Have you ever wanted to change the world through digital technologies? Over 100 participants had this in mind when they descended upon Imperial College London last weekend to take part in the UK’s first Urban Prototyping (UP London) Hackathon.
Multi-disciplinary teams of developers, programmers, technicians and designers competed for a chance to win over £100,000 worth of awards including up to £80,000 cash in follow on funding. Teams were challenged to create a technology based prototype that would result in real-world changes to either the environment, local economy or local community.
But what is a Hackathon?
Simply put, a Hackathon allows teams of hackers to ‘hack’ large data sets (such as weather / transport / traffic data) over a short amount of time, in this case one weekend.
Ovum-DCE Smart Cities Europe 2012
The Lancaster, London 19-20 June 2012
You can find the Chirpstory for the event here.
In many ways the event revealed the broader problems with discussions around smart cities. There is the aspirational vision – cleaner, less-congested, less polluted and more prosperous cities – contrasted with the complex reality of current “smart” ICT projects, often mired in difficulties around business models, administrative jurisdiction, privacy and security issues and any number of other complex multi-stakeholder problems that crop-up when you try and integrate the physical and digital worlds; problems which go far beyond the scope of a simple technological fix.
Wed 16th November 2011, St. James’ Park, Newcastle
By Claire Thorne
Dr John Baird (Head of RCUK’s Digital Economy programme) launched the second, annual Digital Economy All Hands meeting with an overview of UK DE portfolio, highlighting recent major investments including Digital City Exchange (£6M over 5 years) and MediaCity UK.
John took the opportunity to summarise the DE programme’s achievements to date: investment of more than £138M, funding 96 projects with 400 users since 2008. He went on to announce the four DE sub-themes – Communities and Culture, IT as a Utility, New economic models, and Sustainable Society – in the context of the DE networks call.
Our future digital economy: Creative ownership in a post-scarcity world
19:00 – 20:00, 31 October 2011, Imperial College Business School
Blog by Sherry Morris and Andrew Fletcher
The third Tech City Talk, hosted by Imperial College Business School and the Guardian’s Tech Weekly team focused on intellectual property and copyright, building on the Hargreaves review commissioned by the Government – ‘Digital Opportunity’.
Introduced as part of an administration that was somewhat unique in having had a technology agenda from the get-go, Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, empathized with the need to balance protecting content creators, whilst also enabling innovators, since it was embodied within his role.
Our Future Digital Economy: If You Build It, Will They Come?
18:30-19:30, 24th October 2011, Imperial College Business School
Blog by Sherry Morris and Andrew Fletcher
The second of four Tech City Talks, hosted by Imperial College Business School and the Guardian’s Tech Weekly team focused on whether Government intervention in Tech City / Silicon Roundabout have been beneficial, and how it fits with other clusters and interventions.
Asked if Tech City was simply a brand to attract investment or whether the Government wants to invest in companies on the ground, Eric Pickles, secretary of state for communities and local government, made it clear direct government investment in companies would be the ‘kiss of death.’ He wants to see Tech City as a means for cities to join up globally.
Our Future Digital Economy: Who Will Build It?
18:30-19:30, 10th October 2011, Imperial College Business School
Blog by Andrew Fletcher
Launching a series of talks on different aspects of Tech City, the Guardian’s Tech Weekly team brought together a panel at Imperial College Business School to discuss the big issues.
Minister of State for Universities and Science, David Willetts, kicked things off by highlighting the need to inspire people into Computer Science. This was a theme which was re-visited throughout the evening; How can we create the ‘Brian Cox effect’ in the digital economy? Turing was picked out as an inspiration, and with his centenary year coming up there is perhaps an opportunity there to inspire and bring on the future digital economy generation.