The Technology Strategy Board announced, on Thursday, that it will establish a new catapult centre for the digital economy.
The new Catapult is a technology and innovation centre which will accelerate innovation and stimulate growth in this important area of the economy. It will bring together technological expertise to help the UK’s world-leading digital businesses to develop, test and apply new technologies, reducing the risk associated with creating hugely profitable products and services in the future. The centre may focus on areas such as:
* How digital media and content are distributed and used - in order to find sustainable ways to help businesses co-operate to create profitable value chains and services
* The pervasiveness of digital services - addressing the impact of new technologies and systems such as cloud computing and identity management, as businesses and industries become more digital and interconnected
* The blending of digital and physical worlds - looking at how objects such as cars, clothes, and consumer goods can become better connected, enhance our lives and create new business opportunities.
The Connected Digital Economy Catapult will also help businesses that traditionally are less active in the digital market place by transferring knowledge and experience from industries which are leading, such as the the creative sectors. This will help a broad spectrum of UK business take advantage of digital technology and quickly exploit profitable new business models.
Small and medium enterprises will also be able to collaborate with the wider digital value chain and showcase their products using state-of-the-art demonstrators that will be found at the Catapult.
The Connected Digital Economy Special Interest Group will be the main forum for engagement and discussions with businesses and academics and other stakeholders interested in the establishment of this catapult. The forum will also be used as one of the main communication channels and is well worth joining.
Further Catapult centres (formerly know as Technology Innovation Centres or TIC's) are in the pipeline for the future, across a number of sectors. An Advanced Manufacturing Catapult currently operates at in seven UK locations and two other initiatives - Cell Therapy and Satellite Applications - will be set up later this year.
Announcing the Digital Catapault at AR firm, Holition, in Shoreditch, Vince Cable said:
“Long term investment in our economic strengths and being at the forefront of technological development are essential if we are to achieve sustainable and balanced growth. We have world leading, innovative businesses in the ICT, digital and creative sectors which have considerable potential for growth. For instance, a few years ago, there were just fifteen technology start-ups around Old Street and Shoreditch - now there are hundreds of high-tech companies in the area, including Holition where I am today. The Connected Digital Economy Catapult is a practical way in which Government can support industry to maintain its competitive advantage so that they can continue to be leading the way in making products and services that people want.”
Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:
“We are extremely pleased to be supporting such an important technology area with a Catapult centre. With many, if not all, industries searching for ways to utilise digital technology, the opportunity for the Catapult will be enormous. It will also be applicable to all internet-using businesses and industries as they attempt to innovate with digital technology to provide consumers and businesses with new products and services.”
The TSB will now begin the competition to run the centre, considering expressions of interest, written proposals and a process of legal checks before a final decision is made by the Board.