The West Midlands is at the forefront of harnessing the power of technology. The region’s ‘tech’ economy is worth £15.3bn, whilst the digital and creative sector is worth over £5bn, according to a recent WISE (West Midlands Insights on Society and Economy) report.
The report also stated that SMEs that use two or more business management technologies can experience productivity gains of up to 25% while 85% of technology decision makers in the West Midlands feel the region is a good place to start and grow a technology business.
Getting business support along the way
When it comes to harnessing the power of technology to set up or grow your business, you’re not alone – Birmingham City University’s College of Computing has a long-standing track record of working with industry through consultancy, contract research and live projects.
Recently, students have played a crucial role in developing a new financial app for TABBx, a digital startup. The project focused on improving the app’s user experience and functionality through targeted user testing with a specific emphasis on catering to diverse communities in the West Midlands.
Jakub Hoepfner, in his second year at BCU studying Computer Science, was one of the students who took part. He said;
‘Collaborating with app developers on a live project was a transformative experience. I fedback and offered insights on the user experience/user interface design and overall usability. It has broadened my understanding of both business and app development, something I can take back onto my course. Bridging the gap between theory and application in a real-world setting has been a remarkable and impactful learning journey.’
As well as working with students, businesses can also benefit from academic knowledge. Among the College of Computing’s many other projects are the Data Analytics and AI group that supports businesses with net zero transformation. For example, the group have developed an automated floorplan reader to support energy assessments and created a new system to maximise the efficiency of EV charging.
Other collaborations include the Digital Media Technologies group who are pushing forward accessibility through wearable systems such as guidance shoes for visually impaired people to help with wayfinding
The upcoming Digital STEAMhouse Labs, set to open later this year, underscores BCU’s commitment to driving innovation and fostering meaningful industry-academia partnerships.
Joanna Birch, Director of Innovation, Enterprise, and Employability, stated;
‘All BCUs leading academics are based in STEAMhouse and are open to industry collaborations. The work of the College of Computer reflects the effectiveness of our collaborative approach and STEAMhouse’s role in developing user-centred digital products and services, showcasing tangible results for our industry partners.’
Access expertise through STEAMhouse
STEAMhouse’s membership packages offer the best way for businesses to access the University’s innovation expertise – allowing opportunities for collaboration and engagement. Find out more about how your business can benefit from STEAMhouse memberships.