Posts Tagged ‘Digital Birmingham’

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:

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.

Innovation Network – £10k grants to support West Midlands SMEs 01/08/2013

Innovation Networks is a business support project, funded by ERDF that provides grants of £10k to West Midlands based SMEs to support the R&D of innovative products and services. The only sector restrictions are theusual ERDF sectors including retail and flood defences!  They have supported a number of digital and creative businesses including the development of web portals, multi platform apps, encryption and security software etc.

They are currently working with a number of Birmingham based businesses but would like to support more.

To find out more about how you can access revenue grants of £10,000  to cover product development costs such as parts and materials, prototype development, testing and I.P protection contact


Birmingham’s free wifi scheme with Virgin launches 23/07/2013

Posted by Richard Williams, Digital Districts Programme Manager

Exciting news with the announcement that Birmingham City Council and Virgin Media Business are set to launch free public Wi-Fi across key parts of the city centre.

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media & Cllr. James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe & Smart City marks the the launch of the partnership between the two organisations to improve 3G and 4G coverage in the city (Photo courtesy BCC Newsroon)

Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media & Cllr. James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe & Smart City marks  the launch of the partnership between the two organisations to improve 3G and 4G coverage in the city (Photo courtesy BCC Newsroom)

After lengthy and detailed negotiations, Birmingham’s wireless concession has been awarded to Virgin Media Business and forms part of a plan by the Council to boost connectivity across the area, stimulating growth and tackling digital inclusion for over a million citizens.

The easy to use Wi-Fi service will roll out for citizens and visitors to Birmingham from September and will be completely free of charge. There will be no usage limits so people can use the service for as long as they need to and will support high bandwidth services like video streaming or online gaming. Some of the initial areas to benefit from this high performance WiFi service include: Victoria Square, New Street, Moor Street, High Street, St Philip’s Cathedral and the plaza in front of the new Library of Birmingham

Whilst the Wi-Fi network is what people will initially notice, the concession will also allow Virgin Media Business to offer their ground-breaking hosting service to Mobile Operators so that they will be able to use small cells in order to supercharge their wireless networks. Small cells are miniature base stations that allow Mobile Operators to precisely target where additional coverage and capacity is required.. By combining access to the City’s street columns with Virgin Media Business extensive fibre network, Birmingham will be ready to lead the race in the rollout of the latest wireless technologies.

For more information visit newsroom or email:


Designing Smart Streets – Call for innovative SMEs 12/06/2013

Digital Birmingham is leading the Smart Cities agenda on behalf of Birmingham City Council. It is working with many of its strategic partners to ensure that we can maximise the city assets and resources and accelerate the release of data so that it can be used by businesses to create new applications, products and solutions to help the city achieve its strategic outcomes.   The potential benefits of Public Service Information have been estimated by Deloitte at £1.8bn of direct value with wider social and economic benefits raising it to £6.8bn.  The release of real time information by Transport for London has enabled new apps to be developed, promoting public usage and generating business opportunities.

The InfoLab21 event on 25 June at Lancaster University provides a great opportunity for businesses and organisations who work in app development or who have an interest in open Data to develop creative solutions for highways / street maintenance challenges and work on a competition entry for part of a £60K prize fund. The project is a TSB funded collaboration with Carillion, Balfour Beatty, Amey, InTouch, Lancaster and Birmingham Universities and we are looking to connect innovative SMEs with industry leaders. To register your interest click here

To download poster: DesigningSmartStreetsPoster

Free training sessions to boost businesses online presence 08/05/2013

Virgin Media is working with training provider Freeformers and Innovation Birmingham to offer small businesses in Birmingham the opportunity to participate in a series of online training workshops to learn how to build a live web page, release a viral social video, develop a web app and new social online marketing techniques. The workshops will take place on three days across three consecutive weeks in June 2013 at Birmingham Science Park, Aston.

You should consider applying for this free training programme if you are:

 - A small or medium-sized business based in Birmingham

- Are able to commit to attending three sessions, either on the 12th, 19th and 26th of June, or on the 13th, 20th and 26th June 2013 at Birmingham Science Park, Aston

- Agree to provide feedback on your experience that can be used in case study material for other small business to benefit from

- Have an idea of how you will use digital training to improve your marketing or business model.

 If Cialis canadian pharmacy you are interested in applying, please contact us by 17th May, or get in touch with Virgin Media directly at or on 0207 909 3287.

#nextgenskills 25/04/2013

Amerah_Saleh at Next Gen Skills DebateThe Next Gen Skills Debate – Birmingham Re-Worked on Monday was organised in association with Birmingham’s Commission on Youth Unemployment and Birmingham’s Smart City Commission, to take a transformative look at how we invest in skills & enterprise as part of a digital economy and create a brighter future for the young people of this city.

The Next Gen Skills Debate took place at Millennium Point in front of a packed house, energised by the support of Sampad and BOA students, who were our ‘Next Gen’ reporters’ for the day  – a reminder that young people need to be at the heart of the debate and shaping the next generation of learning – their future now. More – #nextgenskills

Steps to making our data open and accessible 08/02/2013

The Council is moving on with its project to make council data available as open data. Our aim is to make

as much open data available for free. However,  there is some policy work, which includes sorting out IPR issues and which licensing to use.

However, work is going on at the same time to abstract operations data which is not currently published. This is being used to test ways of publishing data in formats which will encourage re-use, such as XML, JSON and RDF.

The current Open Data web page on will be replaced with a platform to provide a repository for open data as well as additional information and services, such as metadata. If you want to find out more about this project or get involved please contact


YRS is jaw dropping success 14/08/2012

Back in June, we were approached to see how we could support the YRS Festival 2012, after it had outgrown its previous location in Bletchley and bring it to Birmingham. Through the hard work of many people, particularly Lara Ratnaraja and Big Cat, the Custard Factory and Birmingham, became home to the YRS Festival for the very first time.

Cllr McKay, Cabinet Member for Green, Safe and Smart City at the Show and Tell

This was a great coup for Birmingham; not only do we have the youngest population out of all the cities in Europe (so capturing the talent and ingenuity of young people resonates really well with us), but also the Open Data agenda is right at the heart of our Smart City programme. Ensuring data is open and accessible and easier to use will enable huge possibilities in the development of new apps, services and innovative products as part of this.

YRS 2012 proved just that. With access to open data and a week of intensive coding by youngsters (nigh on 500, some as young as 7!), at different centres across the country – we had a centre in Birmingham, courtesy of BCU (Millennium Point), something amazing took place. The culmination of all the hard work and late nights, ended with a massive sleepover session at the Custard Factory on Friday night  (fuelled by some 200 pizza’s) and show and tell on Saturday.

Their creations, along with the presentations were awe inspiring – postcode wars app; a way to go were some of the winners -100 projects from 38 centres; but for me it does drive home the need for us to get our data out there, and let nature do the rest.

Our thanks to Emma and her team for a brilliant event.  YRS is living proof of what is possible, highlights the significance of supporting young people to develop the skills needed for the jobs of the future and provides a great concept that we would like to explore and develop further in Birmingham.

Discover Digital Skills for Carers Launched! 12/07/2012

Discover – Digital Skills for carers was launched at a Carers Celebration which took place on the 21st June 2012 at the New Bingley Hall in Birmingham, England. The event was put together by the Birmingham Carers Centre in recognition of the positive difference all carers, both formal and informal in Birmingham, make to those that they care for and in the long run, the communities that they live in. It was great to see so many carers, of varying ages, nationalities and backgrounds joining hands to celebrate all that they do well!

Digital Birmingham were proud to launch Discover, on behalf of all Partners, at this event. We spoke to an array of people who were keen to learn more about the project and what incentives and qualifications it may be able to offer them and how this could better their lives in the long run. The key thing that both Annette and I observed was that a majority of carers were keen to have some sort of involvement in future trials, however dependent on what their personal situations were like at the time.

Overall a successful launch – A big thumbs up to Tina Donovan, Manager of Birmingham Carers Centre and all of her Partners in arranging a hugely successful event to mark the end of the UK’s National Carers week. If you would like to sign up for updates on the project, please go to for more information.

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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