Meeting Notes : BCP Smart Place


Tech for good is a genuinely good thing. And the topic for this months TechSolent webinar demonstrated that in spades…..


In our second webinar of 2021, TechSolent organised a presentation from the BCP (Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole) Smart Place team, an initiative created in conjunction with Dorset LEP to identify technology solutions to some of the BCP Council’s societal challenges. Sarah Levett presented a really interesting approach to collaborating across local companies to create some truly innovative answers to these problems.


In a frankly brilliantly progressive move, BCP council identified that using technology to solve some of its problems was the right answer, but they didn’t have immediately available skills to solve them all internally. On this basis they set up the “Smart Place” initiative, who’s purpose is to collate and articulate the challenges faced within the BCP area, and pull together local tech companies to develop solutions to those challenges. Initial areas of focus were Health and Social Care, Mobility and Transportation and Logistics.


Sarah gave an overview of the process which was to:

- Engage with the Council’s Frontline Service Providers to understand the key issues facing local residents, from homelessness to parking availability.

- Outline these issues in a specification, which is published on a portal to ask local companies to “bid” for inclusion in resolving the issue

- Developing a minimum viable product and pushing forward for funding via the local LEP once the case has been proven.

So far the project has created some fascinating ideas, ranging from improved technology in homes of elderly residents to improve inclusion and healthcare provision, to integrating core data sources to help reduce data duplication across council services for more vulnerable residents. As a call to action, Sarah was keen for any broader businesses, ideally in the local area but not exclusively, to engage in the R&D phases of the project and to register on the portal for access to the challenges when they arise. For further detail, please contact smartplace@bcpcouncil.gov.uk.


Many of the questions we had explored the commercial aspects of the project, which were largely rooted in the audiences experience of working in tech projects and facing business focussed issues such as IPR ownership, collaborative integration and partnership across companies etc. These were all expertly overcome by the BCP guys, who explained that the participants are all focused on where the value in the solution resides – with the residents in “The Place” – and therefore once that principle has been established, carving up revenues and IP Rights becomes a lot less contentious. This is genuinely commercial companies collaborating for the benefit of their local region, a concept well understood by the TechSolent broader community.

Thanks to Sarah and Adrian for their excellent presentation and demo of the portal, and as ever to all the attendees for their interactive engagement. Next one in April.

JON PETCH

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