What is a smart city?
A smart city is described as one that makes clever and efficient use of technology. This is to create a sustainable high quality of social and economic life, by scoring highly in key performance areas including local transport, housing, regeneration and public health.
Liverpool’s digital economy brings many possibilities to become smarter, by using new technologies and innovations to grow and prosper. In the last year, the city’s digital technology sector has grown to become one of the fastest growing UK digital hubs.
For Liverpool to become a smart city, that utilises innovation to enhance the lives of local residents and businesses, the city needs to be technologically ready. Last Wednesday, I attended an excellent peer-to-peer networking event at Launch22, hosted by Knowledge Transfer Network and Freshly Squeezed Events. The purpose of the event was to learn about Liverpool’s digital readiness and smart economy, from three excellent speakers. These speakers were James Noakes from Liverpool City Council and Mayoral Lead for Energy and Smart City, whilst the other two speakers were Katie Crozier and Joanne Morfee from Liverpool Vision.
Listening to each speaker was fascinating. This was because I was very keen to hear how Liverpool’s growing digital sector is helping the city become a great place to live and work in. In addition, I was also keen to hear what more can be done to make Liverpool digitally smarter. Some examples include using technology to deliver smarter services to communities by engaging with people, investing in new digital infrastructure (e.g. higher broadband speeds). Other examples included project collaboration between universities and hosting high profile events such as the International Festival of Business 2016 and the Wireless Global Congress 2016.
I also learned from the event about the growth of Liverpool’s digital sector. Listening to some of the facts given by Katie and Joanne were amazing, as whilst I have heard about Liverpool’s digital renaissance, I had misjudged how big it has grown.
Some of the incredible facts that I learnt about Liverpool’s digital growth included.
- 20,000 people are employed in digital sector jobs in the Liverpool City Region.
- This accounts for 6% of employment in Liverpool with 7,500 jobs created since 2010, with another 2,000 expected in the next five years.
- Developing clusters of digital businesses are emerging across the city, in areas such as the Baltic Triangle, Ropewalks, Liverpool Innovation & Science Parks, and through incubator networks such as Launch22 and Daresbury.
- Creative hubs and community networks are forming, such as coding clubs like this in Liverpool Central Library.
- Future possibilities of film & TV production with a new £25m studio on Edge Lane is in the pipeline.
- The success of the It’s Liverpool app has had over 7,000 downloads.
Reflecting on the event, I am proud of how far Liverpool’s digital economy has grown over the last few years. At the same time, there is plenty more that still needs to be done, to ensure that Liverpool becomes a smarter and technologically savvy city. However I believe the city’s digital economy will only get even better, and they should look proudly forward into the future with confidence.
To conclude, I would like to thank James, Katie and Joanne for giving an excellent and interesting talk. I would also like to thank Knowledge Transfer Network and Freshly Squeezed for organising the event and to Launch 22 for being such excellent hosts.