International Festival Of Business – North

The International Festival Of Business – North reflects the UK government’s ambitious plans to rebalance the economy, and to promote strong, sustainable and balanced growth fostering prosperity in all parts of the country including the North of England.

During June 2014, The International Festival Of Business will showcase the North’s most vibrant growth sectors and will present international visitors of note. Growth in professional services, knowledge, creative, retail and hospitality replaced the loss of jobs in the traditional port-related and manufacturing industries in the late 20th century. The festival will show this proving Liverpool’s focus to create a true entrepreneurial ecosystem that drives the city to new levels of growth. It will be led by Liverpool Vision.

To realise this, it is essential that more and more businesses in Liverpool receive the right motivation to export, grow, innovate and to attract partners from across the world to transform the city into a true investment hub.

The festival will create the opportunity to promote the city’s vision that the Mersey will once again become the key global trading centre and to create connections with growing economies such as:

  • USA
  • India
  • Europe
  • South America
  • China

It will last for four continuing weeks and the weeks will be themed. So far, the following themes have been selected:

  • WEEK 1: Low Carbon
  • WEEK 2 – 3: Knowledge
    (including creative and digital,
    professional and financial, life sciences
    and advanced manufacturing)
  • WEEK 4: Port & Logistics
    International Conferences/Seminars/
    Business Dinners/Workshops/Exhibitions

The Wirral International Trade Centre (ITC) will also be opened in 2014 which will be the first of its kind in the UK and the largest Trade Centre in Europe. It will form part of the greater Wirral Waters project and will sell an unlimited variety of goods to the wholesale market into the UK and the whole of Europe.

Moreover, the North Liverpool Investment Tower ‘The Look Out’ will be created, this will be an eye catching permanent building of the highest design providing a unique venue for investment events and meetings.

All together, the International Festival of Business- North creates the perfect opportunity to put Liverpool in the spotlights and to showcase its investment opportunities and valuable assets. An event to look forward to.

Innovate Dementia Workshop

Today, Connected Liverpool traveled to The Indigo Training Centre at Maghull on the Ashworth site for the Innovate Dementia Workshop organised by Mersey Care NHS Trust and Open Labs.

Presently, 700,000 people in the UK suffer from dementia, one of the chronic or persistent disorders that causes the most anxiety. It costs the UK an estimated £17 billion to deal with dementia and provide its nationals with the necessary support. In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia in the UK will double to 1.4 million, with the costs trebling to over £50 billion a year. Shocking figures that show the importance of finding remedies and innovative ways to assist people suffering from dementia in the best possible way.

Today’s Innovate Dementia Workshop was focused on just that, bringing academics, creative technologists, clinicians, and people living with dementia together to stimulate collaboration and develop solutions for everyday dementia-related problems. Some of the problems that were mentioned were the following:

  • difficulty in remembering what day it is
  • difficulty in realising whether it is 7 am or pm in winter
  • difficulty in locating objects in kitchen, bathroom, living room
  • difficulty in remembering when to use the different remotes
  • difficulty in taking the right medicine at the right time
  • difficulty in remembering how to do common things such as making tea or how to dress/undress

These were only a couple of the difficulties that the people living with dementia attending the workshop mentioned. Everyday actions that we perceive as normal but which form a huge obstacle for these people.

Technology was a big topic throughout the workshop. Remarkably, or perhaps not, only 2 of the people that were present and are suffering from dementia use technology. As one of them stated, “the elderly are not used to using technology, we haven’t been computerised”. They seem to be anxious to answer their phone, and experience a certain pressure when their mobile phone rings.

Additionally, it was mentioned that these people do not benefit from pasting ‘post notes’ on e.g. their medicine boxes to remember them to take them or on the fridge to remember them to eat. These post notes become part of the interior, anything static was therefore perceived as useless.

The workshop was a roundtable event. Each table received a different topic for discussion such as Technology, Diet & Exercise, Phones and Medicine. The academics, creative technologists, clinicians, and people living with dementia were mixed up around the different tables which led to enthusiastic and detailed discussions.

One of the major outcomes was the need to provide people that suffer from dementia with incentives. The only way to remember people to e.g. take their medicine is to e.g. enable their medicine box to tell them which medicine to take and when using voice control. The need for physical and mental exercise (gamification) was another major topic. Keeping people active both physically and mentally, proves to be important to prevent the disorder from getting increasingly worse.

Regarding technology, it was said that if the elderly would ever adopt technology, it would be because technology has been made simpler. Currently, it is too complicated discouraging them to use it.

A very good first brainstorm session around the topic of dementia. Many more will follow to narrow down some of today’s discussed ideas and to pilot them. All we can say for now: we are looking forward to the next Innovate Dementia Workshop.


White House: Energy Data Tools

The White House demonstrated how energy data is fueling new products and services aimed at promoting greater energy efficiency in America. It announced several new initiatives to make government data more accessible to developers and the public. Last week, The US Department of Energy has doubled the number of datasets to more than 900 in the past 90 days that are publicly available on Energy.Data.Gov.

Additionally, the White House announced four new programming tools to make it easier to inject government data into commercial applications to help entrepreneurs build applications that can enhance the overall quality of life. This proves how conscious the US government is about the effects of opening up data to the wider public.

The new application programming interfaces (or API’s) are meant to help entrepreneurs build applications that can help commercial businesses and residential utility customers better manage their energy consumption and lower their utility bills.

The new API’s are the following:

Electricity API: The Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced the development of an API for its series on monthly, quarterly, and annual data for electric generation, consumption, and retail sales.

Fuel Economy API: The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly announced the development of a new interface for data from the website. The API will provide access to all of the data currently displayed in the “Find and Compare Cars” interactive tool, which includes model years 1984 through 2013.

Environmental APIs: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the development of its enhanced Envirofacts API, which will greatly improve the technical community’s degree of access to environmental datasets.

Biomass API: The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the development of an API for biomass data that capitalizes on the “U.S. Billion Ton Report” – a landmark study on biomass as a feedstock for bioenergy. That information will now be more readily available and useful to researchers and software developers.

In general, it is good to see that the US government becomes increasingly aware of the benefits of opening up data. Hopefully, this trend will be copied by national authorities globally to create a new entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Intel at Connected Liverpool

Last Friday was a most interesting day for the Connected Liverpool Team. It was delighted to welcome Ajit Jaokar, CEO futuretext, and Sandhiprakash (Sandhi) Bhide, Senior Strategist and Technologist at Intel (Oregon), in Liverpool to spend the day meeting Smart City developers.

The main goal for Sandhi was to get an understanding of Liverpool’s most challenging issues and to learn from the city’s initiatives to make the city smarter and better connected. To do so, Connected Liverpool had arranged for him to meet several thought leaders in the city who are all using their strengths and sharpening their focus to revitalise the Liverpool City Region.

At 9 a.m., we started our first meeting with Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Millar at the Town Hall where also Professor Alan Harding, Head Department of Public Policy University of Liverpool, joined us. After a most interesting guided tour through the Town Hall provided by Garry Millar, coffee and tea was served and the conversation around ‘Smart’ Liverpool was opened.

After the Town Hall, we visited Liverpool Vision – the city’s economic development company – where we first met up with Lisa Ashby, Business Growth Manager at Liverpool Vision, Rajinder Basi from The Vault, and Leslie Beattie, Head of Commercial and Visitor Economy at Liverpool City Council. Meeting these people was most important for Sandhi to get an understanding of the city’s Business and Visitor Economy developments and plans for the upcoming years. The use and storage of data was a regular returning topic as well.

At 11.30 a.m., Connected Liverpool, Ajit Jaokar, Sandhi and Professor Alan Harding met Max Steinberg OBE, Chief Executive Liverpool Vision – in his office in the Liverpool Vision building. Max Steinberg explained Liverpool’s impressive plans to attract more investment, create jobs and drive the economy with such projects as the International Festival of Business, the Wirral International Trade Centre, and Mersey Waters. Additionally, a great amount of time was spent to discuss Liverpool’s steps forward to become a smarter city. Topics such as enhancing the quality of life and empowering citizens to achieve more in collaboration with partners outside the Liverpool City Region were high on the agenda.

At 12.15 p.m., lunch was served in the Royal Liver Building in the beautiful space “The Light” of Rights and Humanity. In the good company of Professor Julia Hausermann MBE, we enjoyed a lovely meal to close a successful and most interesting morning.

Straight after lunch, we visited Mike Taylor, Smart City Board and Director of High Growth at the LEP, in the Local Enterprise Partnership office next to the Mersey. Mike Taylor informed Sandhi about the LEP’s agenda regarding the key growth sectors of the Knowledge Economy, Visitor Economy, Low Carbon and the SuperPort to accelerate the rate of growth within the Liverpool City Region. A most informative and detailed talk which shows how ambitious this organisation is.

Meeting Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a, Built Environment Sustainable Technologies (BEST) Research Institute, was scheduled at 2 p.m. This was a most interesting meeting, the professor showed us his sensor laboratory and demonstrated some of his cutting edge work with sensors and microchips. Sandhi was most impressed with his work and we are looking forward to meet Professor Ahmed Al-Shamma’a again soon.

Our last meeting was at the University of Liverpool where we met up with Professor Yi Huang and Doctor Yaochun Shen of the Electrical Engineering Department. As Connected Liverpool is closely collaborating with this and other departments within the University of Liverpool, this was a perfect final visit of the day.

All together, a most interesting day with interesting people. We truly hope that Sandhi from Intel got a better understanding of the community spirit in Liverpool to transform the city into a smarter and better-connected place. We also like to thank Ajit Jaokar for his work in making this possible. It was a pleasure to have you with us again Ajit!