IBM Research – Ireland

Ireland is the proud host of the one and only IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre. This lab conducts research in water, energy, marine environments, city fabric, transportation and computing offering such features as Smarter Water, Smarter Transportation and Smarter Energy.

The lab is led by top researchers from leading academic institutions including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Cambridge University, the Australian National University, and Trinity College Dublin. Additionally, the lab is directed and managed by individuals with significant experience at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center.

The research lab conducts research in collaboration with leading universities, cities, and industry partners and focuses on science and technology for intelligent urban and environmental systems considering such areas as analytics, optimizations, and systems for sustainable energy, urban water management, transportation, and the underlying city fabric that assimilates and shares data and models for these domains. Even though it has been operating for over a year now, it still belongs to the pioneers in the field. A most interesting research centre.

As an example, we have added a link to IBM’s activities in the “Smart Water” space.

Smarter water



Liverpool Community Health AGM

From the Connected Liverpool team, a quick message about the Liverpool Community Health (LCH) Annual General Meeting on 20 September 2012 at the Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool.

After our meeting with Caroline Rand (Head of Planning, Information & Technology at Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust) a few weeks ago, we were kindly invited to their AGM. The AGM was a true success, with multiple speakers from the different institutions and organisations that take care of our health/care needs within our Liverpool Community. Some of the speakers such as Bernie Cuthel (Chief Executive for Liverpool Community Health), Gary Andrews (Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Finance for Liverpool Community Health) and Michelle Porteus (Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development for Liverpool Community Health) provided the audience with a clear overview of the LCH last year’s performance. A very interesting fact for us being mobile technology geeks is that Gary Andrews shared the LCH’s intentions to invest more in mobile technology in the upcoming year. Mobile technology is perceived as THE mean to create more interaction with patients providing them with real-time access to clinical information. This will deliver a direct solution to the lack of stakeholder engagement and will inform citizens about such services as the ‘walk-in’ centres which are largely unknown.

Specialist School Nurses raised the importance of support parenting groups and the anxiety, anger, low self-esteem and behavioural issues that children in Liverpool often encounter. Supporting families and stimulating them to access LCH’s services is therefore vital. ‘Emotional health’ was considered to be key in young people’s achievements in life. Additionally, inspiring initiatives such as the Virtual Ward and the Single Point of Contact were highlighted in detail.

The Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust’s objectives are to “promote public health to staff and patients” and to be “employer of choice” together with its focus to allow longer and healthier lives and to grow the organisation. All together, a very interesting AGM with lots of interesting speakers and even some amusement provided by several comedians. According to us, it was a success!!!




Technology Strategy Board Think Tank in Liverpool


Connected Liverpool hosted its second Think Tank for the Future Cities Catapult in Liverpool yesterday. The Think Tank “The Big Data Workshop” was hosted in Liverpool Science Park where excellent meeting facilities, food, and drinks were provided by Open Labs, an organisation supporting local creative technology companies to develop new products and services that capitalise upon global opportunities.

The Think Tank was chaired by Nigel Rix and Richard Foggie from the TSB who opened the workshop with a short speech regarding the progress of the Future Cities Business Plan and the necessity of such workshops/ brainstorm sessions to create innovative ideas that will directly feed into the TSB. This time, the focus was on “Big Data”. Big Data, an increasingly popular topic in society, forms the foundation of innovation. The TSB wants to explore the opportunities within this space to drive innovation and benefit citizens. Therefore, Connected Liverpool organised this workshop to come up with new and creative ways of using data and deriving value from it to drive the economy and enhance citizen’s quality of life.

According to Richard Foggie, “90% of all data was created in the past 2 years. By 2035, we will have the means to create 100% of data instantly.” The challenge however, is to understand and use this data in a way that it could actually create value. This Big Data Workshop was focused on just this. Because of its success, Connected Liverpool plans to organise similar events for the TSB in the future.



Smart City Wien

Even though we are very much aware of ‘Smart City Benchmarks’ around the world such as in the US and in Asia, the city Vienna which is just around the corner manages to keep its presence in the Top-5 of most Smart Cities around the globe. With its 1.7 million inhabitants, the Austrian capital Vienna is one of the best examples of urban quality of life in the world. Smart City Vienna is a project consortium under the direction of the Vienna city administration.

The main goal of the Vienna city administration seems to be focused around energy. Smart City Vienna formulates Vienna’s energy future as a long-term Smart Energy Vision 2050, Roadmap 2020 and Action Plan 2012-2015.

Vienna is very much focused on stakeholder involvement, relevant stakeholders affected directly by the above mentioned climate/ energy plans are invited to actively participate in the Smart City Forums. The city really seems to have adopted a bottom-up approach. A special steering group was set up to lead the stakeholder progress.

Thomas Madreiter, Project Manager – Municipal Department – Urban Development and Planning, stated the following:

“Vienna meets all the requirements as a smart city to have a leading role in climate-related research and technological development in Europe. With the FIT for SET programme we will launch the necessary measures in order to make the most of our advantages.”

The FIT for SET programme refers to the stakeholder involvement project we mentioned earlier. Smart City Vienna has many different partners such as Siemens AG Österreich, the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT) and the Vienna University of Technology to realise their agenda of a smarter Vienna.

We are keen to watch their progress in their Smart City adventure, we’ll keep you posted!



Foresight Centre & Merseyside Celebration 2012

Yesterday at 2 p.m., Connected Liverpool left the office to join the Low Carbon Liverpool event: Liverpool Green Capital? at the Foresight centre (The University of Liverpool). It was an interesting event with roundtables to discuss whether Liverpool should participate in the competition to become the “Green Capital” attended by academia, the public and private sector. Every table got the opportunity to share their thoughts and ideas in making Liverpool greener and more sustainable, an excellent event with great speakers.

Just before the event, Innovation Lead Jordy van Kuijk catched up with Shadow Climate Change Minister Luciana Berger to discuss the Green Deal. Jordy: “It was good to speak to such a driven individual. She is very committed to achieve her vision of a greener society. It would be good to collaborate in the near future as her agenda points match our agenda points”.

At 6.15 p.m., CEO Lee Omar and Innovation Lead Jordy van Kuijk left the Foresight Centre for the Merseyside Celebration 2012 at the Atlantic Tower Thistle Hotel in Liverpool. The purpose of Celebration 2012 was to “celebrate CMI (Chartered Management Institute) student’s achievements, the importance and the success of the Global Entrepreneurs Congress 2012, Merseyside’s positive future and the role that CMI has to play in that future”, according to the organisation.

The recently appointed CMI Chief Executive, Ann Francke CCMI, started off by providing the attendees with an update on CMI’s strategic vision, plans for the future, how CMI can collaborate with other professional bodies and educational establishments, and the role of CMI in the North West. It was Ann’s first branch event outside of London.

The keynote speaker was Max Steinberg, the Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision. Max commented on the Merseyside journey and its recent achievements compared to 5 to 10 years ago. Perhaps even more interestingly, was his speech about the future of Liverpool and the many investment projects the city is awaiting such as the International Festival of Business 2014, the 2013 Schools Enterprise Challenge, a new 5-star hotel next to the Echo Arena and the renovation of Stanley Dock to name a few. One thing is sure, Liverpool will become increasingly important in the UK in the upcoming years which is something we are amazingly proud of.

Throughout the evening, all attendants enjoyed a lovely 3-course dinner enabling the attendants to catch up and network with the many interesting guests that were present from the academic, private and public sector. All together, an amazing celebration.