Digital Catapult Centre Brighton – One Year In

It’s one year since we launched Digital Catapult Centre Brighton, so I wanted to take this opportunity to look back at what’s happened over the past 12 months.

The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton offered a platform on which we could deliver large scale, impactful projects that explored the Centre’s main theme of The Internet of Place. Given the scope and scale of the opportunity this presented we made a strategic decision to work with our cluster from the early stages so that, together, we could explore this theme and begin to develop projects from which our cluster would get real value.

To ensure that this programme aligned with the needs of our members and community we invited them to participate in the early stages of the planning and strategy of our Catapult Centre. This co-creation process gave insight which set the foundations of the areas we first explored. By working with our community in this way to identify the areas explored we aimed to develop projects which had a proven need and an opportunity for real impact, results and value. This spirit of collaboration acts as the backbone of the Catapult and 12 months later we have the foundations of some interesting projects which will deliver value to our cluster and the wider digital economy.

So, 1 year into that journey this is where we are.

Stakeholders

By bringing together a mix of stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds we believe we can get the best results. The formula behind the Catapult is to bring together large corporates, universities and companies. We have found that the expertise and the diverse range of skills these three groups provides a unique set of insights and results. So far we have engaged 5 universities, 2 large corporates (American Express, Gatwick Airport) and almost 300 companies.

Community

We have built a community of residents from a range of backgrounds with a mix of skills and expertise ranging from big data, virtual reality arts and beacon technology. In addition to using our collaborative workspace to develop their new products, services and businesses, residents also get access to Digital Catapult expertise (from our centre and also from the London and other regional centres), exposure through our events and marketing, and exclusive engagement activities such as facilitated idea exchanges and shared lunches on a Tuesday where we watch Ted Talks and then discuss these over lunch. Our residents tell us the key benefits they have had are “Introductions that have led to consulting contracts (at least £50k in total value)”, “valuable instant feedback from varied demographics and disciplines” and access to “multiple commercial and academic relationships”. If you want to find out more about how you can become a resident please email rosalie@wiredsussex.com

We introduced ‘communities of practice’ to explore and learn about The Internet of Place’s enabling technologies. There are currently communities of practice around 5G technologies, Blockchain and Internet of Things. If you want join a community of practice please email rebecca@wiredsussex.com or take a look on our events calendar to see when the next events are coming up.

Events

This year we have run 26 events with 956 attendees from 271 unique SMEs.

Back in summer 2015 we ran a series of ‘wide angle’ events to introduce the concept of The Internet of Place. Videos of these events can be viewed on our youtube channel

We also began our Business Breakfast Dropins which run monthly to provide an informal platform to introduce new people to the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton. At these events we provide an update on the work we are doing, facilitate networking amongst the attendees and have a guest speaker from stakeholder organisations who talk about the work they are doing. Guests have included the organiser of Brighton’s IOT Meetup, the Humanities Lab from the University of Brighton and the Cultural Informatic’s Research Group from the University of Brighton. These events take place on the first Friday of each month. Details can we found on our events calendar.

We are currently focusing in on particular areas of interest through our ‘Tech Beyond The Screen’ strand of events. So far we have covered topics including UX, Retail Innovation, Technology and Placemaking, and Connectivity and Infrastructure. Ideas generated as a result of these events have influenced the projects we are currently developing. You can view videos from some of these events on our youtube channel.

To see what events we have coming up take a look on our events calendar.

Projects

As a result of our collaborations and events we currently have 2 live projects and a number in development.

Retail Innovation, Store of the Future

Early on Retail Innovation was an area which was highlighted as a particular areas of interest and as a result we developed our ‘Retail Innovation, Store of the Future’ project. We partnered with IOTUK to run an intensive 2-day event which explored the ways technology can grow the high-street through the application of real-time data, the improvement of retailer productivity and the creation of innovative retail experiences. An overview of the day can be seen here.

At the event we had a fantastic mix of large and local retailers, companies and academics.We are really excited at some of the new connections, partnerships and projects which have already begun to emerge as a result. We are currently working with our retail partners to support companies to develop new products and services which will be road-tested in their stores over the summer.

Over the 2days we had talks from some leaders in the field of Retail Innovation. A selection of these talks can be viewed on our youtube channel.

Location Gatwick

We have been successful in securing funding to run a project with Gatwick Airport which will give us access to fields of data from Gatwick Airport and an opportunity to use the airport as a marketing testing site to experiment with that data. We are currently in the planning stages of this project and will be releasing a programme of activity in early Summer 2016.

If you want to be kept up to date about this project then sign up to our mailing list. If you want to speak to someone directly please email rebecca@wiredsussex.com

So, as you can see, it’s been a pretty busy 12 months, but it has also been hugely exciting and inspiring. I have seen early concept ideas develop into valuable projects which will allow our cluster and the wider digital economy to create, innovate and grow. There lots still of plans at varying stages that I am looking forward to developing these over the next few years. We are still keen to bring in new thoughts, contributors and collaborators to help us shape the future of the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton and its projects. Please do join us.

 

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