The Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services (CEMAS) will be based at the University of Glamorgan. The venture is backed with £2.4m from the EU’s Convergence European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Assembly Government.
The centre will be a test bed for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) to design, develop, test and protect the creation of new mobile phone services and applications.
Deputy First Minister Ieuan Wyn Jones said,
“This is a substantial investment in 21st century mobile technology – an investment in the future of our economy and another example of successful collaboration between the Welsh Assembly Government, universities and the private sector.
“Information and Communication Technology is one of the important sectors identified in this government's radical new plan to develop our economy, Economic Renewal: a new direction. It's a sector that offers great potential for future development.
"We are committed to support SMEs operating in the high growth ICT industries, particularly those focused on the creation of more innovative content, services and applications."
As part of the initiative a dedicated commercial manager will assist SMEs to identify market opportunities, demonstrate products to a wide range of existing telecommunications firms and help ensure that their products reach their intended markets.
The creation of the Centre follows publication last month of the Assembly Government’s Delivering a Digital Wales framework, which capitalises on the opportunities of the digital age. The policy will support key aspects of the digital agenda - including building a thriving and competitive digital economy - and complements the UK Government’s Digital Britain report.
Professor Khalid Al-Begain, Director of the Centre said,
“For the first time, SMEs and external service innovators can contribute to the offering of applications and services - but only if they receive access to appropriate support and infrastructure.
"In response to this emerging need, the Centre of Excellence in Mobile Applications and Services will provide a unique web-based platform and telecommunication infrastructure, enabling academic experts to assist Convergence region SMEs to create, develop, and test innovative mobile applications and services prior to market launch.”
Professor Al-Begain added “The Centre will extend its services to beneficiaries of all sectors including ICT, business, health, transport, and security services in the Convergence region to provide mobile technology solutions that improve productivity and efficiency”.
The work programme of the Centre involves conducting awareness sessions to inform SMEs on latest mobile technologies and to explore opportunities for improving their work through mobile applications. It will also engage with SMEs in the whole process of converting ideas into products and taking them to market.
The Centre will appoint seven new highly skilled professionals in addition to existing staff to enable provision of a first class service to SMEs in the Convergence region of West Wales and the Valleys.
The Centre has been testing its next generation network facility with a number of local companies. This piloting phase proved highly successful and with this funding, the Centre will be in the position to roll this facility out to many more businesses.