Fifth generation (5G) networks will arguably form the backbone of our future societies and economies. 5G networks connect objects and systems in critical sectors such as:
- Health; and
- Industry, in industrial control systems which carry sensitive information and support safety systems.
Democratic processes also are increasingly rely on digital infrastructures and 5G networks. The European Commission believes this highlights the need to address any vulnerabilities and makes the recommendations more pertinent ahead of the European Parliament elections this May.
A successful digital transformation of the government will require thinking and adapting like an end-user.
The digital transformation of the government – be it central, local or devolved – is non-negotiable. Increased connectivity, powered by the near ubiquitous ownership of mobile phones means citizens expect to be able to access all types of services digitally and at their convenience, irrespective of whether it’s offered by a retailer or a government organisation.
Those external influences not only shape how government needs to respond to better serve the country but also increases the expectations from their own internal users. Many of them now interact with AI and automated services on a daily basis. They, therefore, expect an instant and personalised customer experience as standard.
In addition, policy and legislation changes bring a new set of requirements and pressures. For example for border processes alone, it was disclosed in a Public Accounts Committee hearing that there are around 30 IT systems in scope across HMRC, the Home Office and Defra that need to be changed or rewritten to meet post-Brexit border controls.
Coventry City Council has set up a free public Wi-Fi network around the city centre.
It has installed the equipment on street furniture and buildings in a project with digital services company Intechnology WiFi, making it available for mobile devices on _CovFREEWIFI.
The council said it will support the provision of real time transport data, information on city centre shops and services and increase access to internet services.
Its digital champion Councillor Richard Brown said: “There are lots of ways where the technology being used can help transport and leisure services.
Open letter signed by more than 20 town and city leaders including Manchester’s Sir Richard Leese warns of fibre broadband ‘divide’ between North and South
More than 20 town and city leaders across the North of England have warned that fibre networks could be needlessly duplicated in some areas and forgotten in others.
The warnings, made in an open letter organised by the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, include signatories Sir Richard Leese of Manchester and leaders from Bolton, Chester, Oldham, Tameside, Trafford and Warrington.
“The social and economic advantages unlocked by full fibre investment are immense, and sit alongside the major new and improved transport connectivity which we also need, such as through the Northern Powerhouse Rail network with a city centre Bradford station,” explained Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leader of Bradford Council.
Local councils could become a key player in the use of these emerging technologies for the benefit of the public, but how can they make this digital shift part of their long-term forecasting, and ensure that 5G projects are a success?
The UK is currently establishing itself as a global leader in the implementation of 5G, with EE pledging to trial the service in five cities by the middle of this year, and other networks due to follow.
Several of the UK’s major network providers, including EE and Vodaphone, have already revealed details of their plans to roll out 5G across the UK in the near future. Admittedly, the process is likely to represent more of an evolution than a revolution, and it will be a few years before 5G reaches the broader general public.
However, the good news for some local councils is that initial developments are being focused in urban areas, with high data requirements and where new 5G-supported mobile device take-up will be greater.
Here are four of the less-considered upshots of SD-WAN I see coming into play over the next year or two.
In an era of digital transformation it might seem to the casual observer that networking capabilities wouldn’t be at the top of IT leaders’ lists as something critical to address today. Surely, one might assume, the structural changes that enterprises all over the world are now pursuing are about integrating processes more tightly with their network, and the network itself is already digitally native
Consumer-grade interfaces for enterprise-grade technology
Super-powered access options and bandwidth capacities through 5G
Thinking in terms of applications and security instead of network provisioning
Regulation compliant hybrid clouds powered by SD-WAN
UK mobile network Three Mobile is warning the arrival of 5G speeds in the UK could be delayed if the use of Huawei equipment is banned.
The UK government is currently deliberating whether enabling the Chinese firm to provide infrastructure would pose a national security risk. The US, Australia and New Zealand have all blocked their operators from using Huawei equipment for 5G networks.
This is the latest instalment of an exclusive series analysing the UK’s biggest public sector tech deals. Every week, in partnership with data analysis firm Tussell, we drill down into the most valuable tenders and awards from the last seven days. Here’s what we found this week…
Top five tenders
The Crown Commercial Service has issued the biggest tender of the week: a £650m framework that establishes a technology innovation marketplace. According to the notice, it “will provide central government and wider public sector departments the opportunity to procure an extensive range of innovative technology products and services”. Because it’s a dynamic purchasing system, suppliers are able to apply to be listed at any point during its two-year lifetime.
- Crown Commercial Service – Spark — The Technology Innovation Marketplace
- Medical Research Council – ARCHER 2 Hardware
- Office of the Information Commissioner – Concessions Contract for Services Relating to Telephone Preference Registers
- Imperial War Museums – IWM Digital Transformation Programme
- Greater Manchester Combined Authority – Careers Application Platform – Suppler Engagement and Tender
Hugh Wallace, a transformation lead, wrote in a blogpost on the Scottish Government website that “payments as a platform” made more sense than trying to redesign every government system that currently accepts payments.
“Building a single platform also means we can establish standards that will work across government,” Wallace wrote, adding: “It will be quicker for us to set up new services, or retire old ones. When new payment technologies emerge, we’ll be able to securely add them to the platform once, for the benefit of everyone.”