by Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle
Newcastle is a city region that thrives on fresh ideas. We really did event the lightbulb and since then we have continued to innovate. A hub for smart, digital, and sustainable technologies our city finds itself a test bed for new products and services that are helping to tackle some of the world’s most pressing economic and social challenges.
Renowned for our approach to private and public sector collaboration, we have one of the fastest growing tech clusters in the UK, five world-class universities and 50,000 students studying STEM subjects. City Fibre’s £50 million full-fibre installation project will place us in the top tier of UK cities for connectivity. A new 25-mile high-capacity fibre network will give Newcastle the best connections to businesses in America and Europe.
Newcastle Helix is playing a significant role our position as a ‘smart city’. This 24-acre development brings together industry leaders, businesses, and top researchers. It’s home to the National Innovation Centre for Data (NICD) who support organisations to gain insight from their data and the Urban Observatory, who host the largest set of publicly available real time urban data in the UK. Though over 700 million data points with everything from bin sensors, waste, and air quality to flooding, and traffic pollution, they are helping to shape the future of our city.
Back in 2019, Newcastle picked up an award as the UK’s smartest city. The award recognised our innovative use of technology to deliver responsive services more effectively and to make life more liveable for our citizens through better transport and cleaner air.
The same year we led a delegation to the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, where the private and public sector came together to showcase and share learning with other influencers and innovators. Businesses joining our delegation included Newcastle-based Urban Foresight, the only dedicated smart city consultancy in the UK, CityFibre who are installing game–changing gigabit speeds in our city, and Cisco who worked with us on developing the UK’s smartest street in 2018. Our delegation was testament to the strength of our digital transformation and the collaborative nature of our business community.
Since then COVID-19 has changed life for people, businesses, and cities. We are all facing complex economic, social, political and cultural challenges that will significantly change the shape of our future. Businesses and researchers based in Newcastle Helix have been collaborating and using real–time data to continue to support our economy and help people live well during these challenging times.
Newcastle University’s Urban Observatory team has been collecting evidence of the effects of measures introduced in response to COVID-19 and they have partnered with the NICD to develop a new web-based application that uses real-time data to check how easy it is to maintain social distancing in our city centre.
Data from cameras not only helps to keep people safe but it is helping to build customer confidence and support city centre businesses. NICD has also been working with the public sector to explore data–sharing across the region and explore how this can help cities prepare and plan for a crisis like COVID-19, ensuring effective responses to similar global and societal issues in the future.
Our talent and unique approach to data and intelligence is continuing to attract investors. Despite a difficult end to the financial year we saw a record number of businesses investing in our city, including the BBC who are setting up a new tech hub. They describe our city as a place actively looking for fresh and innovative ideas, one where they can deliver a new generation of data scientists.
Through the power of smart technology, strong leadership, and continued collaboration, we are reimagining our new world. Newcastle is not just a place for business, it’s a place you can live well. Be part of it.
Newcastle Helix: A eco-system of innovation
Invest Newcastle: Strong leadership and global assets
Newcastle: A place to invest
Working across the world from Newcastle
Newcastle: A gigabit city
Newcastle: Helping people to live well
Invest Newcastle: Talent, quality of life and innovation
To find out more about Newcastle as a smart place to locate or grow your business email email@example.com