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Business Networking & Events

Digital Connectivity for Productivity? 5G, 4G, Airband, LoRaWAN, Broadband - Smart Rural 3

27th February, 2020   10:30am to 4:00pm

University Centre Shrewsbury, Shrewsbury

"Slow digital services are marginalising rural areas.

Rural inhabitants risk becoming “second-class” citizens in the digital revolution as urban dwellers benefit from next-generation broadband and 5G mobile, MPs have said." The Guardian.

Latest figures suggest 8,500 businesses in Shropshire are located in areas in which it has been identified that more than 25% of lines are unable to receive broadband speeds over 10 mbps, with that figure as high as 46% in some locations.

What impact is this having on productivity in the county?  Is this a solvable issue? The 3rd Smart Rural event hosted by the Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST@UCS), explores the challenges and opportunities rural businesses and communities have for improved communication technologies through the lens of People, Profit and Planet.  

Hosted by Professor (v) Dr. Julieanna Powell-Turner and with keynote speakers from Smart Rural Scotland Co-op, the event will debate the current technologies on offer such as 5G, LoRaWAN and Airband. It will showcase examples of their applications for rural areas as a tool for connecting people and services across the sectors of environment and health.

Agenda (subject to change):

10:30am - Coffee and networking

11:00am - Opening remarks - Professor (v) Dr. Julieanna Powell-Turner, Research Director, CREST@UCS

11:15am - Opportunities for digital connectivity between People, Profit and Place: Iceland Case Study of Smart Rural - Tinna Björk Arnardóttir, Eco-Innovation Project Manager, University of Chester

11:35am - Smart Cities Principles and Smart Rural - Nohman Awan, Digital Construction Lead, Balfour Beatty

11:55am - Current picture of Shropshire in relation to digital connectivity - Chris Taylor, Connecting Shropshire

12:20pm - Transforming the West Midlands - Lesley Holt, West Midlands 5G

12:50pm - Digital Connectivity for Rural Areas - Pip Hallewell,  Airband Community Internet

1:00pm - Lunch and networking

2:00pm - Case Study: Making Rural Scotland "Smarter" - Paul Lindop, Smart Rural Co-op Scotland

2:35pm - MIND THE GAP: Reflecting on rural connectivity and business productivity - Dr Fiona Williams, University of Chester

2:50pm - Rolling out Connectivity - Becki Clark, Connected Places Catapult 

3:15pm - The Future of Rural Mobility - Valerie Hastie, Midlands Connect

3:30pm - Summary and close - Professor (v) Dr. Julieanna Powell-Turner, CREST@UCS

3:40pm - Room available for networking


This is a fully funded event open to SME's based in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin.

People who should attend: 

  • Construction companies

  • Architects 

  • Academics

  • Local Authorities 

  • Policy makers

  • Environmental regulators 

  • Funders

  • Consultants 

  • Surveyors 

#business #connectivity #networking #rural #Shropshire #sustainability #environment #collaboration


Part funded by the ERDF, CREST@UCS offers free support to SMEs in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin for R&I into environmental science, management and technology. (SGH026)