Smart City Alliance – 15th July 2020

15 July 2020

On 15 July 2020 we saw one of our best Smart City Alliance meetings to date with a stellar line-up of speakers delivered virtually.


Smart Showcase – You. Smart. Thing


Digital Inclusion Round Table

Birmingham Tech

Smart ShowcaseYou. Smart. ThingChris Thompson

YST is currently helping to restart the cultural sector by working with destinations and events to deploy their UK government backed ‘Travel Assistant’.

What informed this work?

Research from Indigo Ltd from 258 organisations captured over 100,000 audience responses on their views about what would (and would not) encourage them back to events. The full report can be found here, with a summary of the findings illustrated below.

The cloud-based service, easily embedded in websites and social media, enables the delivery of bespoke routes to events, improves venue accessibility, keeps potential visitors updated and gives them the confidence to attend.

The Travel Assistant provides a creative and engaging way of helping to ensure public safety and manage best-practice in respect of social distancing, whilst providing visitors with the assurance of an enjoyable overall experience. It can ration trips to venues by different transport modes and deliver detailed real-time and forecast travel demand by event. This information allows for advance planning, staff management and risk mitigation. The service complements all major ticket retail platforms, effectively delivering bespoke advice to visitors in-situ and en-route based on their circumstances, travel preferences and location.

Recap on Chris’ presentation here.

Innovate@HS2Bruntwood SciTechDavid Hardman

HS2 will be a world class 21st century railway service, embracing new technologies to ensure world class levels of reliability, comfort and customer experience.

To deliver this HS2 will drive innovation in the design and build, employing new techniques to improve productivity, innovating to do more with less and create fewer emissions and noise. It will build a legacy of knowledge, expertise and new commercial opportunities for the UK.

Innovate@HS2, HS2’s accelerator programme will help achieve this vision, by inducting two cohorts of five small companies per year in partnership with Bruntwood SciTech, based at the Innovation Birmingham Campus. The programme will work with businesses to develop new innovative digital products and services for HS2 that can help leave a legacy of new ways of working and best practice.

There are currently three challenges around circular economy, green corridor and productivity. The accelerator programme will provide guidance, support and insight to develop innovative ideas or products to be fit for HS2 supply chain.

Recap on David’s presentation here.

Digital Inclusion Round TableTin Smart SocialAlex Cole

SCA chair, Alex Cole, lead the discussions around digital inclusion and enabling a diverse digital talent pool by introducing the group to his own work through Tin Smart Social called DIGISHEDS

DIGISHEDS delivers active learning experiences to develop digital talent and wellbeing in young people aged 16-30, particularly from disadvantaged backgrounds, and positions and promotes their skills within a relevant business context. The programme works with employer partners who have jobs available and develops participants to align their developed skills with those specific role – ultimately getting young people into work.

The problem statement posed to the group was “How do you create multi-sector equitable access to future-proofed, certified skills training, and opportunities for those who are disadvantaged or excluded from mainstream provision?”

In response we were able to capture so many great initiatives happening across the region. Here’s a summary:

Microsoft launches initiative to help 25 million people worldwide acquire the digital skills needed in a COVID-19 economy – find out more here

You. Smart. Thing are actively looking for cloud services talent. If you know someone that might fit the bill please get in touch.

West Midlands 5G are looking to engage apprenticeships to support their programme and the various workstreams.

The Brum Muse was created in order to bridge the digital skills gap in the city and region. The objectives are focused on inspiring the next-gen of future tech talent, by working with schools to understand tech and digital and working with young people to inspire them to seek careers in tech.

Talks are in place with Beatfreekz to connect their young people’s board with a BAME in Tech Brum initiative with a Q&A being set up for employers to hear these young voices.

Niyo Enterprise, an organisation that uses hair, beauty and technology as tools to economically empower black women, has an initiative called the ‘Black Codher’ programme – a 6-month software development coding bootcamp with embedded empowerment days where black women get diverse insight into tech. They have had over 1000 expressions of interest, over 300 applications, and will be training 50 amazing resilient and excellent black women to be junior software developers.

Other suggestions included linking talented individuals to help respond to start-up challenges in a boot camp style environment to help with CV development.

It’s amazing to see just a snap-shot of the great activity happening. To engage with any of the above please get in touch via and we’ll connect you.

Birmingham TechYiannis Maos

Birmingham Tech is an independent, not-for-profit organisation designed to raise awareness of Birmingham’s Technology scene on a global level.

They do this by:

Engaging & Inspiring the next generation

Celebrating successful tech businesses in Birmingham

Encouraging & fostering Collaboration

You must have been hiding under a rock throughout October 2019 if you didn’t get involved with Birmingham Tech Week and it’s 68 events, from 40 locations, attended by 5,000 people. Supported by a range of strategic partners and top brands.

Birmingham Tech Week 2020 will take place between October 12-18 and will be formally announced at the beginning of August.

What happens for the rest of the year?

Birmingham Tech Community is a place for real-time conversation and information sharing; peer to peer engagement and help; and focussed groups including ScaleUps, Tech for Good and Digital Skills.

The community platform is currently in BETA with 100 members.

CALL TO ACTION: Join the BETA community and get engaged here and get ready to shout from the rooftops about our regional tech scene once BTW 2020 is announced!

Recap on Yiannis’ presentation here.