Big Data Corridor Project: new support programme for local SMEs has been launched

Following successful bid for funding from European Structural and Investment Funds, The Big Data Corridor: The New Business Economy Project was launched in Birmingham in November 2016. The £2.453 m project is funded by the European Union under the European Regional Development Fund (Project no. 12R16P00220) and match-funded by seven Project partners - Birmingham City Council, Aston University, Birmingham City University, EnableID, Innovation Birmingham, Telensa and West Midlands Combined Authority.

Project Partners will work together to help businesses in Birmingham and Solihull area to understand the benefits and ways of using data from Internet of Things and Data Economy environment for development of new products and services. The core of the project will constitute the development of a data rich environment – data analysis and visualisation platform. The platform will combine open data from various sources - transport, energy, healthcare and other sectors - with data from new ‘disruptive technology’ implementations, such as photonics (smart lighting; optical fibre sensing) or weather adaptive street lights.

The project has a specific focus on challenges of East Birmingham area - health, wellbeing and mobility. Among the project objectives is the development of six smart demonstrator activities for the area. The Project will run for 3 years, until the autumn of 2019. Overall it aims to provide funding and assistance to 125 local businesses and is estimated to create 56 new jobs.

SMEs looking to develop new products based on use of such data will be provided with the suite of support services to help accelerate early product development: access to the data platform and incubator space, technical expertise and advice, training to develop new knowledge and skills and business support. As a result of SMEs involvement in the project they will be able to compete with the best nationally and internationally through access to new data streams and new technologies.

“With Birmingham being one of the largest and fastest developing regional urban areas in Europe, it has attracted significant infrastructure investment over the course of the last decade and is now benefiting from a number of digital projects, such as Smart Cities, HS2 Digital Futures and Smart City Demonstrator in the Eastern Corridor. These projects have been a real success for the city. Big Data Corridor project will give an opportunity to tap into vast amount of Big Data the city generates, develop new products and create new jobs”, says Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness and Equality.

Funding applications for the Project will become available in Spring 2017.

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