Exeter Science & Technology EXIST February 2016 Meet-up

Jam packed morning of talks on the future of Health, Transportation & Energy

EXIST Exeter Meet-up
EXIST Exeter Science & Technology event

Over 100 people turned up to Sandy Park to EXIST’s first quarterly meeting of 2016. The event was co-hosted by the newly formed Exeter City Futures. Liz O’Driscoll newly appointed Head of Innovation at Exeter City Futures talked about Urban Innovation and how the World’s population is increasingly moving into cities, this includes Exeter. She talked about the opportunities and challenges of the Smart City and how Exeter is ideally placed to be an exemplar – it’s big enough to matter but small enough to achieve a coordinated integrated Smart City.

Exeter City Futures say they are in it for the long term and expect this to be the start of at least a 10 year process building Exeter into a Smart City that the people of Exeter want. The challenges and opportunities relating to Exeter was a running theme for the following talks around, Health, Transportation and Energy.

Brief overview of the Talks

Big Data and Health

Dr Ignat Drozdov, Director, Bering Limited
Dr Drozdov at EXIST

Dr Drozdov talked about the huge amounts of data that health services collect and for one reason or another tend to ignore. He talked about a project in Somerset where the council managed to capture lots of data and with his companies help turn it into useful information around A & E admissions. He highlighted that they discovered the average person costs A & E around £150 whereas a very small proportion of people cost it as much as £8k each! There was a discussion around how this can be useful for Medical services to identify need and allocate resources more effectively. During the questions afterwards there was a debate around the strict need for anonymity and security with such sensitive data.

Presentation Slides In PDF Format

Investment Trends in Transportation Systems

Laurence Oakes Ash, Andromeda Capital
Laurence Oakes Ash at EXIST

Laurence talked about the challenges and opportunities for transportation in cities struggling with growing populations and real-term declines in infrastructure investment. Technology and user platforms can offer opportunities for on demand transportation, most privately owned cars remained parked for 80% of their lives. He talked about where we are now with emerging assistive technologies to a future of fully automatous transportation. During questions two current projects were talked about that are running in the city Exeter City Futures in association with Ashwoods Lightfoot and Devon County Council in association with BlackSwan Data both assessing the usage data of people driving around the city.


Future Energy Networks

Ralph Hudson, Power System Architecture Lead, Energy Systems Catapult
Ralph Hudson at EXIST

Ralph talked about the UK’s Energy Network’s transformation from a fossil fuel power generation to renewable power generating and the challenges that represents for managing load requirements. This is a real problem that has yet to be solved and may need various solutions to change the behaviour of our energy usage. He talked about how the generation, distribution and systems running our Energy networks are antiquated and need to become much more responsive to user demand. The idea of local generation was discussed and how that would work at Local, Regional and National levels. During questions the issue of the current embargo on any new feed ins from South West renewable energy generators was brought up.

Presentation Slides In PDF Format

Through-out the talks there was discussion around the technical challenges ahead of us and also the human challenges. Whilst technology may provide solutions to problems their success depends on change and innovation at a human level. Perhaps the hardest part will be getting people to change behaviour and getting organisations and their management to adopt new ideas.

This event was a good high-level overview of some very big problems. As you know we at Digital Exeter like to get down and dirty with the practical application of ideas. So it will be interesting to see what can arise from these types of event and how we as a community can be part of finding a solution to these problems.

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