Skip to main content Skip to navigation

HARRIET’s high tech HAT to help make Birmingham a Smart City

irene ngBirmingham households will be first to pilot new technology being developed by WMG at the University of Warwick that aims to create the next generation of 'Smart' homes with “smart” things working together in a “smart city”.

WMG has secured funding from the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Digital Economy Theme to partner with Birmingham City Council to create the HARRIET (HAT Resource Integration and Enabling Tool) project. This will equip homes with technology and software to create a HAT (Hub-of-all-Things), which aims to assist individuals to better understand their household behaviour and make “smarter” money saving and time saving decisions based on the data they then share on how they act as consumers within their homes see

The 18-month £485,000 project will work with volunteer households and individuals in Birmingham to collect, analyse and transform the “big data” about product and service consumption produced by modern households on a daily basis that will be stored in individuals’ personal HAT database.

Currently, there is very little understanding among researchers as well as industry about how consumers interact with the data they generate within their households. This research project will study these interactions between actual households and their self-generated data, and this information will be fed back to individuals and households through the HARRIET system to assist consumers in becoming ‘smart’ and enabled to make more informed, optimal and self-aware consumption and purchase decisions.

Cllr James McKay, Cabinet Member for a Green, Safe and Smart City said: -

“Birmingham provides a unique ‘living lab” in the development of smart cities and we want people from across Birmingham to be the first to benefit from these ‘intelligent tools’ to help people become ever smarter consumers and citizens.”

“Birmingham City Council's support for this project is part of developing a stronger partnership with the University of Warwick, other local universities and the private sector to encourage the practice of innovation in the city with a real impact on people’s lives.”

As the UK's largest local authority, Birmingham City Council looks after 1.1 million people in over 400,000 households sitting at the heart of a £94 billion regional economy. It is also landlord to 60,000 homes. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit (2013), Birmingham is set to become a 'hot spot' city - 43rd in the world by 2025, over taking many world capital cities

THE HARRIET and HAT projects are among the cutting edge research work conducted by WMG’s Service Systems group led by Professor Irene Ng at the University of Warwick. Her research group aims to advance the knowledge of value-creating service systems, to help organisations innovate, compete and make better decisions in the design and management of their value propositions, create new business and revenue models as well as new markets/platforms to allow for open innovation. Professor Ng says:

“The HARRIET and HAT projects are based on the understanding that personal data can be a valuable asset for consumers to use and trade with product and service providers in exchange for better-customised products and services or even financial savings or rewards. Product and service providers will also be able to create more customised products and services that will be highly attractive to consumers. The creation of a market for personal data is crucial for the future growth of the digital economy, and for job and wealth creation both in the UK and globally.“

For further for information for media please contact:

Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845


Peter Dunn, Head of Communications, University of Warwick,
UK Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860 email:

PR59 PJD 29th April 2014





Further Information:

Lisa Barwick, WMG, University of Warwick Tel: 024 76 524721 or 07824 540845


Peter Dunn, Head of Communications, University of Warwick, UK Tel: 024 76 523708 Mobile 07767 655860 email:


Useful Links:


Professor Irene Ng profile