Monthly news from @digibrum
Smart City Blog

Monthly news from @digibrum


A digest of digital and smart city activities during June, which are headed up by Councillor Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for Sustainability and Chair of the Smart City Commission.


Led by the Smart City Commission, we are working with a diverse range of city partners like Innovation Birmingham Ltd, Aston University, WM Police, Canals and River Trust and Social Breakfast to develop and support a programme of smart city integrated projects in East Birmingham.

The smart city demonstrator aims to build on existing investments and programmes of work such as Birmingham Cycle Revolution, Birmingham Connected and Active Parks and contribute to the ambition of the East Birmingham Prospectus for Growth by applying new and integrated ways of using technology, data, infrastructure and city assets to tackle city challenges.

In doing so it aims to accelerate how we can support people and businesses to be more economically active; create the conditions to support better health and wellbeing and build the evidence base that will shape more effective interventions and investments in services as part of the Birmingham ‘Future Council’ programme.

At a recent workshop with city leaders we started to identify the first round of project ideas to take forward, which will now be developed further by working with community groups, citizens and businesses on the ground and provide a starting point for the next edition of the Roadmap. For further information or to get involved click here to contact Nicola Bryant.


A six month project funded by the Cabinet Office, led by Digital Birmingham and with partners Aston University, Boilerhouse, Podnosh and RAWM has clearly highlighted that one of the greatest assets to the Open Data movement are the individuals and local organisations who can use data to achieve their aims.

The Birmingham Data and Skills Hub project has successfully streamlined a process for internal data extraction and publication to Birmingham Data Factory that will help to reduce overheads for future data requests. Focusing on extraction of data from the Northgate housing database (rent and stock data), Digital Birmingham has worked closely with the housing team to create a process to publish data sustainably by direct access to the database's underlying information systems.

Alongside this there was a strong community engagement programme aimed at building data skills through the already established and sustainable programme of social media surgeries and specific community development training in Castle Vale, Sparkbrook and Balsall Heath. The interactions with the community were vital for the success of the project and recognized that data skills are a journey, which needed to focus on citizen’s goals in order to drive their interest in data and data skills.

As part of this engagement work, Boilerhouse worked with members of the community groups in Castle Vale, Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook to develop a very easy to use visualisation tool enabling comparison of council rents with private sector rents. The full report is available here.

FI-STAR - FIWARE Accelerator Event - Smart Cities


Birmingham played host to a FI-WARE event in May which brought together regional start-ups/SME's and welcomed a representative from the European Commission and five European FIWARE Accelerator programmes.

Each programme presented their calls to the group, with real-life examples of businesses benefiting from building on the technology. This stimulated discussions about the funding opportunities which have a combined worth of over 80 million euros to design online applications which improve initiatives in open data, health, creative industries, 3-D printing and urban life.

See Digital Birmingham's Raj Mack talking about the Birmingham's tech scene and smart city developments in the video above.

Video courtesy of FI-STAR partners.


Digital Birmingham’s Kofi Ackah has been recognised for his Leadership Skills at the recent “Celebrating Success Awards 2015 – Corporate Black Workers Support Group”.

He was cited for his considerable work and leadership around the council’s welfare reform activities and last year, it was nationally recognised for its work preparing for the Universal Credit pilot and the ‘My Work Journey’ Digital Logbook which is helping 5,000 unemployed Birmingham citizens seek, obtain and sustain employment in a digital way.



Below is a selection of some of the funding available to entrepreneurs and businesses in the region as well as discussion groups to have your say on local initiatives.

See a range of funding and business support advice available to start-ups and SME's; from access to loans, business assist programmes and recruitment advice. More...

A call for SME's and web entrepreneurs that will provide start-up funding and business support for the development of web apps and products using FIWARE technology. More...

Does your organisation need a digital marketing boost? Grant funding is available until September this year, brought to you by The Technology and Innovation Futures WM programme. More...

Did you know that as a small business you could be entitled to a government grant of up to £3000 for superfast fibre connectivity? Click here for more details of the scheme.

Contribute your ideas to Birmingham's Smart City Roadmap and aspirations here and tell us about the activities and projects you're working on. Follow conversations online using #smartbrum.

Birmingham City Council would like to know what data you would like to see made open to the public. Register your suggestions via the Birmingham Speaks portal. More...

If you'd like further information on any of the topics covered above, please call the team on 0121 303 8779.
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