can support them in their lives as a carer as well as those they care for.

There was a great mix of people in the audience, from carers (formal and non formal) to carer support agencies to health and care providers to skills agencies to Universities to training providers which encouraged an dialogue about the imorertance of it skills in this day and age.

With Bob Gann, from NHS England chairing, the event kicked off with its first presentation from Verina Waights (Discover PartnerOpen University) who spoke about the Discover EU project  (www.discover4carers.eu) and the benefits of digital skills to carers.

Madeleine Starr MBE of Carers UK then went on to speak about the key roles of technology in a caring environment bringing to light that even tech savvy people are not aware of how technology can support them as well as those that they care for. She also emphasised that statutory and private services need to adopt technoloigies and change skills of whole workforce to promote tech. View Madeleine’s presentation here

Matthew Kemp of Midland Heart went through a care plan for an older person outlining all possible interactions between family, friends, care authorites, NHS etc by way of a cleverly designed ‘web of care (or despair)’. He then went on to explain the 10 recommendations from the User and market analysis report: Planning and co-ordination of informal and formal care for older people (this will be made availaible shortly – currently pending final checks and signoff). View Matthew’s presentation here

A research study piece by Midland Heart and commissioned by Birmingham City Council through part funding from ERDF and Carillion, explores the relationship between care and technology capturing the challenges faced by informal and formal carers in managing care planning and coordination. Read the full report here

Nigel Wynne of Birmingham City University (Discover Partner) spoke the importance of embedding digi skills and technology in care  followed by a showcase of the Discover e-learning  platform (email discover@birmingham.gov.uk if you’d like to trial this for yourself or for carers in your organisation).

Robin Vickers of Digital Life Sciences went on to speak about about exisitng technology enabled care tools (DALLAS programme) and what the future of digital healthcare will look like with the emphasis of the user at the heart of their health/caring journey.

Kevin Campbell-Wright of NIACE gave a presentation about technology and learning, spoke highly of digial champions in organisations and out there in the community to act as mentors to support learners. He also spoke about reluctance to want to use the internet for security (identity theft, online fraud etc) reasons however with the Digital by Default agenda, communities will have no choice but to do things online. View Kevin’s presentation here

Dame Philippa Russell DBE talked about improving lives of carers and the cared for through the use of  telehealth, and smart homes and about the importance of independence and well-being outlined by Norman Lamb MP and then followed on by explaining the challenges she sees; that 2/3 of carers unaware of benefits of assistive technologies; loss of community libraries, where will people go to use a computer and the internet; Digital by Default agenda and that many areas in the UK still do not have decent broadband connections. View Philippa’s presentation here

If you would like more information about the Discover digital skills for carers project, please email birmingham@discover4carers.eu

“Birmingham is …

Birmingham is emerging as a hotspot for new technology businesses. The city has been transformed in recent years and the tech scene is thriving”

Jon Card in the Guardian Professional, 24 Feb 2014:

Few cities have undergone such profound changes as Birmingham in the past decade. Its city centre has been radically transformed and expanded and enormous amounts of construction have taken place.

Better links and sign posting across Birmingham.

Stephenson St Tram. Creative Commons BirminghamNewsRoom
Stephenson St Tram. Creative Commons BirminghamNewsRoom

Some peoples sense of direction have always been better than others and getting lost when visiting somewhere new, or even getting all mixed up when leaving a familiar place but by an unfamiliar exit is some peoples (my mom’s) fear whenever they have to visit  a big city.

My answer to this is to research ahead, know the routes I need to take in advance, Or stride through places with confidence, furtively glancing as signs  faking it until I make it where I need to be.

For others they need something more visual, and that’s why Action  I3 is to exploit the cities way finding infrastructure, as set out in the Interconnect Project, of the Big City Plan.

This would be through really visual interactive maps, signage etc on “totems”, A similar system has already proved popular in the new, New Street station

This case study in the Roadmap highlights this:

During the refurbishment of New Street Station Network Rail developed new touch screen wall displays for rail travellers. It is the first time this touchscreen technology has been introduced into a managed station providing up to date timetable information.

The interactive screens can be linked with third party servers to
provide up to date tram information when the metro goes live. It will then provide multi-modal transport information as well  as city maps and assisting  wayfinding out of the station.

Their successful introduction has launched an initiative investigating use of the new touch screens at the major national stations that Network Rail operates.

Action I6: Smart Street Lighting

Street lighting is a standalone operation that has changed little since electrification. Although sensors and LED bulbs have increased control and decreased energy use in the last decade, the network remains isolated from other city systems. This creates additional management and maintenance costs and limits the use of street lighting as a near-ubiquitous on-street asset. The aim is to further decrease energy use while increasing capability of street lighting by moving to Power- and Light-over-Ethernet for LED street lighting.

Stakeholders identified

  • BCC
  • Amey

Potential stakeholders

  • Cisco
  • Phillips
  • amBX
  • PureVLC

What makes this approach smart?

  • Integration of physical infrastructure and ICT for enhanced use
  • Integration with other city systems

Short-term actions

  • Policy, legal and regulatory review re governance of street lighting
  • Trial focussed on major streets, key destinations, iconic buildings
  • Develop ecosystem of innovators / SMEs to exploit new capabilities

Future actions

  • Rollout and exploitation; integration of street lights with other systems and services
  • An integrated street lighting system that will enable integration with CCTV, emergency services and other public systems, networks and services.
  • Enhanced city connectivity by supporting Li-Fi (data delivered by light).

Action H1: Energy data (open data) and visualisation

To source and release data about energy consumption as public open data where possible on Birmingham’s open data portal. Starting with BCC’s own data the next step will be to influence external data owners to release their data. Secondly to help individuals and organisations better understand their own energy usage, particularly how and when energy is used and comparison with that of similar households or buildings through energy dashboards and visualisation, with appropriate protection of individuals’ privacy. With this understanding we can identify solutions, generate new solutions and provide advice for change.

Stakeholders identified

  • BCC Digital Birmingham and Climate Change and Sustainability Team
  • Birmingham City University

Potential stakeholders

  • Aston University and University of Birmingham
  • Birmingham Metropolitan College and University College Birmingham
  • Energy providers

What makes this approach smart?

Releasing open data and joining it up with data from other sectors to create new solutions

Short-term actions

  • Publish BCC data on Birmingham Open Data portal
  • Work with the Climate KIC-Transition project led by to create new building information for selected buildings in Eastside
  • Work with the Smart City Alliance and the Smarter Greener Eastside initiative to gain greater access to energy usage data in Eastside and make this available as open data
  • Clarify the scope of the Birmingham Energy Savers Resource Centre and what data will be published regarding progress of domestic retrofit, and connect this to BCC’s open data portal.

Future actions

  • Develop a citywide data / systems architecture for resource data (gas, electricity, heat, fuel, water, waste)
  • Engage with and encourage citywide public and private organisations to release energy data, review feasibility of gaining access to commercial data

Action G4: Challenge based social innovation programme for public health challenges

Obesity costs Birmingham £2.6bn each year including costs to the NHS, social care and wider economy. 40% of 10-11 year olds in Birmingham are overweight or obese. By focussing a series of public health challenges on childhood obesity we are addressing preventative action and developing the concept, which can be transferred to other areas of health challenges. The programme will work with the ERDF Creative Digital Solutions, Innovation Engine and Hub Launchpad and engage with citizens, community leaders and healthcare professionals and technology lead developers to identify solutions. This has the potential to use everyday technology to trigger behavioural change and enable better lifestyle choices. Addressing the ‘digital natives’ generation provides an opportunity to utilise consumer technology and data to help tackle a significant public health challenge.

Stakeholders identified to date

  • Accord Housing
  • Public Health – Birmingham City Council
  • Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Birmingham Science City
  • Digital Birmingham
  • Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust
  • Innovation Birmingham Ltd

What makes this approach smart?

Exploiting digital technologies for quality of life, using data to create new insights and solutions

Short-term actions

Define process to manage public health challenges through involvement of communities

Future actions

Identify challenges with communities and public health leads through workshops; identify data sets; look at crowd sourced community funding schemes

Action E3: Growing Smart Businesses

Tools and technologies such as the cloud, electronic invoicing, mobile working and data storage are rapidly changing both the marketplace and operating environment, and can transform businesses to embrace more efficient and effective business processes. For many though, adopting these tools is proving a challenge. While many businesses recognise the benefits of technology, take-up is not as it should be and is inhibiting businesses’ capacity to grow. Through a demand stimulation programme, our aim is to: build cross-sector digital capability and capacity for global competitive advantage in areas such as open data / big data, technology and innovation; explore new business models and revenue streams; and drive uptake of ultrafast digital connectivity – a recognised driver of economic growth.  One example to build on is the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses scheme that Aston University runs and includes a cohort of digital companies.

Stakeholders identified

  • BCC
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Digital Media Cluster
  • MAS
  • Birmingham Future / Forward
  • Aston University

Potential stakeholders

  • Other business networks
  • Training providers
  • Innovators / supply chain leads

What makes this approach smart?

Embedding digital skills and enabling city transformation through business driven innovation

Short-term actions

Scope programme; identify delivery partners

Future actions

In development