What on earth are those UK Catapults? Stop wondering and read the new report of the Catapult Centres by our sponsor organisation InnovateUK. In case you are too lazy to read it all, the Future Cities Catapult cases are on pages 15 – 16 (Smart Belfast), and 28 (Connected Roadworks).
In Belfast, we worked with the City Council to recognise critical challenges. Chief amongst these was the need to maximise revenue from business rates, which accounts for half the Council’s annual income. The assumption was that companies were operating in the city without declaring themselves to be businesses. This was due to a variety of reasons; some businesses were classified incorrectly, others registered as residential properties and more generally, the Council’s data sources were not up-to-date. Following an open call issued by Belfast City Council, prototype digital tools were produced which used information such as energy consumption to pinpoint potential business rates avoiders.
The success of the experiment was evident from the get go. With an investment of £150,000, the Council was able to uncover potential new revenue of £350,000 per year in just the initial pilot phase.
In Straffordshire, we supported Amey to develop an interactive portal to host data from a wide range of utilities, contractors and developers in the area, enabling better coordination of roadworks. The benefits were both impressive and tangible: ten proposed works by different contractors were combined into one, requiring just a single road closure. This meant the roads could be kept open for an additional 25 weeks and saved the contractors c. £184,000 in terms of reduced materials and management costs.
To follow the trend of the week and quote David Bowie, it’s time for Ch-ch-ch-changes. After a great decade in Forum Virium Helsinki, I have decided to take the next step. I have been appointed as the new CITO of the Future Cities Catapult. I will be moving to London in March, and start in my new position in the beginning of April.
There will be two new C-level people in the Future Cities Catapult. Dr Andrew Robinson joins as Chief Operating Officer (COO). He was previously Managing Director of Siemens Building Technologies and a member of the Siemens plc Executive team. Andrew has run major international business divisions through growth and change, led product innovation and complex technology projects across the built environment in construction, rail, highways, logistics and aviation in the UK, Europe, Middle East, the Americas and Asia.
Exciting times ahead.
Cities of Antwerpen, Copenhagen and Helsinki will open an innovation challenge for the European companies: how can the cities reinvent themselves as linked and large-scale Internet of Everything labs, which are open, standardized, data-driven, service-oriented and user-centric, and provide an easy access to developers and innovators to pilot, test and validate their solutions?
The project is called Select for Cities.
The challenge competition of 5,6 M€ which will be divided into 3 stages, between December 2015 and November 2018. It will be organised by using the Pre-commercial procurement (PCP) method.
The consortium is built around three renowned Smart Cities: Antwerp, Copenhagen, Helsinki, and comprises a balanced combination of six multidisciplinary partners across four European countries: Belgium, Denmark, Finland and the UK. These are Forum Virium Helsinki (the project coordinator), Digipolis, iMinds, Københavns Kommune, Stad Antwerpen, and 21C Consultancy Limited (partners in alphabetical order).
Stay tuned for the information sessions and market consultations starting soon across Europe. The first open call for the challenge will kick off early next autumn.