Bristol Is Open looks forward to supporting the Digital Minister in his new Digital Strategy for the UK, by leading on research into Software Defined Networks and Network Function Virtualization, both needed to provide enough connectivity for the extensive development of the Internet of Things, Big Data, Data Visualisation and Smart Cities.

Bristol Is Open is a new digital R&D company that has established an international reputation in less than a year
Bristol Is Open is a digital R&D joint venture company, owned by the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council, which makes use of an innovative digital infrastructure established with funding from DCMS & BIS.

Bristol Is Open is exploring new forms of digital connectivity, including software defined networks, network function virtualisation, Internet of Things, Big Data, data visualisation and smart city applications. In less than one year Bristol Is Open has gained international standing, becoming a part of TM Forum’s Smart Cities Global Leadership Team, and has created Long Term Partnerships with global ICT industry companies.

Bristol Is Open provides large ICT companies with the opportunity to explore innovative and experimental approaches to large-scale network management. It also provides local SME’s and community organisations with more connectivity than is commercially available, thereby future-proofing British innovation in a global digital economy.

Bristol Is Open is part of a dynamic digital economy
Bristol Is Open sits within the most digitally literate city in the UK. New ONS data shows that in percentage terms more people use the internet in Bristol than any other core-city, including London (see Bristol is the most digitally literate city in the UK).  Over 61,000 people work in digital technology in the Bristol & Bath city region (according to Tech City) – that is more than anywhere else in the UK, outside of London.

800 ICT companies are based in the region
800 ICT companies are based in the region, many connected to the Universities of Bristol and Bath because of their long-standing excellence in microelectronics and telecommunications. For example, one in three cars in the world use a microcontroller chip for engine management designed in the region and Sky and Virgin Media boxes both make extensive use of chips designed in the region.

Digital Creativity contributes £660m pa to the economy
More recently digital creativity has become a major contributor to the region’s economy generating £660m GVA in 2014. Aardman, the Bottle Yard Studios, Future Publishing, Films at 59, Icon Films and Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studios, are just some of the many well-known organisations.  And new companies are choosing to locate themselves in the region to benefit from the cluster. For example Imaginarium Studios Ltd – a leader in performance motion capture technology recently moved the region, in part to benefit from a Knowledge Transfer Partnership with The University of Bath.

Digital Inclusion is a part of the DNA
ONS data shows that more people access the internet in Bristol than any other core-city in the UK.  Nevertheless, not everyone has the skills or confidence to benefit from this.

Knowle West Media Centre is based in one of Bristol’s most deprived neighbourhoods. It combines creativity with a wide range of digital technologies to empower young and old people alike, helping to make sure that opportunities are available for the many, not the few.  More information can be seen here.

Connecting Bristol is part of Bristol City Council and is focussed on creating a smarter digital future for Bristol. It pilots the potential of the latest smart technologies to ensure that Bristol becomes a resilient, sustainable, prosperous, inclusive and livable place. It works in partnership with other public sector agencies, the private sector and the community and their representatives.

Innovative digital infrastructure is coupled with a local skills strategy
The infrastructure development strategy enabled by SuperConnected Cities, coupled by the R&D strategy of Bristol Is Open, and digital inclusion strategies, is complemented by the skills strategy of the Local Enterprise Partnership summarised here:

Digital skills development exists at every level in the region from apprentice to post-PhD:

  • Digitech Studio School in South Gloucester opened its doors in September 2015. It is the first creative, digital and high tech school in the region.
  • The LEP’s Creative Skills Hub created over 137 entry level positions across 36 businesses, leveraging £730,000+ into the local economy in 2015.
  • The University of Bath’s Centre for the Analysis of Motion, Entertainment Research & Applications (CAMERA) and Centre for Digital Entertainment (CDE) was awarded £3m investment by the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council.
  • The Centre for Quantum Photonics (CQP) at the University of Bristol attracted new investment as part of a national £270m investment by the UK government into quantum technologies.

This level of skills development means the global expertise in the region extends across autonomous systems and robotics, wireless technology, silicon chip design (particularly wireless and multicore) with microelectronics system design and sensors to embedded software.

World class hi-tech business incubation
SETsquared, with bases in Bristol and Bath, (the partnership of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey) was ranked as the best hi-tech business incubator in the world in 2015.

The right place to develop new digital strategy
Globally respected private and public research and development laboratories in the city region’s universities are driving the future of technology from the next generation of the internet, to nanotechnology for new materials, to quantum processing and photonics. This is combined with an extensive skills development agenda, digital inclusion programmes, and innovative and enabling digital infrastructure in Bristol Is Open.  It makes a fertile soil in which to develop internationally competitive digital offerings.