Sheffield Hallam University business students have completed a ‘real world’ assignment to investigate how digital technology could boost Barnsley town centre.

Young people studying a degree in Business Analytics were invited to Barnsley by the local authority’s Economic Regeneration Team and the Digital Media Centre (DMC) – Barnsley’s hub for digital business development.

The group of students conducted a detailed business analysis of the town centre and explored the scope for digital innovation to improve the visitor experience. They identified the business requirements of a possible app for the town’s new Market Kitchen eating place.

Students used various complex tools to assess the environment, customer need and the potential of big data and open source opportunities. They presented their findings via video conference to council officers and commercial software developers at the DMC. It is now hoped a commercial developer may use the students’ research and analysis to take forward development of a town centre app.

Both the University and Barnsley Council hope to repeat the exercise with different projects and a different group of students next year.

Sheffield Hallam University is also a higher education partner of Barnsley’s DMC, which supports a growing community of innovative digital enterprises in the town.