Archive for the ‘Digital Birmingham’ Category

Open Data Best Practices – Call for papers 16/04/2014

Digital Birmingham is a partner in the European Share-PSI 2.0 network, which is looking at innovation in Public Sector Information (PSI) sharing. The aim of the network is to increase the publication of public open data and exchange best practice of governments and cities across Europe. The network has recently launched a call for papers, looking to receive case studies and best practice examples. A paper can also be linked to a presentation at the event held in Samos, Greece 30th June and 1st July.

If you have a case study you wish to share go to:

Technologies for Care event 25/03/2014

Last Tuesday (18/3),  Digital Birmingham together with its UK Discover partners – Bham City University, Dundalk Institute of Technology , Health, Design & Technology Institute (HDTI) and The Open University held an event to spark dialogue about digital and ict related training for formal and informal carers, how new technologies and the use of technology can support them in their lives as a carer as well as those they care for.

There was a great mix of people in the audience, from carers (formal and non formal) to carer support agencies to health and care providers to skills agencies to Universities to training providers which encouraged an dialogue about the imorertance of it skills in this day and age.

With Bob Gann, from NHS England chairing, the event kicked off with its first presentation from Verina Waights (Discover PartnerOpen University) who spoke about the Discover EU project  ( and the benefits of digital skills to carers.

Madeleine Starr MBE of Carers UK then went on to speak about the key roles of technology in a caring environment bringing to light that even tech savvy people are not aware of how technology can support them as well as those that they care for. She also emphasised that statutory and private services need to adopt technoloigies and change skills of whole workforce to promote tech. View Madeleine’s presentation here

Matthew Kemp of Midland Heart went through a care plan for an older person outlining all possible interactions between family, friends, care authorites, NHS etc by way of a cleverly designed ‘web of care (or despair)’. He then went on to explain the 10 recommendations from the User and market analysis report: Planning and co-ordination of informal and formal care for older people (this will be made availaible shortly – currently pending final checks and signoff). View Matthew’s presentation here

Nigel Wynne of Birmingham City University (Discover Partner) spoke the importance of embedding digi skills and technology in care  followed by a showcase of the Discover e-learning  platform (email if you’d like to trial this for yourself or for carers in your organisation). 

Robin Vickers of Digital Life Sciences went on to speak about about exisitng technology enabled care tools (DALLAS programme) and what the future of digital healthcare will look like with the emphasis of the user at the heart of their health/caring journey.

Kevin Campbell-Wright of NIACE gave a presentation about technology and learning, spoke highly of digial champions in organisations and out there in the community to act as mentors to support learners. He also spoke about reluctance to want to use the internet for security (identity theft, online fraud etc) reasons however with the Digital by Default agenda, communities will have no choice but to do things online. View Kevin’s presentation here

Dame Philippa Russell DBE talked about improving lives of carers and the cared for through the use of  telehealth, and smart homes and about the importance of independence and well-being outlined by Norman Lamb MP and then followed on by explaining the challenges she sees; that 2/3 of carers unaware of benefits of assistive technologies; loss of community libraries, where will people go to use a computer and the interne; Digital by Default agenda and that many areas in the UK still do not have decent broadband connections. View Philippa’s presentation here

If you would like more information about the Discover digital skills for carers project, please email

The Roadmap to a Smarter Birmingham 11/03/2014

Birmingham Smart City Roadmap

Cllr James McKay Cabinet Member for Green, Safe & SMART City and Chair of the Birmingham Smart City Commission talks to the Innovation Daily about the Smart City Roadmap.

The Roadmap has been developed by the Birmingham Smart City Commission and supported by Digital Birmingham and outlines challenges and sets out a framework for key parties to join up and address these challenges.

Remember you too can have your say and get involved by emailing or visiting

Watch the video here 

Discover UK Forum – Tuesday 18 March 2014 11/03/2014

Join us at the DISCOVER UK Forum, a ½ day event to spark discussion and action on issues around ICT related skills and training for carers and will look at the increasing significance and opportunities of digital technologies to support carers in their caring role, as well as the longer term health & wellbeing benefits highlighted through specific initiatives.

The event will bring together strategic leaders and experts from carer associations, health and care providers, training providers, commissioners, skills agencies through to academia, third sector and policy makers, and provide them with ‘big picture’ scenarios and an opportunity to shape how we embed these skills and technologies in caring to make it relevant and purposeful to meet the needs of carers and increase skills and competencies in this area. By attending delegates will be part of a national and European wide network that is addressing digital inclusion of carers and seeking to influence change at the highest level.

For the full programme and to register for your place, please visit

Birmingham Smart City Roadmap launches 03/03/2014

The Mailbox, Birmingham

The Mailbox, Birmingham

Today we launched the Birmingham Smart City Roadmap , which sets out over 35 actions that aim to influence the city’s approach to creating a sustainable and better future for its citizens by responding to challenges such as unemployment, the skills gap, health inequalities, effective mobility and carbon reduction targets.

The Roadmap has been developed by the Birmingham Smart City Commission, a body created by the city council which includes leading figures from the business, academic and public sectors, supported by Digital Birmingham.

It represents a collective ambition by city stakeholders to deliver real change by developing intelligent and integrated services through the use of digital technologies, data and open collaboration, driven by the citizens and communities that are core to the city’s future growth.

The three intrinsically linked themes of Technology & Place, People and Economy underpin the roadmap’s 39 proposed actions, to be delivered over the next three years, identifying funding through European, national and regional programmes.

We invite people to be part of our smart city journey and the Roadmap provides the means get involved.  Please tell us what you think – the online version of the roadmap provides space to comment on all of the 39 actions covering digital infrastructure, connectivity, digital inclusion, data, mobility, skills, health and energy, as well as a simple online form to tell us what you are doing; alternatively you can email: if you want more information or would like to get involved in anyway.

Smart Cities talking heads 20/11/2013

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has recently published a research paper ‘Smart Cities: background paper’, which looks at what smart cities mean and the opportunities that they present for UK economic growth. More specifically, though BIS also took the opportunity to do a talking heads session with some of Birmingham’s strategic leaders and this provides an opportunity to hear more about what Birmingham is doing to integrate a smart approach across its services. You can find out what they said here.

Potential freeview disruption in Birmingham 29/10/2013

blog pictureNo doubt many of you will have noticed that 4G has landed in the UK, with billboards, TV screens and shop windows all heralding its arrival. The reason why this is exciting news is that 4G enables mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs to access the Internet at super-fast speeds. Importantly, this speed is expected to bring innovations in business, entertainment, education and public services – helping the UK stay competitive in an increasingly digital world.

 These new 4G services have very recently launched in Birmingham and what you might not realise is that some of them operate at 800 MHz on the radio spectrum; this is next to the frequencies used by Freeview TV. This has the potential to cause a problem as TVs and set top boxes that receive Freeview can sometimes fail to block the 4G signals; meaning a small number of viewers could see some disruption to their Freeview services. This might be a loss of sound, blocky images or loss of some or all channels.

 The good news is there’s help available. at800 was set up and funded by the leading UK mobile operators to fix the issue. Its role is to make sure that viewers can still watch Freeview, or are offered a suitable alternative, as 4G at 800 MHz services go live.  So although the majority of viewers in Birmingham shouldn’t be affected, if they do experience new disruption to their Freeview services, they should contact at800 on:

 0333 31 31 800 or 0808 13 13 800

or via

Calls are charged on a national local call rate, typically included in inclusive minutes, otherwise calls from landlines are charged between 2p and 10p per minute; calls from mobiles between 10p and 40p per minute.

 In most cases, the problem will be fixed with an at800 filter that is easy to plug-in and is available free of charge. It will normally plug into the lead between the TV and the aerial. For blocks of flats with shared aerials, at800 supplies specially designed communal filters. at800 also provides help to fit the filter for eligible viewers.

Digital Leaders 50 – place your vote for Digital Birmingham’s Annette King 09/10/2013


I was really pleased last week when a colleague pointed out that I’d made the top 10 digital leaders in the local government category – particularly as I didn’t even know I’d been nominated!

The Digital Leaders 50, in association with Digital by Default News, recognises leaders and organisations who demonstrate a pioneering and sustainable approach to digital transformation.

Apparently the winners will have shown leadership and innovation in harnessing digital technology and the internet as providers of information, key services and social interaction.

The awards acknowledge an increasing number of committed change makers across government, elected officials, industry and non-profits who are using digital in government.

I am one of the few women to be nominated in the public sector category which shows how few women are into digital so I am very honoured to have got this far. So let’s see if Birmingham and girl power can win. I’m not sure who nominated me, but thanks anyway to whoever did that.

You can see the full shortlist here – and I’d be very grateful if you could lend your support by voting for me in the local government category – place your vote here by Monday 21st October (extended deadline)!

Annette King Digital Bham

Signed, sealed and delivered with a Tweet 02/09/2013

Signed, sealed and delivered with a Tweet

Non-Tweeters in Birmingham can get your message via the at800 postbox


UK’s first postbox for Tweets

UK’s first postbox for Tweets


Last week saw the launch of 4G services from 02 and Vodafone. 4G enables mobile devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablet PCs to access the internet at super-fast speeds and is expected to bring innovations in business, entertainment, education and public services. However, 4G mobile services at 800 MHz and digital TV operate in adjacent parts of the radio spectrum, which may mean that some viewers will experience some form of interference to their Freeview as the 4G services go live.

In order to raise awareness of the potential disruption to Freeview services, at800, the organisation responsible for ensuring viewers can still watch Freeview when new mobile signals go live, has launched the UK’s first postbox for Tweets. People can Tweet a family member or friend using the hashtag #at800postbox.  at800 will print the personalised message onto a traditional postcard and deliver it by post – completely free of charge. The Postbox for Tweets is a light-hearted way to remind people where new 4G mobile services at 800 MHz are being activated and to highlight at800’s role in resolving any Freeview disruption this could cause. Birmingham is one of the cities where Tweets will be sent as it is listed as an area where 4G at 800 MHz will soon be activated.


To launch the campaign at800 took a giant postbox around the UK, and placed it in front of a number iconic landmarks – in Birmingham, it could be found outside the Bull Ring where passing shoppers could find out more about how to Tweet those not on Twitter.


How at800’s postbox for Tweets works:

  1. Check to see if the person you want to Tweet is in an eligible area here.
  2. Tweet the message you’d like to send and include the hashtag #at800postbox.
  3. Follow @at800tv so we can have a direct message (DM) conversation to privately get the recipient’s postal address.
  4. Confirm you agree to the terms and conditions.
  5. We will then print your message onto a special postcard and mail it – completely free of charge – to your friend or family member.

For more information, and how to get involved, visit


If viewers in affected areas do experience any new issues with Freeview, they should contact at800 on: 0333 31 31 800 or via www.at800tv


<div><strong>Can digital technologies help reduce energy usage in public buildings?</strong></div> <div> 13/08/2013

That’s the question the SmartSpaces project is asking.

Logo for the SmartSpaces EU project

SmartSpaces logo

We’ll blog about the project more as it goes along, but at the moment we’d like to encourage people to complete a brief survey that will help us to establish some baseline data.

So if you ever visit Birmingham Council House, the Museum and Art Gallery or the Margaret Street extension. It genuinely, honestly only takes 10 minutes to complete and will help us to assess the impact of the project.


SmartSpaces is a three year, EU funded project that aims to use digital technologies, including smart metering, to make significant energy saving in public buildings. Previously, Digital Birmingham were part of the, which attempted to do similar work in people’s  homes. It’ll be interesting to see how SmartSpaces compares to that. In particular how much more or less people feel they are able to control their energy usage.


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

eGovernment National Awards - Winner 2008