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West Midlands first open device lab opens

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The West Midlands’ first ever Open Device Lab (ODL) has launched at the Innovation Centre at St. Modwen’s Longbridge Technology Park, attracting web designers and developers from across the region.

Longbridge Device Lab provides the developers of websites and online applications with a place where they can test their products on a library of smartphones and tablets, for free.

The launch further establishes the Innovation Centre as a digital enterprise hub, which is attracting organisations keen to be part of a growing community of web businesses.

Established by web design agency Ballyhoo, which is based at the Innovation Centre, the ODL is part of a global not-for-profit initiative that enables developers to test their products on an array of devices.

There are 17 other ODLs across the country – but until now, the West Midlands’ web designers and developers have had to travel outside the region to discover how their websites and apps perform.

Founder of Longbridge Device Lab and Ballyhoo, Alison Chaffey, said: “Until now, web developers based in the West Midlands have needed to travel to Cheltenham, Sheffield or Manchester to test their devices.

“Feedback from people who attended the launch of Longbridge Device Lab a few weeks ago shows this is a much needed facility and we have already received a stream of visits and enquiries from web designers and developers wanting to trial their products.

“The Innovation Centre is the ideal location for this venture thanks to the growing number of digital enterprises based here in addition to the first rate transport links and amenities at Longbridge Town Centre.”

James Teal, manager of St. Modwen’s Innovation Centre, said: “Longbridge is proud to be home to the West Midlands’ first ever ODL. It supports our aim of becoming a world class connected community and hub for ICT companies.

“The Innovation Centre provides an excellent complementary business environment that enables close working relationships to be established amongst a range of organisations, while promoting growth and job creation.”

St. Modwen, the UK’s leading regeneration specialist, has created more than 3,700 jobs as part of the mixed use community it is developing at Longbridge.

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