Defence and security company Saab has taken an office within Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) in the latest evidence of the city’s growing reputation as a tech hotspot.
The company has chosen C4DI as the UK base for a new software development team customising SAFE, a cutting-edge system for emergency services organisations.
Simon Read, UK Director, from Saab’s Networks and Public Safety business unit, said “We’ve chosen C4DI as the location for our new team as it offers the opportunity for us to be part of a technology hub and digital community with software development expertise. Our intention is to work with people within C4DI on research and development projects in areas such as artificial intelligence and predictive analytics.”
Developed and owned by Hull-based regeneration company Wykeland Group, the C4DI building is the centrepiece of the £15m @TheDock development within the rapidly-evolving Fruit Market waterside quarter. Opened in December 2015, C4DI has been acknowledged widely as one of the UK’s leading tech hubs.
The recent Tech Nation 2017 report found the digital sector in Hull added an average of £254m to the local economy per year over four years, with a 21% increase in digital businesses during the past year. The report also named Hull as the most cost-effective place in the country to run a tech business and said C4DI was driving digital growth by “providing co-working space, tech incubation and corporate innovation”.
C4DI Managing Director John Connolly said Saab was the latest business to locate a tech innovation team within C4DI, including Escada Group, which supplies control systems to the corrugated paper manufacturing industry.
He said: “It’s fantastic that a company such as Saab, which has a worldwide reputation for technological innovation, is joining the C4DI community.
“Increasingly, the tech capabilities required by large companies are highly specialised and delivered by niche digital businesses or individual experts, which we have in abundance at C4DI. We not only house those experts, but also use them to build specialist teams to lead or work on projects for larger companies.
“It’s a unique approach and a model we’ve proven at C4DI with many organisations benefitting from skills within the building. This, in turn, enables start-ups to grow and develops the wider community. It creates a virtuous circle of investment, innovation and growth.”
Dominic Gibbons, Managing Director of Wykeland Group, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Saab to Hull and the C4DI community.
“Our of the key reasons for establishing C4DI was to create a focal point for the digital economy in the Hull area, to support the growth of local companies and employment and to attract inward investment.
“Saab’s decision indicates C4DI is really helping to put Hull on the map as a centre for digital excellence and innovation and it will raise further the city’s profile as a tech hotspot.”