Category Archives: The UK

The internet’s next big frontier


In its early days the internet was seen simply as a way of transferring data across large distances but it is now playing an ever increasing part in our lives.

David Reid reports on what is seen as the next big frontier for the web – called the internet of things – allowing you to use your smartphone to control your home heating, pay for parking and even monitor your own fitness.


ESSA Academy Bolton

The ESSA Academy in Bolton created a whole new learning experience for its students and teachers. In addition to a brand new building, the academy states to be a leader in the development of learning technologies.

In order to stimulate creativity and student performance, the academy equipped its students and staff members with iPads, iPods, iMacs, Macbook Pro’s, Macbook Air’s, AppleTV and iPhones. Student’s personal iPad allow them to make notes during lectures, email teachers instantly, search for definitions on the Web, open e-books, and share their notes or drawings with the main screen in the classroom.

By adopting this technology, the academy created an exciting, entertaining, and high performing environment for its students and teachers. Parents can call the teachers on their iPads allowing the teachers to decide whether to take the call or to call back later.

Outside of the classroom, students can film and share each others physical performance during training sessions and can get on a stage and interact with visual objects as e.g. a DNA molecule.

According to ESSA, its agreement with Apple allows the use of 21st Century learning resources and streamlined productivity in a educational setting.


BSc Internet of Things Engineering

In our search to the latest Internet of Things innovations, we came across the Queen Mary University of London that offers an interesting degree in this exciting space, it offers the      “BSc Internet of Things Engineering’.

As the university describes it: “IoT is a mix of telecommunications engineering and computing, encompassing wireless communications, sensors, IPv6 and the computing technologies necessary to run applications over the underlying physical infrastructure.”

Consequently, this new bachelor programme aims to provide students with:

  • A thorough knowledge of telecommunications and computer science
  • An understanding of network design and network planning principles for IoT
  • A knowledge of theory, methodology and techniques for IoT network assessment and evaluation
  • A good overall understanding of computer and telecoms network development skills.

Throughout the bachelor, students will have to consider such courses as Advanced Mathematics, Computer Fundamentals and Programming, Data Structures, Digital Circuit Design, Middleware, Cloud Computing, Digital Signal Processing, RFID and Sensor networks, Microprocessor Systems Design, and Security and Authentication. An exciting programme that prepares its students for this quickly expanding space.

In terms of teaching, it must be stated that the student workload and the number of contact hours are higher than is usual for a UK degree. From year 2-4, students will run through 24 modules that each consist of 40 hours of lectures, plus four hours of tutorials, delivered across 4 one-week blocks. In other words, it’s like a full-time job and not for the lazy ones.

It is expected however, in terms of career opportunities, that the graduates will have diverse employment opportunities in the field of communications, systems and networks. At the moment, there are no graduates yet as it is a new programme. However, a high percentage of graduates from its two other joint programmes (85 per cent in 2011) go on to postgraduate study in prestigious universities in China, the UK, the USA, Canada and Australia. Others graduates have found work at leading companies in the ICT industry, such as China Mobile, China Telecom, IBM, 3Com, as well as consulting, finance and insurance companies. In other words, a degree from the Queen Mary University of London seems to open up doors.

Because of the international nature of the telecommunications industry and the size and influence of China it is likely that there will be a Chinese presence within any company that the Internet of Things graduates work for. The Queen Mary “flying professors” even travel to Beijing to give lectures face-to-face in between teaching blocks, proving the high demand of Internet of Things interest in China.

All together, an interesting degree that suits the current trend of connecting objects to the web to make our environment smarter. In terms of entry levels, the course is open to students under 25 years old, who have completed high school in their home country and achieved grades equivalent to AAB at A-level. The international student fee for this academic year (2012/13) is £7,000.

Might be something to consider?


Three ways of how Big Data is being used today

Christine Twiford, Manager Network Technology Solutions T-Mobile, explained the three ways of how Big Data is being used at the moment. Big Data, THE buzzword and main topic of conversation in the technology and SME world, is being explored more and more.

According to Christine, Big Data is currently being used for:

  • Discovery
  • Decision-making
  • Persuasion

Regarding the ‘discovery’ aspect, she mentioned that Big Data is used to test data sets and to find ways to define and better understand them. This makes it understandable but also shareable and usable for corporations and individuals because Big Data is analyzed in such a way that it actually starts to make sense.

Secondly, Big Data is being used in decision-making. As soon as data sets are defined and narrowed down to understand the value of them, hypothesises can be created which can then be tested. Through this, real-life scenarios are developed and the influence of big data on citizens (or customers) can be measured.

Finally, after Big Data has been discovered (understanded) and has been used to test hypothesis and pilots, the outcomes can be used for persuasion. The outcomes of the use of big data can be visualised to share findings and push change and innovation.

Christine emphasises the importance of opening up both corporate and government data to drive the economy. In collaboration with academic researchers, government institutions and NGOs, great innovations can be realised. A close collaboration is necessary as “researchers need corporation’s data to do their research and corporations need the academic methods to do their research effectively”. Consequently, a true win-win situation will be realised.



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.