As a part of Birmingham Tech Week 2021, West Midlands 5G (WM5G) hosted a demonstration day at Aston Conference Centre, where project leads Riccardo Weber (Manufacturing), Chris Holmes (Transport) and Adrian Smith (Healthcare) shared insights and expertise gained from the rollout of real-world trials across the region.
The session included live demonstrations from WM5G workstream leads and triallists and provided businesses with the opportunity to ask questions and explore further developments, supporting companies– from SMEs upwards–in understanding how digital technologies can be used going forward.
Kim Leary, chair of Downtown in Business Birmingham, said: “I am very excited to be here. Thank you so much to all of the speakers, and the venue. We’ve got robots whizzing about, cars out the front, and prototypes. People are chatting and gaining connections and that is exactly what this week is about. It’s so inspiring.”
Mark Smith, Executive Director of Business Engagement at Aston University, added: “It’s great to welcome you here at one of the five universities in the city, all of which work well together in technology and understand how to commercialise ideas. It’s important to recognise this. We are working with WM5G to futureproof and structure this city.”
He continued: “You can expect 3D printing at lunchtime, in addition to a soft launch of Birmingham’s Knowledge Quarter. There are technology investors, people who are interested in developing ideas, and even financial services that can help support you in your activity. I think there is a lot more scope for technology in our daily lives and I know the people who have tested 5G will agree.”
Henrietta Bradley emphasised that technology will play a significant role in the UK’s pandemic recovery. The CEO of Birmingham Chambers of Commerce noted that during 25th-27th March 2020, 64% of West Midland businesses reported using remote working to enable continuity. Though Birmingham, she explained, is facing skills gaps and inflation, businesses are predicting a 67% profit increase and 5G presents a “unique opportunity”.
Other events across the week include a digital skills day, providing people with the opportunity to hear from thought leaders and learn new skills and a showcase of business support and investment, dedicated to supporting tech startups across the region acquire new knowledge, access investment and connect with leaders.
A spokesperson for Aston University, added: “The government has invested £500 million into 5G. This gives us the opportunity to stand out. Birmingham is the fastest growing place in the country for technology. This says a lot about our skills. We are keen to get a range of backgrounds involved: younger people, and also those who want a change in career. 5G will be really exciting for Birmingham.”