Tag Archives: Technology

David Cameron at G8 Innovation Conference

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Besides PM Cameron, David Willetts (BIS Minister for Science and Innovation), Sir Richard Branson, Ron Dennis (McLaren) and Thomas Heatherwick (designer of the new London bus) were some of the speakers that shined at today’s G8 Innovation Conference. Main topics discussed: entrepreneurship and innovation, online education, creativity, science and technology. The conference focused especially on how innovation can be encouraged and where the next life-changing opportunities are for business innovation.

Even though there were many more inspiring talks at this international conference, lets focus on some of the key points that PM David Cameron tried to get across today.

1. Innovation is essential to achieve growth and SMEs are THE vehicle, more than bigger traditional companies, to drive this.

2. We need to make Britain one of the easiest places to start, grow and run your business. At present, starting a new venture here is cheaper than in Silicon Valley.

3. We need to recognise that Government has a significant role to play in today’s landscape. Government wants small businesses to account for at least 25% of public procurement and has cut down on the paperwork and created a quick online application channel allowing SMEs to do so.

4. Data is key. Open data allows transparency, accountability and is therefore important for democracy. The data that the Government has is one of the most valuable assets it has to help the economy to grow. Making open data available is hugely valuable and the importance and relevance for businesses should be promoted across Britain.

5. We need to bring people together to allow entrepreneurship and innovation. Tech City, which grew from 200 tech SMEs in 2010 to 1,500 in 2013, is a key example of a hub that drives the British technological footprint.

6. Education needs to embrace innovation. Curriculums should reflect what the industry needs. The ICT curriculum is a prime example of a ‘transformed’ curriculum and maintaining the science budget rather than cutting it has been a supportive decision.

7. The public should be challenged more to come up with innovative solutions such as cures for Dementia or a carbon free flight from London to New York. Government will stimulate the public more to engage in Government funded competitions.

He ended his talk with the following: “WE SHOULD MAKE SURE THAT GOVERNMENT DATA IS AVAILABLE”. We from Connected Liverpool sincerely hope it will be.

 

 

 

Connected Liverpool @ Innovate UK

Last week, Connected Liverpool exhibited at InnovateUK 2013, the UK’s
leading multi-sector innovation & trade event for business. Recognised by the Technology
Strategy Board as one of the top 25 most innovative companies in the UK, Connected
Liverpool got invited to showcase its work at the event.

Innovate UK 2013 was a joint venture from the Technology Strategy Board and UK Trade
& Investment. Innovate UK brought together 4,000 people from UK and international
business, Government and academia, with the aim of accelerating UK economic growth
by stimulating business-led innovation and opening up international trade opportunities.
The program of keynote presentations given by Government ministers, business leaders
and industry specialists provided some great insights into the future products and
processes that are in development.

The three days (11-13 March) covered the following topics:
Day 1: Research for Growth: Commercialising the UK’s research base
Day 2: Market and Technology Opportunities
Day 3: Global Growth: starting up and scaling up

The event offered multiple seminars and talks focused on their daily topic. During day 1, the collaboration between the public sector and academics, and between the private sector and academics was a popular topic. The University of Strathclyde from Glasgow was an impressive benchmark in cross-sector collaboration as it attracted the first Fraunhofer investment in the UK after the city of Glasgow became home to the first foreign HQ of the Fraunhofer research centre. Additionally, it hosts the TSB Health Catapult, the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult, and the Future Cities Demonstrator project. Overall, an impressive list.

The Emerging Technology and Industry programme (ET&I), which was set up in 2010, explained its key investment areas and work over the years between 2010 and 2012 within the spaces of Synthetic Biology, Energy Efficient Computing and Energy Harvesting. For the near future, it will focus on identifying the ‘next’ technologies to feed the pipeline of innovation.

Besides the seminars, the Connected Liverpool stand was a popular place during the event allowing the team to establish great connections with people from all over England and abroad in different sectors. Overall, WE LOVED IT!

 

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.

 

 

Award Winning Technology in The UK

Company HRS Heat Exchangers ‘scraped surface vacuum evaporator’ recently earned them an award at the National Recycling Awards for ‘Best Energy from Waste Initiative.’ The device was installed at an Anaerobic Digestion plant in Barkip, North Ayrshire, Scotland.

The Barkip plant, run by SSE, was opened in May this year and boasts the biggest combined organic waste treatment and energy generating service in the whole of Scotland. It can treat around 75,000 tonnes of organic waste in just one year, and can generate 2.2 megawatts of electricity from using the biogas that is combusted in its gas engines. As well as generating electricity, the heat that is created from this process is trapped and is added to the liquid fraction of the digestate to concentrate into a liquid, which can then be used as an agricultural fertiliser.

The plant makes use of organic matter such as food waste from a range of industries including food retail, food/alcohol production, and agriculture. The waste that is provided then undergoes a process of being broken down by bacteria, which in turn creates the biogas.

HRS is now renowned for demonstrating an innovate resolution for waste minimisation with the success of a good business strategy.

For more information on the other winners at the National Recycling Awards, please click here.

Safeguarding the UK’s future water supply- pirates aside

Keeping our future water supply secure- except maybe from pirates.

It might sound silly that on this little island of ours- surrounded by water- we could find ourselves running out of fresh water in as little as 40 years, but as things are, this may well be our reality. It is estimated that by 2050, the UK will have shortages in our water supply of up to 10,000 million litres a day. Innovations in technology and services will be necessary if we want to avoid this grim prospect.

Ten small/mid-sized companies in the UK stand at the ready to deliver feasibility projects designed to help businesses keep our future water supply covered. If successful, these innovative projects could be applied both here and abroad.

With business investment, the total cost of these projects is just over £1 million, with an excess of £500,000 in funding from the Technology Strategy Board, and a potential £100,000 by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), with contributions from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) as well.

The aim of these projects is to give businesses the means to develop the preliminary ideas necessary for the creation of innovative new technologies. These may then become larger projects with the potential to create the new markets of the future.

It is estimated that around 1.6 billion people currently live in countries where scarcity of water is a serious issue, making it a clear and weighty environmental issue for the world as a whole.

The Technology Strategy Board intends for this new venture to find solutions for safeguarding our future water supply, but also create a market opportunity by funding companies that can find new, profitable ways of using the water sources we have at present, more efficiently.

The challenge has been set- every company that is successful will be charged with creating new technologies and processes that can either save or recycle 1,000 million litres of water a day.

Of the intended projects, a couple of particular interest are those of Xeros, and Aquamesh:-

-Aquamesh will be using their knowledge of the mining industry to create a low energy sensor network for farmers, which should significantly reduce the amount of water used in irrigation, and potentially increase the yield of crops.

-Xeros, most recently in the limelight for their innovative new washing machine which use virtually no water. Xeros will be working with the leather industry to find a way of cleaning leather without consuming vast amounts of fresh water, and reduce the polluting toxins in the huge billion pound industry.