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Introducing the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton

DCC-Brighton-RGBOn Wednesday 10th June we held an introduction to the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton and it's theme of the Internet of Place, featuring talks and discussion from key project partners; Wired Sussex, American Express, University of Brighton, Brandwatch and Gatwick Airport.

Following an introduction from Phil Jones, each partner representative shared their thoughts on the future of the project and potential for innovation, as well as how they plan to, or are already working within the area of the Internet of Place and real-time location-based data.

For those who missed it, we've gathered the presentations and videos from the event followed by a round-up of the audience Q&A’s.

Introduction and welcome to the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton and the Internet of Place
Phil Jones, MD Wired Sussex, Coast 2 Capital Board Member

Phil's presentation

Internet of Place: A New Territory for Innovation
Gillian Youngs, Professor of Digital Economy at the University of Brighton


Internet of Place: Gatwick Airport
Chris Howell, Head of Business Systems at Gatwick Airport

Chris' presentation

Putting You On The Map / Tracking Geotagged Location Data In Brandwatch Analytics
Nick Taylor, Product Marketing Executive at Brandwatch

Nick's presentation

Amex Involvement with the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton Project
Katrina Roberts, Vice President, Global Networks and International Consumer Services Technologies EMEA at American Express


Audience Q&A

Suppose I have an innovative idea and want to get some support from the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton, what’s the process? Is there one yet?

- It’s very early days, but the best thing to do would be to talk to Wired Sussex about it. The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton is being temporarily housed by Wired Sussex at The FuseBox in New England House. Come to The FuseBox either physically or virtually and tell us about your ideas.

- We’re holding a series of events and activities to get sparks flying between companies and individuals. These events are based on centre-specific themes such as Placemaking and 5G, with the aim of bringing together companies working within these areas, or that have ideas that resonate with larger project partners such as University of Brighton, American Express and Gatwick Airport.

A running theme of the talks was the richness of location data. Can you all elaborate on this?

- Location data can add context to what someone is saying – not just where they are physically, but also emotionally. It can turn big data into something useful, practical and responsive.

- Customers more and more don’t want to speak to you on the phone, making it increasingly difficult to glean emotional context. Big data and location-based data have the potential to get that context and connectivity back.

- Real-time location-based data can change the experience of the individual – but how might you scale that up to effect peoples’ engagement and experience on an organisational or even a city-wide level? It’s important to have places like Gatwick involved which could be used as testbeds for these ideas.

- When you start to look at the challenges around looking at data in real time, you have to think very seriously about issues of trust, privacy, and the individuals’ right to that data. Trust and privacy is a key area of interest for the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton. On 1st July we’re running an event around Technology & Placemaking – there’s an opportunity here to empower communities through technology and enable them to create better places, rather than be policed in those places.

Who’s thinking about the “opt-out” question for taking part in the Internet of Place?

- That’s a question that we need to ask and we need to embed in all of the activity at the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton. We’re not sure what the answer is yet, but we need to keep the question at the forefront of our minds.

- Privacy and trust is one of the 4 key challenge areas set out by the Digital Catapult, and is reflected within all regional Catapult Centres. The point of the Catapult is not necessarily to find the solutions, but rather to facilitate creativity in the marketplace for people who might have ideas, methodologies and technologies that haven’t surfaced yet or are still in development.

- A major challenge for large companies is that they can only ask their customer at certain points in their relationship how they want you to treat their data. It’s a blunt instrument at the moment.

- The University of Brighton has a satellite R+D lab of 15 researchers working around trust and privacy.

- The Digital Catapult Centre in Bradford is themed on health and digital innovation – a particularly important area for trust and privacy issues (doctors records, NHS records .etc). The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton aims to connect with them to look at and share their learnings.

“Digital” suggests openness, transparency, interactivity and accountability. How accountable is the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton to the city which it seeks to serve – and is the city paying for it?

- The estimate is that the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton will deliver about 4 million worth of additional funding to Brighton & Hove through various funding packaging which are attached to the Catapult over its’ lifetime. At this moment in time, there is no ask from the city whatsoever in terms of funding. It’s cash-positive.

- Openness is key. Whenever Wired Sussex looks at any project we’re interested in we have a checklist: Is it innovative? Is it collaborative? Is it open? If we can say yes to all of these, only then do we want to be involved.

- We’ll be measured on metrics by those who fund us: metrics around job creation and new products and services that businesses create. However, we measure ourselves on whether we can help smaller digital businesses in Brighton do more with the ideas that they create.

- The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton is located in Brighton & Hove, but the lead party and accountable body is Coast 2 Capital. Wired Sussex, University of Brighton, Gatwick .etc are accountable to Coast 2 Capital, and they’re accountable to the funders. This means that we have to demonstrate an impact across the Coast 2 Capital region, not just in Brighton & Hove.

There’s a lot of talk about “value” as a measure and metric with which to judge these things. What are the KPIs of the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton? Growth, turnover, profitability? Or a broader social utility desire?

- Use of the term “value” is used to get away from the definition of success based solely on monetary growth. The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton aims to maintain a definition of “value” which is broader than a narrow monetary one.

- An integral part of the bid was the learnings from the Brighton Fuse report and the value that arts, humanities and social sciences can bring to business communities. Innovation comes along with the clash of ideas – for example: Getting artists and social scientists to look at and interpret big data.

- The Digital Catapult Centre in London built a platform for looking at Manchester's civic and social data with the intent of improving public services.

- Many things developed in the interest of having good social value turn out to also have good business sense. For example: a large corporation reducing its’ carbon footprint could also save the company millions. These are not mutually exclusive.

- Being socially responsible is as important as being profitable, because you cannot be profitable if you are not trusted by your customers.

How much of a commitment are your businesses making specifically? Getting involved, sharing ideas and building on data could be high-risk for small businesses, but not for corporates.

- Project partners are committing their own time to attend and run events, their resources, expertise and experience, guidance on how to scale ideas, and access to big data.

- There’s a “golden triangle effect” – a corporate with a problem, a University with knowledge or research entities, and SME(s) with an idea and a will to solve that problem – and a market opportunity. That’s a very powerful mechanism for securing funding.

- There are no guarantees – but there is a much higher probability for success if an idea goes through a rigorous process to get funding in the first place.

Click here to find out about other events we're running over the next couple of months for our members, and others, to understand more about how the Brighton Catapult Centre can help unlock opportunities for SMEs, big business, public sector and academia to collaborate and create new value for the Coast to Capital area.

Find out more about the Digital Catapult Centre Brighton here.

If you’d like to be kept in the loop about Brighton Digital Catapult activities, you can sign up for the newsletters here.

You can also join in / or follow the conversation on twitter with #DigiCatBrighton

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