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
Smart City Commission Vision
This month, we launched the Smart City Commission Vision Statement which set out our strategic direction to position Birmingham as a leading smart connected city.
The Statement reflects the considerable support and input from a diverse group of experts representing cross sector international and local organisations. It will be presented to the Council's Cabinet in January for approval, and will open up the process for creating a set of recommendations and the detailed delivery roadmap in summer 2013.
We hosted a Future Internet event in December as part of the CONCORD project, to share knowledge of 'smart city' activities in the West Midlands and promote the Future-Internet PPP Call 3. The event also welcomed a presentation from the EIT ICT Labs highlighting opportunities for international collaboration. For more information and to view the presentations visit here.
Hello Culture 2012 was another big success providing a valuable insight for Arts and Cultural organisations on how to maximize value, audience participation and revenue from digital technologies. If you didn't get chance to visit or just want to relive the event the Round-Up blog is online or you can watch the video stream from both Day 1 and Day 2, filmed by partners Rebel Uncut.
Smart City Commission
The Commission met in November for round table discussions on the detailed roadmap for Birmingham's Smart City programme. This focused on the leadership and governance structures, developing strong stakeholder engagement, hard infrastructure requirements, e.g. .Cloud technologies; open data platform and prioritising areas for focus. A report is being prepared for the Leader outlining the recommendations and this will be published in the New Year.
TSB Future Cities £25M Demonstrator
We have submitted our Future Cites proposal and Feasibility Report to the TSB, which looks at the added value that can be gained by integrating some of the city's many systems, and for Birmingham this is focused on the economy, well-being and mobility. Our thanks to all the partners and organisations, that have given their time and expertise to help shape our thinking.
Birmingham successfully bid for funding from the Department for Work and Pensions to undertake a pilot for Universal Credit, which will work with new housing tenants to take a digital by default approach. Each new tenant will be given a digital log book which will help them to understand their obligations as a tenant and to increase their financial, budgeting and employability skills in preparation for the introduction of universal credit next year. Tenants will be able to complete information and access payment and benefit information online and will be given support through the recently established housing letting suites. For more information email: email@example.com
Discover Partners meet in Greece!
The first 2-day partner meeting in Thessaloniki was a great success. Over 25 delegates from 9 countries debated and agreed how to develop online learning pathways for carers based on the main theme "using technology to communicate and help you care". Partners agreed on their communications strategy and will start to use the Miituu video capture technology on iPad/tablet to collect carers' stories and for research. More..
Next Generation 2012 and Science Capital
Given our leading strategic thinking on the establishing Birmingham as a smart connected city, Digital Birmingham presented Birmingham's approach on how it is shaping the smart city agenda at the annual NextGen 12 Conference alongside the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. We also presented our approach, sharing the podium with IBM and ARUP at a Science Capital event.
Smart City update
Digital Birmingham is now developing a consultation plan to get input into our Smart City strategy. It will also be used to review local needs and bounce ideas off stakeholders for the Future City Demonstrator bid. A series of events organised by the Council (Brummie Inquiries), Digital Birmingham and the business community will be used to engage with SMEs, citizens and third sector stakeholders.
Digital Home Log Books and Universal Credit
Local authority led pilot projects that will support people to claim Universal Credit have been named by Lord Freud, Minister for Welfare Reform. Twelve pilots, including one by Birmingham City Council, will run from autumn 2012 to explore how local expertise can support residents under Universal Credit, setting examples for other local authorities across the country. Through the Digital Birmingham team, the pilot will introduce a digital logbook of government services for residents and highlight those who need extra support with financial skills and digital literacy. The digital log book has also been used to record property information related to green deal, energy saving and warm homes.
Young Rewired State Festival 2012 - a Success!
For the first time ever Birmingham played host to the YRS Festival 2012 in August, which saw around 500 youngsters under the age of 18, some as young as 7, challenged to build digital products and prototypes using open data. The winning apps can be seen here and Digital Birmingham is working with other partners to build on the event's success for next year.
Birmingham's Smart City Commission is launched!
Chaired by Cllr McKay (Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City), the commission brought together industry experts and leading academics to help shape our thinking to address city challenges - an ageing population, rising deficits, a slow economy, increasing congestion, strained resources, which all necessitate the need for resilient, adaptive and integrated systems across areas such as energy, transport, health and employment to manage our resources more efficiently and deliver better services for our citizens. The Smart City Commission will be pivotal in establishing leadership and a roadmap to address ensure the city can deal with these future challenges encapsulating the opportunities of new and emerging technologies.
Council in Running for Smart City Funding
Digital Birmingham has submitted a successful bid to the Technology Strategy Board to create a Future Cities Feasibility Study, winning a £50,000 grant which will be used to develop a project that demonstrates the integration of several major city systems to deliver new services and gain better intelligence for future service improvements. The feasibility study will then be used to enter the bidding process for making the described project a reality. Birmingham will be one of 30 cities nationally bidding for the £24m Demonstrator project grant. The project needs to address major city challenges such as the economic situation and health & wellbeing.
Go ON Birmingham
Working with front line teams in housing and Adults & Communities, we have launched the 'Go ON Birmingham' campaign. The aim is to create 2,012 digital champions that will help friends, relatives and colleagues to get online and improve their digital skills. This supports the Government's national initiative with a commitment to strengthen digital capability and ensure citizens and businesses are fully connected and part of the digital economy, which is essential to our wider Smart Connected City ambition.
Birmingham secures Smart City broadband future
The council has been given the green light from Europe to invest £10million to bring ultrafast broadband to the city as part of its Smart City programme - leading to better connectivity, falling charges and faster internet speeds.
Businesses in Digbeth, Eastside and the Jewellery Quarter, at the heart of the city's new Enterprise Zone, will be the first to benefit from the announcement, the culmination of detailed negotiations co-ordinated by the council-led Digital Birmingham partnership. Read full press release here.
Digital training for carers of older people
Digital Birmingham kicked off a three-year European funded DISCOVER project this month. The project aims to develop digital skills training for carers of older people in cooperation with Birmingham Carers' Centre.
The project will work especially with informal carers (such as unpaid carers, family, and volunteers) to develop and test specially designed online training modules and Digital Birmingham will engage 100 carers in the Birmingham area to pilot the new learning materials.
Chancellor announces UBF funding
Businesses in Birmingham received a huge boost yesterday from the Chancellor in his Budget speech with the announcement that Birmingham will receive up to £10 million from the Urban Broadband fund.
The fund aims to create Super Connected Cities that will enable the innovative, learning and creative sectors of Digbeth, Eastside and the Jewellery Quarter - read the full press release here.
Francis Maude launches Open for Business in Birmingham
The Team welcomed RT Hon Francis Maude MP and his Transparency delegation to Birmingham where he launched the 'Open for Business' Paper including a live link-up of his speech to Digital London's inaugural event, which positioned Birmingham as a leader in open data and building it's digital infrastructure.
LEAF (Local Energy Assessment Fund)
Digital Birmingham in conjunction with Family Housing Association have successfully bid for £60,000 grant funding from Department of Environment and Climate Change to deliver a Local Energy Assessment Fund project. This will provide tenants with access to energy saving initiatives and home energy advice available through all digital channels, including digital TV. Using a digital logbook tenants will be able manage their energy consumption and financial budgeting helping to combat fuel poverty.
A ticket to a smart connected city
Our opening stakeholder event proved exceedingly popular with organisations keen to understand more about Birmingham's ambitions to be a smart connected city and how it plans to address some of the significant economic and environmental challenges facing cities across the globe. Please click here to view the conference report.
Digital Birmingham in conjunction with Coventry University are developing a proposal for submission to the European 7th Framework Programme Regions of Knowledge. DigiSmart - 'Smart Specialisation for Creative Digital Media regions' will seek to strengthen regional research and development in the high value added sector of Creative Digital Media in Europe, through enhancing the competitiveness of 4 regional based research driven clusters - UK, Ghent, Siegen & Malaga.
Stay Warm Stay Well
As part of Birmingham's Stay Warm Stay Well initiative funded by Department of Health Warm Homes and Healthy People Fund, we have been commissioned to provide information and tips on how to stay warm and save energy for vulnerable people using Birmingham's Looking Local Channel. This will ensure
that information is available to as many households as possible using a variety of digital channels e,g, TV, phone, smart phone, web, Nintendo wii, I-pads etc. It will also trial the use of an online property log book that will enable residents and landlords to better run and manage their home.
DISCOVER - Digital Skills for Carers
Digital Birmingham has secured £2M funding from European projects that include DISCOVER, which aims to develop the digital skills of both informal and formal carers and the Smart Spaces Programme, which will look at how energy savings can be made in real time from public buildings such as the Council House and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery as well as hints and tips on energy saving. Start date is planned for April 2012.
The Birmingham Looking Local TV microsite, has seen a huge growth this quarter, with most coming into the Jobcentre Plus pages (an increase of 80% since March), which shows the site is providing valuable support for job seekers. In this quarter the focus shifted onto the increasingly popular Looking Local 'Report It' app. The app is attracting the more digital savvy Smart Phone users, enabling citizens to quickly and easily take photos of, for example pot holes, faulty street lights and graffiti, geo tag the location and inform the City Council whilst out and about.
Living Labs Global Award 2012
Birmingham is one of 20 cities from across the globe participating in the Living Labs Global Award 2012. Digital Birmingham has set the challenge for international technology and service solution providers to come up with innovative solutions using emerging technologies to look at how the city can generate energy capturing the many waste food streams that exist across the city (such as from markets, hotels, schools, restaurants, canteen and domestic households) and therefore reduce the amount sent to landfill.
The city celebrated a successful 'Digital Week' in November that brought together partners across the city to showcase digital innovations, technologies and applications and in doing so facilitating greater cross sector collaboration and awareness of achieving success in a digital economy.
Birmingham Civic Dashboard
The Nesta funded Birmingham Civic Dashboard co-developed by Digital Birmingham and digital production company Mudlark went live in October and is the first UK project combining public data and civil engagement. Interest has been received by other authorities as well as attracting comments direct to the site. Usage will be monitored for future development www.civicdashboard.org.uk
Smart Cities Symposium, a success!
A Smart Cities Symposium in September has brought together strategic leads and key decision makers with international experts to stimulate exchange and discussion to progress Birmingham's Smart Connected City ambitions that will be key to accelerating Birmingham and the region's economic opportunities and growth. This is the start of a series of activities to deliver a long term vision and roadmap to enable a transformational step change in how we deliver services, do business and live our lives.
A report giving recommendations on the successful web conferencing trial, Webex, which raised awareness of how holding meetings online can help to reduce officer travel, costs and CO2 was agreed by Birmingham City Council (BCC) in August. The project will now move into the next phase where Service Birmingham and the Council's Intelligent Client Function team will identify a long term solution for a formal roll out. Successful adoption of this type of system could see a 10% reduction in travel related costs and CO2 emissions.
4th Generation (4G) Wireless Network
Birmingham is taking a leading position to accelerate the establishment of a 4G network across the City, complementing its suite of digital infrastructure projects.
Networking intelligent Cities for Energy Efficiency
The EUROCITIES NiCE FP7 proposal has been accepted and negotiations are now in progress. The project will directly support the delivery of the Green Digital Charter, of which Birmingham is a signatory. This will include development of a framework for reporting the ICT carbon footprint and including ICT related carbon reductions as part of the Covenant of Mayors and learning exchanges with other cities.
DISCOVER through to next round!
Our proposal for the EU CIP Call 5 which looked at "Digital Inclusion Skills for Carers bringing Opportunities, Value and Excellence" has passed the first evaluation and is one of two bids being looked at favourably for funding.
POW! Comic toolkit a continental winner
The innovative "Keeping IT in the Family" initiative was named as the winner of the European Award of Excellence "City for Children" during a ceremony in Stuttgart. Led by Digital Birmingham, it was created as a way of bridging the digital divide using a set of comic guides to help children teach their older family members about how to use the computer for everyday tasks.
Executive Management Team (EMT) away day
At the recent EMT away day, Council Members and Strategic Directors were given a unique insight into technology developments and demonstrations to see how these could impact on helping to meet their key priorities and outcomes. This involved a number of our board members - Amey, Cisco, Centro, Birmingham Science Park and associates Medilink and Sero Solutions and we are very appreciative of their time to make this interesting and relevant to the City's leaders.
The Open data policy, which sets a framework for decisions on publishing data online held by Birmingham City Council was agreed at last month's Corporate Management Team meeting. This policy will now be developed into a strategic action plan, which will enable a proactive coordinated approach to the publication of data sets and their use. We are already demonstrating the value of open data by creating new applications to support City outcomes such as the Birmingham Civic Dashboard.
Join the Stakeholder Group!
This is a collaborative networking forum of member organisations that will debate, advise and share information on city wide digital development to maximise synergy, impact and beneficial outcomes (further information can be found in the Terms of Reference). If you are Interested in becoming a member, please email firstname.lastname@example.org -The first event will be on 20 July 2011.
Digital Birmingham attended the launch and networking session of the European Competitiveness and Innovation ICT Policy Support Programme (CIP-ICT-PSP) in Brussels. We are currently leading on a €2M EU match funding bid focused on developing digital skills and competencies for carers as well as being a partner on the Digital Cities in Europe - Lifelong Learning Programme.
Digital Birmingham attended the launch and networking session of the European Competitiveness and Innovation ICT Policy Support Programme (CIP-ICT-PSP) in Brussels. We presented Birmingham as a great partner for projects and have received a couple of invitations to take part in project consortia. These are being evaluated against our programme priorities. If a good fit we will offer to be a partner. These projects receive 50% EC funding.
From 1st February, the Digital Birmingham Team transferred to the Development Directorate of the City Council.
Birmingham's 'Looking Local' service developed over four years ago by Digital Birmingham, and part of a nationwide initiative to make local authorities easier to access is now available by iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with the launch of a brand new free app. It is also available via interactive digital TV, PC, Wii, online and via standard web-enabled mobile phones.
Digital Birmingham's office was taken over by local hackers at the weekend when Birmingham joined with more than 1,000 software engineers and other tech workers who met in 21 locations around the world this past weekend to take part in a humanitarian effort called Random Hacks of Kindness. The two-day competition gave software developers a chance to "hack" or ply their skills to solve problems that arise during humanitarian crises using publicly available web-based data to design software solutions to aid in disaster and crisis situations.
Hosted by Birmingham City Council, the NextGen 10 conference in November, attracted over 300 delegates and 54 speakers. Focusing on the government's plans for superfast broadband and the new NGA projects in place, it also took an incumbant's view of NGA where the focus should not be just about the technology but also digital inclusion. For an overview of the event, take a look at Malcolm Corbett (CEO - INCA) video.
At the end of November we delivered the last of our four very successful Web 2.0 events. The final event delivered in partnership with the Chamber 'How to make money out of Social Media' - targeting SMEs, was a sell out event. Susan Hallam, Hallam Communications, the keynote speaker, placed a strong emphasis on the role of social media to businesses in improving their bottom line.
It's official - Birmingham has been recognised as one of the world's 21 top 'intelligent communities' by global thinktank, the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). Birmingham is the only UK city to be included & only one of four European cities to make the coveted top 21.
Birmingham's Hello Digital Week branded a success!
Attracting over 1000 delegates to Birmingham that included visitors from over 22 European cities, the week included live link ups to Edmonton, Seoul and Sydney as well as participants from the USA, Germany and Portugal through Hello Digital's Facebook page further extending the week's global reach. The week, which showcased the region's technological achievements against the best in the world, has been hailed a huge success and a reinforcement of Birmingham's place on the world's digital stage. The content from the live streaming activity for the Beyond 2010 conference has been archived and is available to view at: http://beyond2010live.com/archive.
The Birmingham Civic Dashboard proposal with local business Mudlark has been successful in attracting £30K of funding. It will give us the opportunity to explore the practical use of Linked Data within a local authority, revealing local concerns and issues being raised through our Customer Relationship Management database. It will also enable us to make use of this open data to look at how we improve services to residents and involve them in the discussions.
A new service has been launched via Birmingham's Interactive Digital Television (iDTV) site enabling Birmingham parents and carers to apply for their child's Secondary School place for September 2011 electronically in the comfort of their own home, even if they do not have access to broadband or online services, using their TV.
Warda Mohammed from Aston and Heather Hawkswood from Erdington were both given the opportunity to meet with the Prime Minister last week. Both were given access to a computer and internet connection through Digital Birmingham and Aston Pride related projects; Computers in the Home and the Windsor Tower Block.
As a single mother, Warda is able to support her family. She has secured work as an on-line interpreter where she assists and trains other Birmingham women to find work; Heather, successfully found employment and has been able to keep in touch and make new friends through the use of social networking.
Both Warda and Heather were invited to join a delegation visiting 10 Downing Street with UK Digital Champion Martha Lane Fox to launch her 'Manifesto for a Networked Nation'.
The 'Keeping IT in the Family' extended project has been selected as a finalist for the National e-Well Being Awards under the Race Online 2012 category.
Tenants of a Windsor Tower block in Erdington have been provided with free broadband and a recycled PC for a period of 9 months to see if it would increase their quality of life. Several tenants have found jobs as a direct result of having broadband, and those who have children have reported the value when using the connection for homework. One of the tenants has been chosen by Martha Lane Fox to become a representative on her National Digital Inclusion Advisor's Task Force.
Why not take a look back at Digital Birmingham's highlights of 2009? Watch our video here.
Digital Birmingham's website, designed by Birmingham based web agency IE Design, has won a Silver Award in the W3 awards judged by the International Academy of Visual Arts.
Our chair, Cllr Paul Tilsley, has signed the Green Digital Charter this month, strengthening the local authority's commitment to tackling climate change, outlining how information and communication technologies (ICT) can be a part of the global warming solution.
Digital Birmingham, along with the Hello Digital Partnership and Birmingham City Council, AWM and the Arts Council, delivered the Hello Digital Business Conference 2009. To look back at the event, please visit www.hellodigital.net.
Digital Birmingham together with AWM, Digital Media COG and Projects in Motion ran a successful workshop bringing together potential local television broadcasters, operators and television channel creators and news gathering agencies to debate the opportunities on potential collaborations for local television in the West Midlands
Funding of £70,000 approved for a 'Digital Business Champion' through the Stimulating Demand package (BEDP).
Keeping IT in the Family was voted runner-up for the Best Development Project Award by Nominet Best Practice Challenge.
Hosted the successful regional launch of the Digital Britain report, attended by Lord Carter, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting.
Influenced the creation of 2 new award categories sponsored by BCC - "Digital Innovation Award" and "Online Campaign - People's Choice Award" - to be held in June.
Birmingham City Council adopting ePetitions system, supported by Digital Birmingham.
The Digital City Network in Birmingham has gained £50,000 through the Growth Funding pot from Department for Communities and Local Government. A study will be commissioned to evaluate options/pilot for the deployment of fibre optic connectivity into areas of regeneration in the city. The project will be completed by September 2009.
Digital Birmingham has been successful in a bid to Central Government to develop a community of practice in the production of new digital resources for empowering citizens. £55,000 has been secured for the 2 year project.
The 'Virtual Rucksack', an online resource for homeless people across Birmingham, was officially launched on 23rd February by the Lord Mayor - the initial concept was developed by St Basil's (a local homeless charity) and Digital Birmingham. You are invited to join the trial of the Virtual Rucksack for a limited period using the trial code: 'tryurvr2009' from here.
Digital Birmingham is the winner of the "Building a Fairer Society through ICT and eGovernment Services" category at the National eGovernment Awards 2008, for the Aston Pride Computers in the Home Project.
Monthly "Go Digital newsletter" launched, covering the Digital City brand. To subscribe, follow this link.
BCC Children's, Young People's & Families Directorate have achieved an additional £710,000 funding for providing technology into childrens' homes; Digital Birmingham contributed to the bid submission.
Digital Birmingham chosen as a finalist in the "Fairer Society through eGov and ICT" category of the National eGovernment Awards (winners announced 20/01/09).
Birmingham chosen as Living Lab area and now part of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL).
Birmingham Shift Happens video produced by Digital Birmingham launched and shown throughout Hello Digital Festival.
Virtual Birmingham - b-scape and Birmingham Island launched at the Hello Digital Festival to over 100 strong audience.
Democracy Week (13-19 October) - Councillor information available on IDTV, a virtual tour through the Council House is available online and the Council Chamber has been created in Second Life.
Digital Family chosen - the Locke Family. Now part of the year long campaign, using BT products to improve their digital expertise.
Birmingham bulletin project handed over to BCC Corporate Communications.
Proposals for the virtual Library of Birmingham prepared for the Head of Libraries.
17,000 computers are being rolled out to school children as part of the Birmingham 'Computers for Pupils', Universal Home Access project.
Virtual Birmingham's Briefing Hub has been implemented on Second Life.
Launch of "Get into Digital" month - during June there were activities taking place across the city and online, e.g. tour of the i-house in West Bromwich, tour of Digital Centre at Matthew Boulton College, community blogging workshops, free Virtual Gym membership, a Day in the Life of the Lord Mayor (online web cast), and a number of competitions.
The European Framework 7 (FP7) environmental project regarding smart metering, known as DEHEMS has been approved. Digital Birmingham is one of 15 partners on the project.
May - June 2008
Digital Birmingham has a stand at the highly successful Climate Change Festival in Centenary Square, promoting the use of digital technologies to the general public. We worked in conjunction with Secure IT Disposals Ltd to highlight the recycling computers initiative.
St Basil's won Microsoft Design IT prize for the Digital Birmingham Virtual Home concept.
Aston Pride 'Computers in the Home' project is shortlisted as a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge Trophy. The Stockholm Challenge is an ICT for development programme at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). It culminates in the Challenge Week Event May 19-22.
The Science city project 'LUCID' has received approval for funding by Advantage West Midlands. Digital Birmingham in partnership with Birmingham City Uinversity will be delivering improved functionality to birminghamfiz around location and context specific information.
Presentation of Digital Device Winner. Launch of the Digital Centre at Mathew Boulton College.
Digital Birmingham approved by the Birmingham City Council cabinet as a significant partnership. For more information click here. The Digiwali event at the Millennium Point attracted over 13,000 people.
3000 free CDs with Open Source software given out through Birmingham Libraries following a launch event on 3 October.
The 'Don't bin it donate it' campaign to recycle old computer equipment attracted 220 pieces of kit and received excellent feedback from the public. More events have been requested.
The free information zone, birminghamfiz, launched as part of the city's wireless launch, is available to view free of charge through Birmingham's wi-fi connection.
The 'Boogle snapshot' web-tool for entrepreneurs becomes available on the Digital Birmingham website.
FP7 bid regarding health and independent living for the elderly has reached the 2nd round of approvals.
Voice of the Community, a free website builder for community groups
launched and attracts 199 registrations in the first 4 weeks.
Our online toolkit of resources and advice for entrepreneurs on how to set up a business - Business out of the Box is launched.
Vox Pop studio up and running.
Birmingham Bulletin email subscription service launched to over 120,000 subscribers.
Spotlight on Aston showcase event (ICT in Practice Transforming Learning) attended by senior officials from government, education, community services, health and associated organisations.
Aston Pride Computers for Pupils roll-out to over 400 homes.
The nine finalists of the government's Digital Challenge competition jointly receive £2m in funding to work together and progress part of their bids.
Our seven point Digital Charter agreed by the Digital Birmingham executive board and Birmingham City Council.
Digital Birmingham celebrates its 1st birthday with interactive showcase event in Victoria Square to promote the benefits of digital technologies.
Digital Curve launched.
Smart surfers' educational resource launched at our public showcase.
Digital Challenge bid submitted.
Official launch of The National Open Centre in partnership with Open Advantage.
DBemail, the free email account launched and promoted through out Birmingham city centre libraries.