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Future Cities Catapult launches a new AI network that brings together industry and cities looking to develop and adopt AI

Future Cities Catapult has launched URBAIN, a new network between industry, cities and researchers focused on accelerating the development and adoption of AI and Analytics in our cities.

The goal of the URBAIN network is to create new market opportunities for businesses and cities hoping to apply AI and Analytics to cities by fostering and unifying:

  • Confidence in customers who are ready to invest time or resources in new products
  • An ecosystem of UK business offering tried and tested products that deliver real impact to customers, ready to pilot new ones with city authorities, or seeking signposting to funding opportunities

At our launch event we welcomed over 60 people to the Catapult – a mixture of central government, local government, SMEs, large businesses, academics and think-tanks – as we outlined the purpose of the network.

Brief presentations from experienced speakers on applying AI and Analytics to cities were followed by a survey and networking session where members got the chance to be introduced to one another.

Rob Whitehead, Programme Director for Knowledge and Communications at Future Cities Catapult said, “The launch of URBAIN demonstrates what Future Cities is all about. By bringing together leading operators across business, government and academia, we are creating the connections that will deliver for the opportunities presented by AI.”

We learned a lot from early members of the network. They really value networking for opportunities with the AI fields predictive modelling and machine learning of most interest. Transport, mobility and housing and planning are the city services our founding members are most interested in.

Here’s what Future Cities Catapult are going to do next based on what we were told:

  1. “Make us aware of grant funding opportunities” Each quarter we release The City Innovation Brief, which provides a summary of upcoming funding opportunities available to UK organisations for application. When our next edition is published, we’ll highlight all the AI opportunities available to this group.
  2. “Help us assemble multi-partner teams for research funding applications.” We’re thinking of hosting lightweight “Collaboration Parties” on some city AI funding calls in the future. Do you think this is a good idea? Let us know by contacting a member of our team.
  3. “Connect us to the best and latest AI service providers” Keep your eyes on the Catapult website for more events on AI soon. The next URBAIN Network event will be in six months.
  4. “Provide us with tightly defined use cases and case studies of AI in cities”

This one we’re throwing back to our community. Please use #urbainUK to share any case studies through Twitter or LinkedIn.

How can you contribute to this network?

Aside from hosting physical meet-ups at the Urban Innovation Centre in London, we are encouraging members to grow this community online through using the social media handle #urbainUK to share case studies, blogs, and experiences with one another. Here’s some ideas on what you can do next.

  1. Sign up to the mailing list for this network
  2. Share this article with other people who might like to join this network
  3. Use #urbainUK to share case studies, blogs, and funding opportunities on Twitter and LinkedIn
  4. Explore with your organisation how AI might change the way it delivers services
  5. Join us at an URBAIN or other events later this year

We’re looking forward to growing this community with others. For more information about URBAIN please contact Charlotte Hutton or Jon Robertson.


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