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Newcastle delegation showcase our smart city to the world

November 19, 2019

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Invest Newcastle is attending the Smart City Expo World Congress to showcase our city to decision makers, innovators and influencers from across the globe.

A delegation headed out to Barcelona this week (Monday 18 November) as part of a Northern Powerhouse Trade Mission led by the Department for International Trade.

Attended by more than 20,000 people, the Smart City Expo World Congress is held over 3 days (19-21 Nov) and exists to empower cities and facilitate global innovation and partnership working. Through promoting social innovation, establishing partnerships and identifying business opportunities, this event is dedicated to creating a better future for cities and its people.  It provides a unique meeting point for the whole smart city ecosystem, with 400 international experts and more than 800 companies showcasing their latest projects.

Invest Newcastle have used this opportunity to bring together a regional delegation of ambassadors to leverage greater profile for the city and to support businesses to make international connections. They are joined by Jenny Nelson, Digital Newcastle Programme Manager from Newcastle City Council, Tom Bramald, Marketing Manager from Newcastle Helix and representatives from regional businesses including Urban Foresight,, CityFibre, Bloom and NEPO (North East Procurement Organisation).

All delegates flew out from Newcastle International Airport, starting the morning with a networking breakfast and a presentation from their Aviation Development Executive, Chris Ion.

The delegation has a jam-packed diary of 1:1 meetings, events and keynote speeches, including an invite-only event with the British Consulate-General in Barcelona, who represents the UK government in Catalonia.  On Wednesday morning Jenny Nelson, Digital Newcastle Programme Manager from Newcastle City Council will lead a session in the Cisco Theatre.  As part of the Great Exhibition of the North Newcastle hosted the UK’s smartest street in partnership with Cisco, that used digital sensors to collect data to provide solutions to issues such as congestion, pollution, waste reduction and parking.  Jenny will share with the audience how the city has learned from the project, and what ‘smart’ means for people living, visiting and working in Newcastle, and how the results could benefit other communities around the world.

Jennifer Hartley, Director, Invest Newcastle said: “The strength of our delegation is testament to collaborative attitude of businesses and their commitment to innovation-led growth and opportunity. Our smart, sustainable and digital technologies are making our city an attractive place to live, work and invest in.  For me it’s not just about showcasing the city, it’s about learning from those who share similar urban challenges, sharing our experiences and identifying new international collaboration opportunities.

“There has never been a more opportune time to make new connections, build on strategic partnerships and promote our city as a place to start, scale or grow a business.  We have so many unique assets and by fostering collaboration and new business opportunities, together we can create a better future for our city and its people.”

Newcastle Helix is a test bed for new technologies and plays a significant role Newcastle’s position as a ‘smart city’. It’s home to the National Innovation Centre for Data and the Urban Observatory, who are national players in the world of data and research.  The Urban Observatory hosts the largest set of publicly available real time urban data in the UK, with the data being used to inform decision making and improve outcomes for people in the city.  Tom Bramald, Marketing Manager from Newcastle Helix, has joined the delegation and is using this opportunity to promote our world-leading research, academic expertise and Newcastle Helix as a place for innovation-led business growth.

Urban Foresight, who are based at The Core on Newcastle Helix are the only dedicated smart city consultancy in the UK.  They work with Newcastle City Council to deliver their smart city ambitions through the ‘Innovation Partnership’.

Dr. David Beeton, founder and CEO of Urban Foresight is part of the delegation, as part of their role in supporting the city to invest in technologies and new ways of working that deliver transformational social, economic and environmental outcomes.

He said:

“This world-leading event is an ideal opportunity to learn from other cities and to identify further opportunities for Newcastle to scale-up innovation.  Being part of a delegation adds real value to the strength of our voice, with stakeholder engagement being vital in co-creating and embedding new solutions in Newcastle.”

The Innovation Partnership builds on a series of projects that led to Newcastle being named Smart City of the Year at the Digital Leader Awards. This accolade recognised the city’s approach to using technology to help transform services and improve the lives of residents and further enhances the city’s status and offer to international and global companies.

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