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!