A new batch of independent data has revealed that “full fibre” (FTTP) style ultrafast broadband ISP networks are now available to 2,047,954 premises and Openreachs infrastructure accounts for half of those (1,003,094 premises). Meanwhile the national roll-out from all operators is continuing to ramp-up.
The data from Thinkbroadband tends a trail a little behind what operators are actually reporting and thus the official figures are usually a bit higher than those above, although this gives us a good indication of how much progress has been made. Similarly Ofcom recently reported that Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) style lines now cover 6% of UK premises, which is up from 3% a year ago and roughly agrees with TBBs more cautious data.
The Government Digital Service (GDS) is working on a series of changes in the guidance it provides for local authorities in developing digital services.
It has added a section on emerging technology to the Technology Code of Practice for the design of services, and indicated there are further changes to come relevant to cloud services and the sharing of software and contracts.
The moves come in response to conversations between GDS and a group of local authorities that highlighted some possible shortcomings in the existing guidance.
As a topic, digital transformation has been fodder for many articles, especially the aspects of how important it is and will be for organisations that seek to keep pace with the rising demand for greater service quality and faster delivery at manageable cost.
Digital transformation projects cover a wide range of initiatives, from basic and small-step process improvements to wholesale technology changes. The common factor in all of these projects is the need to drive business value—whether by improving operational efficiency through automation or implementing new intelligent integrations between applications.
The recent focus on Machine Learning as part of AIOps is the latest incarnation of how data analysis is used to make sense of massive amounts of collected data. It’s really about answering an essential question: now that we can collect all of this data, what do we do with it? Understanding how to apply intelligence to automatically raise a ‘root cause’ alert to your operations team or create a trouble ticket for someone to investigate is obviously of massive benefit in improving operational efficiency. The additional business value of performing more advanced automation rooted in deeper data analysis, however, is still not being implemented widely by service providers, meaning that they are missing a big chunk of the machine learning and AI benefit.
Generally speaking, IT leaders in public sector don’t lose their jobs because they don’t deliver day by day, but because the project didn’t work at the end – so there is a growing culture of doing nothing when it matters most. The public sector is almost now nervous to flip the switch and send public sector transformation projects live.
And, who can question that attitude towards public sector transformation, when in 2017 it was reported by The Infrastructure Projects Authority report that one-quarter of the UK Government’s major IT programmes [worth a total lifetime cost of £8bn] were at high risk of failure? The fear is understandable.
The common way around this conundrum is for public sector leaders to insure themselves by buying in big names to support projects. They can say we bought in a well-known brand and that provides an element of protection. Although, it didn’t work with construction giant, Carillion. But, generally, we all know the old adage, ‘nobody got fired for buying IBM.’ It still holds true in some quarters.
A Liverpool-based 5G technology hub has received a further £1.48million to explore how the mobile network can improve health and social care.
Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care already has a number of projects in place following a £3.5million grant last year, including a loneliness gaming and quiz app which connects people with learning disabilities.
The Sensor City programme, made up of 11 organisations from Liverpool’s hospitals, council, universities and technology SMEs, received £0.94million in Government funding and £0.54million from consortium partners, bringing their total funding so far to £4.9million.
The consortium of healthcare providers, researchers and businesses were tasked with looking at how fifth generation mobile technology can improve patient care.
NHS Digital has launched an effort to scale up the use of digital solutions for social care with a competition for financial support.
It has opened the door for applications for shares of £4.8 million under the Social Care Digital Pathfinders grant, saying it is for existing products and services that have already been piloted in small local areas, or have a strong evidence base, with the view to implementing them on a larger scale.
Applications can be made by adult social care providers with not-for-profit status, local authorities and academic organisations based in England. They are allowed to include other organisations in partnerships and consortiums.
The projects that are selected will go through a four-month development phase followed by a 13-month implementation phase if development is successful.
NHS Digital, which is running the initiative as part of its Digital Transformation Portfolio, said there are two main themes in the programme. One is to use standards to support interoperability and support information sharing in the health and care system.
GlobalData’s Rob Anderson asks whether the Crown Commercial Service’s new “Spark” purchasing system will ignite innovation – or prove a damp squib.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has just launched a new dynamic purchasing system (DPS), dubbed Spark: The Technology Innovation Marketplace. It is aimed at providing a simplified route to the public sector market for new technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and quantum computing. So will it ignite a new era of GovTech innovation and revive the Cabinet Office’s ailing procurement unit, or will it turn out to be a damp squib?
Whilst technologies such as AI and distributed ledger are widely hyped as the answer to delivering greater efficiencies and better digital services, there is little evidence to support their widescale use in government today, beyond proofs of concept or sandbox environments such as DWP’s Automation Garage. Now it might be argued that without an outlet such as Spark then exploitation of those tools won’t have the opportunity to grow. This argument may have some validity, yet designing and developing a dynamic marketplace around unproven technologies seems to be overplaying the current opportunity. Estimating the throughput of transactions over the agreements four year lifespan to be up to £650m is even more fanciful.
Europe’s first dedicated 5G health and social care pilot, Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care, has been award an extra year’s funding.
The project will receive an additional £1.48 million from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, and £54,000 from consortium partners, taking the total funding received so far to £4.9 million.
The announcement was made at an event to celebrate the project’s first successful year, at Sensor City, Liverpool.
Eleven organisations from Liverpool’s hospitals, council, universities and technology SMEs have created new 5G supported health technologies to help people in Liverpool’s Kensington manage long-term health conditions like diabetes and epilepsy at home.
The delivery of public sector services in four Highland areas is to undergo a dramatic transformation, thanks to a project that will bring full fibre infrastructure to the region.
The project will bring “transformational and future-proof” gigabit-speed services to schools, libraries, offices, hospitals, health centres and university campuses. In total, more than 150 public sector sites across Inverness, Fort William, Thurso and Wick will be connected to a newly built full fibre network, constructed by CityFibre.
The project has been made possible by a collaboration between the Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, NHS Highland, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) and the Department of Digital Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).