Reading revealed to be the UK’s third largest digital technology city in new census

Digital Technology census


Reading revealed to be the UK’s third largest digital technology city as new findings show that the industry is 25% larger than previously thought

A new census published by The Data City, reveals that Reading is the 3rd best city in the UK for digital technology. The report shows that the city has 11,656 organisations in the sector, covering AI and Data, ECommerce, Cyber, Digital, Gaming, Internet of Things (IoT), MedTech and Fintech. There were also 157 events or meetups for the sector over the last 12 months.

Reading ranks in the top three UK cities in AI and Data, Cyber, Fintech and IOT, coming second to London in IOT and Cyber.

The UK 2019 Digital Technology Census, also shows that the number of digital technology companies active in the UK as a whole is over 25% larger than currently believed, by measuring emerging sectors such as AI which have previously not been quantified. 

To uncover these findings, The Data City created R-TIC (Real-Time Industrial Classification) codes – which provide insight on new and emerging sectors of the industry not represented in the Standard Industry Classification (SIC codes) used by Companies House.

It analysed the 4.06 million active companies in the UK, using artificial intelligence to monitor their websites and digital footprint and correctly identify new areas of activity.  As a result, The Data City found that companies previously classified as, for example, manufacturing, are now also embracing new technologies such as IoT, Digital and Fintech. 

In fact, when investigating these new and emerging sectors in isolation, removing well established ‘traditional’ digital and IT businesses using the R-TIC formula, The Data City found that as much as 58% of the sector was missing from previous analyses, clearly demonstrating the limitations of SIC code classifications.

The Data City classified the data geographically to reveal the top 29 cities in the UK, looking at active businesses combined with the number of events and meetups held, to find the most thriving innovation communities by industry sector, captured in an online interactive map

The census provides a clearer than ever before picture of the UK innovation landscape, to help inform business and public sector decision-making around investment and growth. 

The top ten cities overall are:

  1. London
  2. Manchester
  3. Reading
  4. Brighton
  5. Milton Keynes
  6. Birmingham
  7. Leeds
  8. Bristol
  9. Edinburgh
  10. Glasgow

Alex Craven, Co-founder of The Data City says,

“The 2019 Digital Technologies Census provides the clearest picture yet of the digital technology landscape in the UK.  Using data from Companies House and individual businesses’ own websites it shows how active the community is across eight main sectors, and allows comparison between cities and regions. 

“Our new classifications allow us to ascertain levels of activity in emerging sectors that have never previously been fully evaluated, making this a methodology for the 21st century. 

“The Data City has created a useful tool for businesses, investors and public sector policymakers. Using real-time data such as ours to identify areas of strength can help inform innovation policy, provide an objective basis for investment and inform individual business decisions such as where to locate.”

Tim Smith, CEO of Thames Valley Berkshire LEP adds,

“Reading’s status as one of the UK’s leading tech locations is well established. This new data from Data City provides welcome additional evidence that dives beneath the headlines and helps illustrate how our local tech strengths are evolving. 

“A new wave of world-leading tech firms (such as CloudFactory and Splunk) have made Reading their UK-base in recent years and a diverse crop of home-grown innovative start-ups and scale-ups (such as Ecrebo and VirtualStock) are flourishing.  Our area’s impressive cyber and data credentials are documented in Thames Valley Berkshire’s Digital Tech Sector Proposition and, as this new data shows, the area is well positioned to be at the forefront of the AI revolution.

“The supporting ecosystem is evolving too. With an ever growing meet-up culture, increased collaboration between local tech firms and the University of Reading, an exciting new LEP-funded state of the art digital skills hub (the Curious Lounge) on the horizon for central Reading, together with support from the Berkshire Business Growth Hub, dedicated ScaleUp Berkshire Programme and Thames Valley Funding Escalator, the pipeline of tech talent looks set to remain as strong as ever.”

About The Data City

The Data City is a Data as a Service (DaaS) company that uses data, the web and artificial intelligence to create new, robust and real-time data relating tot eh economy and innovation in the UK.

The Data city matches organisations data from companies house to their websites and uses machine learning to understand what they do and classify them into appropriate sectors. A similar approach is used to understand events and meetup activity. This data is used to understand the activity of UK industry and measure the impact of local and national policy.

You can download the full report from The Date City here.

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