Public Technology

Published in February 2017, the Government Transformation Strategy oulined a bold vision for comprehensive and enduring reform, and set a range of ambitious targets. As we enter the final stretch of its three-year itinerary, we examine the progress made to date, and how far is left to travel

The technology sector is renowned for its proliferation of nebulous buzzwords. There is often a very close inverse correlation between the frequency with which terms are used, and the precision with which they are defined. To wit, “innovation”, “solution”, and “disruption”.

‘Transformation’ is another word wielded widely and woollily. But, thankfully, erstwhile Cabinet Office minister Ben Gummer has provided a handy definition.

He says: “To change – and to do so at pace and at scale. This is the meaning of transformation.”

Minister says tech innovation needs scope for failure

UKAuthority

Minister for Implementation Oliver Dowden has said it’s “OK to fail” in trying new technologies for government services.

Dowden, whose brief inside the Cabinet Office includes oversight of the Government Digital Service, made the statement in a GDS podcast dealing with the experience of his first year in the post.

Talking about the technology innovation strategy on which GDS is currently working, he said one of the priorities is to highlight the best of what government is doing with emerging technologies and how it can be applied elsewhere.

CPRD plans new public health research portal

UK Authority

A unit within the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency is working on a new portal for the submission and tracking of research applications.

Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), which provides anonymised data for public health research, is looking to develop an alpha version of the portal over the next six months and a beta version in the following six.

This is part of its programme to digitise existing processes, including eRAP submissions from researchers and epidemiolgists (scientists who study diseases within populations of people).

GDS – Going Downhill Slowly?

Government Computing

In what was billed as an ‘Industry Briefing’, the Government Digital Service (GDS) this week outlined what its Technology Code of Practice (TCoP) is all about.

The event  was attended by representatives of around 40 suppliers, though we suspect many will have left the room none the wiser of its value in their quest to deliver assistance to the much-needed transformation of public services.

Mark Barrington, GDS Deputy Director for Technology Policy and policy advisor James O’Neill gave a short presentation which focused rather more on what GDS is known for than why the TCoP is relevant to suppliers. This seemed somewhat ingenuous to the audience, most of whom will have had some dealings with the Cabinet Office unit in the last 7 or 8 years.

Microsoft names end of support date for Windows 10 Mobile

Networking Plus

Microsoft has published the date on which it will ‘end support’ for its troubled Windows10 Mobile devices as 10th December 2019.

The computer technology giant, which all but admitted defeat in the ultracompetitive mobile phone market back in 2016, quietly updated its FAQ in mid January and said December is when the devices will cease to receive new security updates as well as other staple features.

In an ‘End of Support’ document, Microsoft has instead recommended customers still using the devices to switch to iOS or Android. The page further notes that help ends on 11th June, and “security updates, non-security hotfixes, free assisted support options, or online technical content updates…” will end on 10th December 2019. Some applications will have access help for a further three months post the switch off date.

Smart Cities: Trends to expect in 2019

IT Pro Portal

There are three key trends that will impact smart cities in 2019. Let’s take a look.

From Alphabet Lab’s high-tech transformation of Toronto’s waterfront, to Bristol’s award-winning citywide communications network, the number and scope of smart city projects across the world is on the rise, with analysts forecasting the market will be worth more than $2.5 trillion by 2025.

The fundamental objective of any smart community is to enrich the lives of residents and make local governments more efficient in responding to their citizens’ needs. From security to convenience to revenue generation, smart city applications will change the way cities operate and the way we live and work. But it all starts with connectivity – a smart city’s residents, machines, vehicles, systems and applications must be connected, and in most cases that involves fibre infrastructure. There are three key trends that will impact smart cities in 2019. Let’s take a look.

‘Give towns 5G networks before rolling them out in cities’, demands Labour MP in response to Brexit

Mirror

Towns should benefit from 5G technology before cities in a bid to tackle the “divide” that triggered Brexit , a former Labour leadership hopeful will demand.

Yvette Cooper issues the plea for boosted networks in a pamphlet, Healing the Divide, produced by the Labour Tribune MPs Group.

Calling for government to develop a “proper industrial strategy for towns”, she says: “It needs to shape the impact of technology and globalisation so towns can benefit, and to empower towns to seize new opportunities and benefits rather than repeatedly losing out.

Accelerating Past the 6 Key Challenges of Deploying 5G

Light Reading

Network operators and vertical industries are under attack from both traditional and non-traditional competitors.

To get – and stay – ahead, they must continuously reinvent their differentiating strengths and capabilities – in other words their DNA. This is particularly critical as 5G comes into view. As they look to deploy and leverage 5G and transform their technology, we see six main challenges that network operators will need to overcome.

 

  • Spectrum availability and network deployment feasibility
  • Strategy use cases and business model
  • Device innovation and technology breakthroughs
  • Network deployment approach

  • Architectural and platform innovation

  • Operational complexity

Rural broadband receives £45m boost

Gov Tech Leaders

Money will be made available through grants to local authorities

Rural businesses and communities are set to benefit from improved broadband access as part of a £45m boost by the government.

The new funding for the government’s Rural Broadband Infrastructure Scheme adds to the £30m investment announced last year, increasing the total pot of funding available to £75m following a positive response and a high number of applications from local authorities.

The money will be made available through grants to local authorities that have already applied for funding, in areas where broadband services at speeds of 30Mbps or faster are not available or planned. The funding will be used to support full fibre wherever possible.

It follows the launch of the Government’s Future Telecoms Infrastructure Review this week which outlined plans to prioritise hard-to-reach rural areas for roll out of full fibre connectivity.