Improved services, supporting the growth potential of businesses and laying firm foundations for Birmingham to be more innovative, vibrant and entrepreneurial are the key aims of the Smart City Commission, launched today (July 26).
International experts from Europe have offered their support as founder members of the city council-led body – including Enrique Sanchez from Madrid-based transport infrastructure firm Ferrovial and Guenter Pecht-Seibert, the German-based Senior Vice President of technology firm SAP AG.
Commission members will share knowledge and expertise to create the vision and the strategic aims for a 'Smart connected Birmingham,' one that maximises its current opportunities, but also creates the conditions and opportunities to nurture future economic growth, placing the city on the strongest footing possible as it faces the many challenges of the 21st Century.
Significant strides are already being made - such as setting up a Birmingham framework for 4G communications services and the development of a 'digital district' for the technology sector - the commission will seek to accelerate the pace of change.
Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City - and Chairman of the new Smart City Commission - said: “We have a great foundation to build on, Birmingham has already shown its appetite to lead and to challenge the status quo.
“Like many cities, Birmingham finds itself challenged on many levels due to the slow economy, a growing and ageing population, inherited infrastructure and systems that don't readily lend themselves to the new ways of working with partners.
“We shouldn't be daunted - we are excited, ready to collaborate and roll our sleeves up to meet the challenges that we must face to deliver innovation as the potential rewards for the city are huge.
“Centuries ago, the likes of Boulton, Murdoch and Watt were pioneers who elevated the city, and the nation to bigger and better things. We now need to channel that passion, spirit and ingenuity to shape solutions in the 21st Century. I want to build on the great opportunities that our small businesses and entrepreneurs have created, maximise their contributions and not re-invent the wheel.
“The commission members have all proven themselves to be adaptable and responsive when it comes to work in their respective fields and I am very pleased to have them on board.”
Enrique Sanchez, Managing Director of Cities for Ferrovial Servicios, one of the Commission's founder members, added: “I am delighted and honoured to be invited to take part in the Smart City Commission.
“With this, we ensure a citizen involvement, working together with a strong and innovative leadership. The Smart City agenda is going to change the way that Birmingham works and we will be able to transform our resources and define the activities needed due to get a prosperous city for decades to come.”
Rick Robinson, of IBM Smarter Cities, another member of the Commission, said: “The ‘Smartest Cities’ are those that have a complete and integrated view of city systems such as energy, transport, health and employment – the very foundations needed to stimulate economic development.
“IBM welcomes the opportunity to help Birmingham develop its vision and strategic aims so that it can really understand the dynamics of the city and deliver targeted improvements in the quality of public services and in creating a prosperous future for people and business alike.”
Notes to editors
The current list of Smart City Commission members is as follows:
Cllr James McKay - CHAIR
Mark Barrow - Strategic Director of Development, Birmingham City Council
Chris Parker - Managing Partner, CS Transform Limited
Des Correia - Director, Arup
Duncan Botting - Managing Director, Global Smart Transformation Limited
Enrique Sanchez - Smart Cities Lead, Ferrovial
Guenter Pecht-Seibert - Senior Vice President, SAP AG
Keith Osman – Director of Research, Birmingham City University
Allan Mayo - Head of Services Policy Unit at Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)
Mike Perry - Principal Consultant, Building Research Establishment (BRE)
Sandy Taylor - Head of Climate Change and Sustainability, Birmingham City Council
Richard Foggie - Director, HoIP CIC
Rick Robinson - Executive Architect working for IBM Software Group’s Chief Technology Officer for Europe
Steve George - Director, SGTI (representing Centro and UTMC)
Dr Phil Extance - Pro -Vice Chancellor, Aston University
Raj Mack - Head of Digital Birmingham
Prof Chris Rogers - Professor of Geotechnical Engineering & Deputy Head of School of Civil Engineering, University of Birmingham
For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621