A smart foundation for building a future Birmingham

Yesterday we published the vision statement of Birmingham’s Smart City Commission. This sets out the huge ambition for Birmingham that will shape the technological solutions and partnerships to de

al with the cities immediate and future challenges.

The context for these challenges, are not dissimilar to other cities – we need to move to a low carbon economy and adapt to climate change; as
more and more people live in cities and population increases, we need to get better at managing our resources such as energy and housing; the financial situation has compounded many of the inequalities of the city; some of the areas of the city are extremely deprived; wages are lower, more people are unemployed, and the health outcome of residents are poorer in these places.

Technological change brings big opportunities to offer new exciting solutions for new services provision – that supports better integration across service providers to enable a shared and connected approach, stimulates innovation by SMEs and responds to and informs changes in consumer choice and behaviour – all leading to a better quality of life and more jobs.

We have a real opportunity to constructs a coherent and viable future for our city and position ourselves to maximise the opportunities that it brings. We don’t underestimate the challenge this presents, but believe that with the right collaboration and working closely with our partners that we can do this together.

There are seven key priority areas of our roadmap to becoming a Smart City. These look at how we make better use of the city’s data to improve lives; support new business models and innovation for SMEs and entrepreneurs; enable a more joined up approach across sectors such as transport, energy and health and support and empower our business and citizens to help shape and jointly design services.

  • Leadership/ownership: The Smart City roadmap must strategically be led at the highest level, but also fully embrace communities, businesses and citizens at a grass roots level to help shape and jointly-design services.
  • Exploiting technologies:Birmingham needs to develop ultra-fast digital connectivity, to attract inward investment. A Smart Development Blueprint will shape this plan.
  • Service transformation: Working together, sharing all available data

    to modernise services so issues are anticipated and prevented rather than reacted to and fixed. This will deliver more personalised and targeted services for citizens.

  • New information marketplaces:Promoting an ‘Open Data’ agenda for the council and others in recognition of the fact that maximising the use of high-quality information can help improve services and develop new opportunities for entrepreneurs.
  • Supporting innovation: Reviewing public procurement practices to encourage new ideas, along with the creation of an innovative development fund.
  • Closing the digital divide: Affordable connectivity and improving existing skills are vital to capitalise on the opportunities the Smart City agenda offers.
  • Profiling and influencing: Developing ways in which the city’s many organisations can work together to champion Birmingham as a Smart City in the areas of enterprise and social collaboration to make the city an attractive location to invest in

Please take a look at the Vision statement – an online version of the Smart City Vision Statement is available here.

We are keen to have your views on this, particularly to have your involvement in helping to shape the more detailed roadmap and action plan that will follow on from this. The aim is to have this completed by summer 2013 and we will be working with business, third sector and communities to shape what this looks like. Any thoughts or for more information email us at:smartcity@birmingham.gov.uk

Finally, we would like to thank the Smart Commission members, that have given their time to help shape and define what this vision looks like and the momentum this presents to build our future Birmingham together.

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