Digital Birmingham is a Birmingham City Council initiative and part of a city wide strategic partnership of more than 40 public, private and voluntary organisations
Digital Birmingham was established in 2006 as the driving force to ensure that the benefits of digital and new emerging technologies are available to all people, businesses and sectors in the city. This is key to accelerating Birmingham and the region's economic and sustainable growth, as well as promoting greater inclusion and quality of life.
Through its investment in technology, infrastructure and world class connectivity programme it is now recognised as a leading digital city and has grown a strong stakeholder group that spans commercial, public sector and academic organisations. We are continuing to ensure that the city maintains its digital leadership as well as extend this approach across the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) so that as a region, we stimulate innovation led growth, deliver better services and achieve greater transparency and efficiencies.
Having established the city's digital credentials, we are now driving forward Birmingham's Smart City approach, which is looking at the significant benefits to be achieved through the integration of technology into a strategic approach across all mainstream city initiatives in the areas of mobility, economy, people, living and governance. A Smart City Commission, led by Cllr. James McKay (Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart city), provides the leadership, vision, expert knowledge and strategic direction to oversee the development of the Smart City programme and ensure that we future proof the city, so that it is adaptable, resilient and responsive to meet the challenges ahead
Our key priorities
Smart City development
We are developing specifications and programmes of work to help progress Birmingham's Smart City ambitions.
- Support the Smart City Commission, which provides the leadership and governance for Birmingham's Smart City activities.
- Involvement in European and national Smart City initiatives and projects such as EU funded project Smart Spaces.
- Collaborative R&D programmes of work with Universities such as Birmingham City University looking at prototype platforms and solutions for future Smart Cities.
- Developing frameworks, standards and city metrics for a Smart City, which includes making data open and accessible as a key city asset.
World class digital connectivity
In line with the Big City Plan, and the Enterprise Zone, Digital Birmingham is developing a world class digital connectivity programme that will be key to accelerating economic growth, creating new jobs and inward investment.
- The Digital Districts programme of ultrafast broadband speed will transform sections of the city, acting as a catalyst for growth.
- City wide next generation high speed wireless technologies to respond to the need for on the move high speed mobile services.
- Exploring the opportunities for a shared Public Service Network (PSN), across the region to reduce costs and improve network performance.
Developing the talent pool for innovation and skills
The seven key sectors in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP strategy for growth relies on businesses having the right skills and knowledge to exploit digital technologies and infrastructure ad unlock innovation in their business practices; Equally citizens need to be online in order for example to access the benefits of job opportunities and best deals and develop essential ICT skills to meet employer requirements and help them to become 'Digital by Default'. Current activities to support this strand:
- Hello Business sector events and hackathons.
- Virgin Media Pioneers online community to support young entrepreneurs.
- Go ON Birmingham Campaign to create 2,012 digital champions to help make our citizens 'Digital by Default'.
- DISCOVER EU funded project to develop digital skills of carers.
- Development of information channels such as Looking Local to support digital inclusion.
City Profile and Influencing
We work across the city council and with other public sector partners to promote use of technologies for greater efficiencies. We use our influence and strong network to align investments and work with industry partners to maximise their input such as through Arup, Amey and Cisco and sector groups such as the WM Media Cluster; online forums and social media channels. We seek to influence local, national and international strategies and policies as well as actively shape the digital landscape through membership of groups such as Core Cities, the Eurocities Knowledge Society Forum and Major Cities of Europe. We are developing a strong Smart City stakeholder engagement programme and events involving a range of business and community sectors as we recognise that this will be integral to the success of the Smart Cities programme.