The top positions in Vox Urban list of UK Smartest Cities might be changing soon. Manchester is bringing out its big guns: Mi-IDEA, a new Cisco IoT innovation centre, will soon become the leading force behind Manchester’s smart city technology development.
Mi-IdEA – Manchester Inspired-Innovation Digital Enterprise Alliance – is a joint project between Cisco and the Manchester Science Partnerships that involves the city’s two main universities, the councils, and private company Bruntwood Ltd.
Cisco CREATE, the UK based Cisco Innovation Centre, is just one among many similar centres dotted around the world that accelerate opportunities, create networks and foster innovation.
With its innovation centres, Cisco is spearheading IoT on a global scale. The company showcases what is possible with digital transformation and IoT. Building solutions with partners and startups, engaging in rapid prototyping, investing and partnering with startups, accelerators, and universities.
Manchester is Cisco’s first site in Britain outside London that will become a part of Cisco CREATE programme.
Mi-IDEA aims to support early-stage tech start-ups in the region to facilitate the development of new technologies, products and services. By entering into a joint venture with new companies the partnership plans to guide and assist them with expertise, networking, business development, etc.
It will also provide start-ups in a post-accelerator period with a specially developed made-to-measure programme aimed to assist in growth and scaling.
Mi-IDEA have chosen No.1 MSP Central – a new 70,000 sq ft block being built in Manchester – as their HQ.
The partnership is planning to create a technology innovation facility within the block that will not just advance IoT by helping North England start-ups, but also make a great addition to Cisco’s National Virtual Incubator (NVI). The Incubator is an invaluable tool that helps tech and research hubs to link to academic centres and business across the UK and Ireland using video conferencing.
Tech Hubs Outside London Are Growing in Numbers
Creating an innovation centre outside London is a significant step for Cisco.
There is a growing number of IoT start-ups and talents eager to live and set up their business elsewhere in the country. It also means that UK cities are developing their individual economies and their own unique identity to become highly attractive to young and ambitious professionals.
Cities like Leeds, Manchester, Bristol, Cardiff are not competing with London, they are offering an alternative lifestyle which appeals to a growing percentage of young talented professionals who prefer to set up businesses and find employment in those cities.
According to the last year Tech Cities Job Watch report there was a 7% increase in the number of tech jobs outside London compared to the previous year. In the Q4 of 2015 35% of all tech roles posted were outside the capital.
Hiring demand in Big Data and IT security was up 4 and 5% respectively outside London while falling off slightly in the capital.
These numbers signify a positive trend in IT innovation outside London.
Manchester has already been making significant progress as an innovation city and a tech hub.
It is home to Citylabs 1.0 – a joint development between Bruntwood, a commercial property company, and Manchester Science Parks – which is the centre of digital health and biomedical innovation and research.
Manchester University has produced 25 Nobel prize winners to date.
Manchester innovation district – Manchester Corridor – is employing around 60,000 people and generates 20% of the city’s economic output.
Manchester’s Business Rocks summit attracts tech innovation companies, start-ups, and famous IT innovators such as Steve Wozniak, confirming the city’s status as a very successful tech cluster in the UK.
In recognition of its unique scientific heritage and contribution to scientific discovery, innovation and industry Manchester has been named the European City of Science for 2016.
Cisco Innovation Centre being set up in Manchester also means that the city is being recognised as a great investment opportunity by some major companies in the world.