Brighton's Digital Catapult Centre
In 2015 the Fuse research and the FuseBox24 model underpinned the award of one of only three regional Innovate UK-funded Catapult centres. Digital Catapult Centre Brighton, is led by the Coast to Capital Local Economic Partnership (LEP) with Professor Karen Cham from the University of Brighton and Wired Sussex as co-delivery partners. The Digital Catapult Centre Brighton was housed at FuseBox and the proposal was underpinned by Gillian Youngs’ conceptual framework of an ‘Internet of Place’, a human centred perspective on the Internet of Things. The Internet of Place concept employs the capacity of 5G to accelerate the release of value from real time location-based data.
Digital Catapult Centre Brighton drives local innovation by linking universities and businesses and building pre-commercial research and development findings into market opportunities. Research and technology transfer, including creative arts and humanities skills, have expanded the capacity of SMEs to innovate and develop as a joint force, and thus drive growth in the CDIT economy.
Since 2018 the Digital Research and Innovation Value Accelerator (DRIVA), a European Regional Development Fund project led by Karen Cham, applied her complexity and design practice-based research to extend the innovation ecosystem and FuseBox collaborative principles into the virtual sphere to support creative, collaborative, data driven innovation.
The platform transformed the ‘Internet of Place’ concept into digital reality, delivering the Coast to Capital LEP strategic ‘Gatwick 360’ plan that placed Gatwick Airport at the heart of an innovation eco-system. Karen Cham led the design and build of a live data feed out of Gatwick Airport alongside an online innovation eco-system generator in the form of a platform, which accelerated the knowledge exchange relationships Gillian Youngs’ and Jonathan Sapsed’s research found were needed to drive CDIT innovation. Delivered in partnership with the ArtsDRIVA project, led by Donna Close, SME outcomes included data driven location based applications of AR, VR, digital twins, generative audio, haptics and 5G.
As part of the UK Government’s Digital Strategy, the Digital Catapult Centre has informed the design of the national 5G testbed. The UK Government’s National 5G strategy (2017) commits to working with testbeds and trials to develop, test and iterate solutions with industry users. The Brighton 5G Testbed was highlighted as one of fourteen regional projects that ‘are helping to build the case for 5G networks as well as helping to build expertise and commitment to the digital economy amongst local areas and industry.’ This includes Donna Close’s work with Brighton Dome and Brighton Festival to make it one of the first large-scale performance, arts and cultural venues in the UK to be equipped with 5G technology.
At the launch of the 5G testbed in Brighton, Dr Jeremy Silver, CEO, Digital Catapult, said: ‘This is a major step forward in the wider roll out of this advanced technology, helping take the technology out of university labs and into the market. 5G represents more than just faster internet on the move, it […] offers new companies the opportunity to control their own networks, and enables operators to manage computing at the edge as a new business model for the future.’