Agenda and minutes
Contact: Jodie Kloss/Alan Garside
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Chris Pearson (West Herts College), Paul Richmond and Barry Wilson (Watford Community Housing). Councillor Ahsan Khan was absent.
Disclosure of interests
There were no declarations of interest.
The minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2017 to be submitted and signed.
The minutes for 20 September 2017 were submitted and signed.
Update on actions
The board to be updated on the progress of actions from the last meeting.
The Board looked at the actions arising from the last meeting:
• Watford Community Housing had been invited to attend the Digital Watford Board (DWB) but was unable to be present at the meeting.
• The communications plan would be covered later in the agenda
• Board members considering their own use of technology would also be covered later in the agenda.
RESOLVED – that the actions from the last meeting were completed.
Digital Watford Communications Plan
The board to receive a presentation on how residents and businesses will be made aware of the digital infrastructure and how to make use of it.
A presentation was received from the Head of Service Transformation.
The overarching objective of the communications plan was to educate interested businesses and residents on the digital infrastructure available and encourage its use.
The communications plan would be used to bring people together and to find out whether people were using the LoRaWAN network. In order to implement a network in the long term there needed to be a business case. The council would support people to develop using the network for example by putting them in touch with Digital Catapult.
The Communications Plan would launch Digital Watford in February to raise awareness with businesses and the community. This would be delivered through the DWB members’ communications channels as well as social media, web pages, Watford Observer, printed media and local radio.
From March – October there would be a focus on features of individual case studies where technology was being used and was making a difference.
In November there would be a review of the success of the Communications Plan.
The DWB discussed the launch:
• Suggested to integrate into the Digital Cluster meetings
• Getting the public to be excited about Watford being digital through a stand in intu or BID areas.
The Head of Service Transformation would consider the suggestions raised by the Board. He also commented on the future of DWB meetings to make them less formal by having a seminar approach with a formal review twice a year.
The DWB considered that there would be two strands to communication: one strand to those who would be excited by the technology and its possibilities including businesses; a second strand with tangible examples for residents of where the technology had been used.
Publicity suggestions from DWB:
• Using letters from Revenues and Benefits or Housing to promote how to report missed bin collections online
• Banners at Watford Junction
• Using dot mailer or mail chimp to promote events and then monitor click rates
• Create a general awareness of what was happening and come back to those who may not have been interested in the first wave of publicity
• Being clear that Digital Watford meant more than just Wi-Fi
• Not just focus on LoRaWAN but promote Watford as somewhere capable of helping people and developing business in a digital way.
RESOLVED: The Board agreed the Communications Plan
Digital Watford initiatives
The board to receive a presentation and discuss the current ideas and initiatives that board members have identified and would like to take forward.
The members of DWB updated the Board on current projects.
• Electric charging bay monitoring: the company provided electric charge points. The 2020 Programme Manager explained that the company had contacted the council to trial a LoRaWAN enabled sensor. When the sensor was first installed it was working, however, it was now not working. This was a trial which had demonstrated that although devices could be purchased they did not always have the support if they went wrong. The company had done some testing and had a new device to try which would come with some support. The device would be installed in Timberlake car park.
Following questions from the Board the Watford 2020 Programme Manager explained that currently the data could be viewed through Digital Catapult but it was very raw data. There were separate companies which provided data visualisation platforms.
• Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) digital projects: Ms Pearson-Rose explained that HCC was looking at a range of digital projects with a key focus on social care. Service users wanted to stay in their homes and there were pilots around the country and abroad using sensors. A number of companies had been to pitch products to HCC but had not met all the requirements as yet. HCC was looking at how to trial technology in Watford using the LoRaWAN system with the aim to see whether it would be possible to deploy devices into people’s homes. HCC was going to trial some sensors in the Watford Library and look at what data would be received. A proof of concept was needed which could then be scaled up.
Following questions regarding timescales, Ms Pearson-Rose explained that the sensors would be installed in the library soon. However, the county was complex geographically and what worked in an urban setting may not necessarily work in a rural location. They also needed to consider the social workers receiving the data and what needs or conditions to target. The project was committed to trialling a network with sensors.
• Watford UTC: Mr Quinn introduced Watford UTC and explained that it could bring expertise and a willingness to be involved; the students were keen people on a journey to expertise. There was robotics kit available to use in lessons and work on projects. The UTC used graphical interface for robot coding (easy to use), however, sitting behind that was real code which could be used. Local primary schools came in to the UTC to work on event management and in the digital space looking at robots and coding. Students worked on a range of different projects and were looking to extend their skill set across the board.
Mr Quinn responded to questions from the DWB that there was potential for partners to tap into a workforce, particularly if the students could undertake a specific project.
Ms Doree described the work of West Herts College students in helping a business set up a social media channel for their events and sales and advising on security ... view the full minutes text for item 14.