Smart City Alliance

James& Katie-14

What we do:

The Smart City Alliance is a cross-sector network whose membership includes practitioners from universities, local authorities, businesses, voluntary organisations and SMEs from across the whole West Midlands region.

The group meets bi-monthly and provides visiting speakers a platform to share their smart initiatives and the opportunity to forge relationships with Alliance partners.

Thematic workshops also look to drive collaborative activity in response to current opportunities.

Chairs: The group is co-chaired by Alex Cole, Chief Innovation Officer at Tin Smart Social, and Rick Robinson, Digital Properties and Cities Leader at Arup.

Co-ordinated by: Iain Mansell, Project Manager at Innovation Alliance for the West Midlands.

Get in touch and join us!


Twitter: @innovationwm

Next meeting: TBC. Read our COVID-19 statement here.
Past meetings:
19th February at Antser Group in Edgbaston

Our latest meeting was hosted by Antser Group in Edgbaston, with discussions focusing on electric vehicles, technology in the care sector, and #WM2041. See below for more about our fantastic speakers and presentation links!

Our session opened with Luke Mulekezi from Antser Groupwho provide business support services, technology solutions and training development to the care sector. Their mission is to deliver improved outcomes for some of society’s most vulnerable by working in partnership to combine innovative technology with human-centred service solutions, for one purpose – to deliver positive change across the health and social care sector.

Next up was Dejan Ajzenkol from Wood Plcwho discussed how cities’ infrastructure are preparing for the expected influx of electric vehicles. The vehicle charging infrastructure framework has been established for the provision of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure, including the supply, installation and maintenance of electric vehicle charging points (slow/fast/rapid) and back-office support. Wood supports public sector organisations to meet their current and future needs in providing a reliable public charging network that is fit to meet the uptake of EVs and climate change challenges.

Finally, Jacqueline Homan from West Midlands Combined Authority laid out their actions to meet the climate crisis with inclusivity, prosperity and fairness. #WM2041

We ended the session with a fantastic round table discussion – thank you to all those who came and got involved!

Presentation links

Antser – Time Travel with Data

Wood Electric Vehicles Charging Framework

WMCA – WM2041

Tuesday 8th October at the Manufacturing and Technology Centre

Our latest meeting took place at the The Manufacturing and Technology Centre at Ansty Park in Coventry, one of the West Midlands most prestigious innovation assets. It was a Birmingham Tech Week special event and focused on ‘Smart Ideas for Global Growth’.

We began with an introduction into the fascinating goings-on of the MTC and their ambitions. Charlie Foster explained their extensive work with bridging the gap between academia and industry and gave an insight into their Construction Innovation Hub. We also had insights into Digital Manufacturing, Advanced Visualisation Definition, and Intelligent Automation.

Rupi Nandra from Enterprise Europe Network  then told us about the advisory and innovation support, and international development opportunities available for companies – particularly those looking for collaborative opportunities.

We had a fantastic tour of the MTC, and finished with a round table discussion about how we can make SMEs better aware of the opportunities available.

Presentation Links

MTC Introduction 

Enterprise Europe Network 


Wednesday 10th July at Aston University

Our July meeting took place at Aston University, where we began the day by taking a sneak peek behind the doors of the European Bioenergy Research Institute (EBRI), part of Aston’s smart city ‘ASTUTE’ activity.

We also got to hear a fascinating talk from Aston’s spin out company ‘Grid Edge’ on how they are pioneering the application of Artificial Intelligence for building energy systems.

We also welcomed ‘DIGI-RAIL’. DIGI-RAIL is an ERDF-part funded project providing long-term innovation support to eligible SMEs within the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) and Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) areas, on developing digital products and services for the rail industry.

Aston University: EBRI 

Innovate UK

Birmingham University – Digi-Rail

Wednesday 1st May at Birmingham City University

On Wednesday 1st May 2019 IAWM’s Smart City Alliance had the pleasure of supporting Birmingham City University (BCU) for the launch of the ‘CityGate’ urban data platform. It was really overwhelming to see such a great turnout at Millennium Point, Birmingham, with over 50 regional innovation experts coming together to engage with our ‘data’ themed event.

The morning kicked off with a special welcome from BCU’s Prof Andrew Aftelak, Head of the School of Computing and Digital Technology followed by a series of data focussed initiatives including Birmingham in Real Time; The Big Data Corridor; and West Midlands 5G, introduced by Dr Adel Aneiba, Associate Professor in IoT. The event was rounded off by a Smart IP session delivered by the Intellectual Property Office and Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.

Read all about it here.


City Gate

Birmingham in Real Time

Big Data Corridor

Smarter IP

Wednesday 6th March at University of Birmingham

The March Smart City Alliance meeting took place on Wednesday 6th March hosted by University of Birmingham. The meeting kicked off with a tour of the University’s new ‘Green Heart’. We also received presentations from:

(The energy generating paving at the Green Heart)

See more about the Liveable Cities Project:

Wednesday 9th January at STEAMhouse

Our January meeting took place at SteamhouseUK, with speakers from Maas Global, Streamr, and Smart Oxford.The day began with a brilliant tour of the venue, and ended with a fruitful networking session.

(Tour of STEAMhouse)

See more about STEAMhouse:

7th November 2018 at West Midlands Combined Authority 

Our final meeting of 2018 took place on the 7th November at WMCA, with speakers from JCP Support For Schools, Slenky, Digital Birmingham,  plus discussions led by our Chairs on the implication of 5G in the West Midlands, and the potential for an Intelligent Services Roadmap.

(Alex Cole on the potential of an Intelligent Services Roadmap)
(Cec Richards, Slenky)

See more about Slenky:


You can find a full list of Smart City Alliance members here.