Greater Manchester is to become the first region in the UK to use new data science to comprehensively map its technology sector.
MIDAS, Manchester’s Inward Investment Agency, has commissioned The Data City to benchmark the region’s emerging technology capabilities against other areas in the UK.
It will highlight Greater Manchester’s strengths and assets, using data-based evidence to attract potential investors and new businesses.
The Data City is a data science and software company which uses a combination of open data, licensed data, data from the web, and artificial intelligence (AI) to create real-time accurate insights into economic questions. Its team has created a unique set of tools that provide always-up-to-date analysis to inform investment and growth decisions and accelerate innovation in the UK.
The new company launched in September 2018, having grown out of a longstanding partnership between ODILeeds and Bloom Media. The two companies have together built a groundbreaking technology platform capable of using open data and innovative web analysis to find out where businesses operate, what sectors they work in, and the technologies they are using.
Rather than having to manually curate lists of businesses based on broad-spectrum information such as SIC codes, The Data City’s platform uses a sector mapping tool, capable of assimilating detailed information from company websites and analysing their language to understand exactly what they do. This allows them to identify disruptive technology trends and then find businesses associated with them.
Thanks to the speed and accuracy of the process, The Data City can draw upon information from the 4.2 million active businesses in the UK, over 100,000 technology and innovation events, and nearly 200 million scientific papers and patents to constantly update a platform showing business developments and innovation trends in real time.
Once the region’s technology sector has been comprehensively mapped, The Data City will build upon the results by identifying companies most able to benefit from Greater Manchester’s unique strengths. At the end of the six-month project, a number of events will be held to showcase the findings and publicise Greater Manchester’s offer.
Paul Connell, co-founder of The Data City, said: “The Data City uses a unique platform which processes and analyses data quickly and accurately, and which can provide definitive economic insights, based on information found on the web and through open data channels.
“We believe we can drive economic growth in the UK by providing data-based evidence for decisions which can help businesses expand, accurately identify priority areas for investment and inform economic policy.
“As well as allowing us to draw on a much wider range of information, our unique process applies sophisticated analyses based on keyword criteria and removes the expensive and time-consuming data collection stage.
“It speeds up report generation and allows us to share not only the immediate conclusions but also constantly updated and openly published data. This can be freely accessed and used to make and evaluate decisions on an ongoing basis, and we also offer an optional consultancy service to help interpret findings.”
Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester is the UK’s leading digital city-region and an emerging player on the world stage. This is no accident – through our crowdsourced digital strategy, we’re supporting businesses to innovate and thrive, which makes us attractive to both start-ups and global companies.
“We have the infrastructure, secure digital environments, and the talent pipeline to make things happen. This puts us in the perfect position to trial new technologies: we’re agile enough to get up and running quickly, but large enough to test at scale before rolling out pilots UK-wide.
“Through this visual mapping project, Greater Manchester will be able to showcase our success in the digital sector, setting ambitious benchmarks to measure up against, and using accurate data to encourage further investment into the region.”
Tim Newns, CEO of MIDAS, said: “Greater Manchester is already established as a leading UK tech region, with a host of cutting-edge technology firms located in the area, and a strong performance across all areas from the Internet of Things (IoT) to virtual reality and AI. It is also home to leading research institutions and universities.
“By fully understanding and harnessing our technology sector we can become one of the best places in the world for developing these capabilities to generate growth, attract investment and invite world-class businesses to locate here.
“We are looking forward to seeing the results from The Data City’s research and will be making its findings open and accessible to showcase our strengths in emerging technology and establish the region at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution.”
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