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  • UK broadband speed test results for May 2020
    It is time to share our analysis of all the speed tests our visitors and users of our broadband speed test technology are recorded in May 2020.
  • To see the coronavirus’ effects on your business or suppliers, Dun & Bradstreet offers COVID-19 Impact Index
    Dun & Bradstreet, which measures risk and business credit scores, recently introduced its COVID-19 Impact Index, a resource to help business leaders see and understand the current impacts and potential business disruptions on companies, their customers and supply chains due to the pandemic.
  • What is ITIL and How Does It Relate to IT Asset Management?
    Developed in the 1980s by the UK Government, the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) is an all-encompassing framework that details the most important IT practices. It is designed around the concept of providing value and focuses on the idea that IT systems must be used to offer a tangible benefit to businesses.
  • The biggest govtech deals of the week (3/6/20)
    This is the latest instalment of an exclusive series analysing the UK’s biggest public sector tech deals. In partnership with GlobalData, we’ve drilled down into the most valuable tenders and awards from the last seven days. Here’s what we found this week…
  • Google Cloud eyes public sector push after signing MoU with UK government procurement chiefs
    Google Cloud follows in the footsteps of Microsoft and Oracle by signing MoU with the UK government, which should pave the way for broader adoption of its technology by public sector
  • How to Sync and Access Your Data Across Devices
    Moving your data from one device to another is a pain. It’s enough of a pain that most software services these days offer some kind of data transfer tool when you set up your new device. Unfortunately, most of the time these “migration assistants” are garbage.
  • International voice traffic spikes 20% during COVID-19
    International roaming traffic dropping in the region of 30% during the coronavirus pandemic, though international voice traffic increased 20% year-on-year in March, while the duration of phone calls was up 30% in March and over 60% in April 2020 compared to 2019.
  • How digital tech can help address the COVID-19 mental health crisis
    The COVID-19 pandemic is quietly damaging the mental health of everyone across the world. During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been laser-focused on black-and-white statistics such as the death toll to measure the gravity of the outbreak, but what about the grey areas in between? Not only must we deal with the immediate threat to life but we must also ready ourselves for the mental health fallout caused by lockdown measures.
  • Wireless upgrades from Cisco, Aruba, Juniper aim at helping businesses reopen safely
    Cisco, Aruba and Juniper are unwrapping new applications and services aimed at helping organizations safely re-open their facilities when due to the COVID-19 pandemic permits.
  • UK announces funding for boosting security of consumer smart products
    The UK government has announced a £400,000 funding competition for innovators for designing schemes aimed at enhancing the security of consumer smart devices under the ‘Grant Programme for Consumer IoT Assurance Schemes 2020/21’.
  • Digital procurement’s new frontier: Closing the knowledge gap with market intelligence tools
    The last several weeks of the COVID disruption has laid bare just how little companies sometimes know about their suppliers. It has become evident that truly knowing your suppliers goes beyond which one has passed their certifications or which one is hitting their KPIs.
  • Network Tool Sprawl: Enabling Flexibility While Managing Chaos
    Three principles for keeping traditional tool sprawl problems in check while providing the flexibility and breadth needed to secure, manage, and maintain your network.
  • Meet UK’s 80 female technology leaders of tomorrow
    As it stands, women occupy just 16% of IT jobs in the UK and make up less than 14% of CIOs, less than 10% of CEOs at technology companies and less than 5% of board directors at technology firms. With the aim of contributing to the drive towards improved female representation in UK’s technology scene, ‘Future Stars of Tech’ launched two years ago.
  • Leading with Certainty During Uncertain Times – Three Priorities for IT Investments Today
    With business conditions changing rapidly and in ways we never could have imagined only a few months ago, it’s critical to assess how to best prioritize IT investments and initiatives.
  • BT Strategy Targets “Green” Recovery from COVID-19 Crisis
    Broadband and UK mobile giant BT Group has today launched two new UK initiatives, the ‘Green Tech Innovation Platform’ and the ‘UK Electric Fleets Alliance’, which they say will help to form the foundation for a climate friendly recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and help to drive the country’s “Net Zero carbon emissions.”
  • Why service providers and vendors are tuning up home-based SD-WAN services
    ith millions of employees now working from home, service providers are looking for ways to offer more secure, manageable services into those home offices. SD-WAN could emerge as a prime technology that better enables work-from-home (WFH) and work-from-anywhere (WFA) scenarios for enterprises. In short, home-based SD-WAN is doable, but it may not look like current SD-WAN offerings. Before we get into the details, it’s worth noting that Versa Networks CEO Kelly Ahuja said “The home is now the branch” in an interview with Futuriom founder and analyst Scott Raynovich in a FierceTelecom story. During several interviews since Raynovich’s story ran, I’ve asked if the home is now truly the branch.
  • Update on the future of GOV.UK
    In November last year I posted about our plans for the future of GOV.UK. We want to provide trusted, joined-up and personalised interaction for users, so that we can provide the right things to the right people, in the way they want to use them. Since then a lot has changed. GOV.UK has been at the centre of the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, providing vital and up-to-date information and services. GOV.UK has repeatedly seen record demand, peaking at over 132m page views in a single week (and that’s just of those who consent to analytics tracking – true number approaching 300m?). We have worked across the public sector, including with colleagues in the NHS and local authorities, to build and launch services – from scratch – in just days, to help people receive essential supplies and to help organisations offer their support.
  • UK joins US-led Covid-19 HPC consortium to tackle prevailing health crisis
    The UK government announced its decision to join the global Covid-19 High Performance Computing consortium (Covid-19 HPC consortium), a private-public effort led by the US and IBM, which has been set up in response to the pandemic. Bu joining the consortium, UK’s researchers and scientists are expected to get access to the largest and fastest supercomputers in the world where they can quickly carry out complex calculations. This is anticipated to speed up the UK’s coronavirus research rapidly, and through the use of advanced modelling, develop further treatments, gain knowledge, and get an understanding of how the virus behaves.
  • DASA announces funding competition for MOD’s defence innovation priorities
    The UK Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) said that £1m of Defence Innovation funding has been allocated for civil sector support for the innovation priorities of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). In this connection, industry and academia in the UK have been asked to file their ideas to help the Ministry of Defence with its most pressing problems in handling future threats. It is an open call from the ministry, which wants innovative ideas to come out from the competition that can help boost the defence and security of the country. The idea can be a concept, product or service, which may be at various levels of maturity.
  • SpaceX Crew Dragon docks with the International Space Station
    SpaceX just completed another milestone in Crew Dragon’s historic journey. Astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley have successfully docked the capsule with the International Space Station just under 19 hours after launch from Cape Canaveral. The largely automated process was uneventful. The crew tested manual operation at one point, which they said behaved much like the simulator. Don’t expect a hasty return after this. Behnken and Hurley are expected to spend weeks aboard the ISS before returning to Earth. The capsule’s solar arrays are only rated for 119 days in space, so it will have to return by the fall no matter how eager the astronauts might be eager to stay. However long they stay, it’s a historic moment — this is the first time a crewed private spacecraft has docked in orbit. If all goes well, this is an important step toward making space more accessible.
  • The importance of data centres during the pandemic
    During the early days of the coronavirus outbreak many wondered if the internet would end up going down due to the dramatic increase in traffic from remote working, distance learning and people keeping themselves occupied while stuck at home. In fact, research from Cloudflare revealed that internet usage swelled by over 25 percent in most major cities around the world as a result of lockdown measures. Thankfully though, data center providers were able to upgrade capacity to handle this added strain on their networks.
  • EU Court Overturns 2016 Block of O2 and Three UK Merger
    The European Court of Justice (General Court) has today annulled a decision by the European Commission’s competition authority, which in 2016 blocked mobile operators O2 and Three UK from merging. The ruling found that the decision to block the £10.45bn deal had failed to prove that such a merger would damage competition. A merger between Three UK and O2 was always likely to attract a disdainful eye from regulators because it would reduce the number of primary Mobile Network Operators (MNO) in the United Kingdom’s mobile telecoms market from four to three, which is something that Ofcom, the CMA and EU competition authorities all warned could affect competition (i.e. less choice for consumers, damage the MVNO market and higher prices).
  • Virgin Media UK Bids Farewell to the High Street – Shuts Stores
    Cable and fibre optic broadband ISP Virgin Media UK has today decided that they will NOT reopen any of their 53 remaining high street retail stores after the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) lockdown ends, although all of those impacted by the move (341 staff) will be offered alternative roles within the company. Arguably the writing for this move has been on the wall for awhile and the operator has already significantly reduced their high street presence. At the start of this year alone Virgin Media revealed that it intended to close 25 more of its stores and kiosks across the United Kingdom, but we didn’t expect another bombshell to follow quite so soon.
  • Survey on use of Covid-19 contact tracing app draws mixed reactions
    Initial findings from a study by researchers at Swansea University and The University of Manchester on the use of the UK’s planned Covid-19 contact tracing app has evoked mixed reactions. The study so far found that only one-third of people will be downloading the app, who indicated they will do so for the “greater good”. The rest of the survey participants responded that they will not be downloading the app or are not yet sure about it. Some of the commonly shared concerns among the people are that the contract tracing app will infringe on the privacy of individuals and that it will stigmatise those infected with Covid-19. Certain participants in the survey also believe that the app will not be used by a sufficient number of people for it to be effective.
  • UK officials’ focus on price damages IT procurements, report finds
    The UK civil service focuses too closely on price in procurement decisions, a new report has claimed, and “lacks the capability and capacity to fully understand” how new IT systems will create “societal impacts such as excluding certain groups of people from services, biased decision making, or a lack of privacy.” The result, it argues, is that “these implications are often not given due weight, particularly in a technology context, when many cannot be quantified in monetary terms.” The report, Buying better technology in government, has been produced by think tank Doteveryone – which was founded by Martha Lane Fox, the digital entrepreneur who helped set up the Government Digital Service (GDS) in 2011. It argues that civil service organisations should improve their ability to understand the implications of different choices in digital systems’ design and development, and create processes to assess their impact following delivery.
  • UK edtech sector found to be fastest growing in Europe, says report
    The educational technology sector (edtech sector) in the UK has been found to be among the fastest growing in Europe as per new figures compiled by Dealroom.co for the Digital Economy Council.
  • Time to Rethink UK Smart Cities?
    The COVID-19 pandemic has created a sudden rise of awareness of the unpreparedness of modern societies to deal with the consequences of widespread lockdown. But, says GlobalData Public Sector’s Tony Cripps, the shrewd use of ICT offers the potential for cities to finally channel their inner “smartness”.
  • Data privacy is in the same position as cybersecurity five years ago
    It has taken years for the technology and telecoms industry to take security seriously, and now we are at the beginning of the same story arc with privacy.
  • UK Public Sector Procurement Tracker: COVID-19 – April 2020 Update
    Across all sectors of the UK public sector, the number of technology procurement opportunities has sharply decreased as a result of the global pandemic COVID-19.
  • New appointment arrives to clean up Three’s network fiasco
    UK telco Three has announced the appointment of Carlo Melis as Chief Network Officer just as the Huawei saga starts to rear its head once again.
  • COVID-19 – EE Report Reveals Internet Traffic During Lockdown
    EE (BT) has published their latest Mobile Network Data report from February to May 2020, which tracked the changing trends and habits of the UK’s most used internet apps and services throughout lockdown. The report also revealed a 45% increase in data (mobile broadband) use for communication services (WhatsApp, Skype etc.).
  • How Cloud Desktops Can Ensure Business Continuity
    As the current pandemic has shown, business continuity and disaster recovery have become more complicated than merely finding one alternate office site for all employees.
  • Vodafone Idea Offers Customer Service On Whatsapp through AI Powered Virtual Agent
    Vodafone Idea recently launched VIC – an AI-powered digital customer service and support virtual assistant for its customers. It is now live on the Websites, My Vodafone and My Idea Apps, and on one of the most popular messaging app, WhatsApp.
  • Airline-chasing lawyers leap on Easyjet for £18bn after 9m folks’ data, itineraries nicked
    A law firm that is already chasing British Airways now claims it is suing Easyjet for up to £18bn, intending to take a modest £5.4bn cut for itself, after nine million people’s data was stolen from the airline’s servers.
  • So how are your remote working tools shaping up?
    By now you’ve got this working-at-home business covered. Even if you find you’re occasionally eating your own weight in biscuits, you’ve bought a lighting kit to look professional on video calls, and you’ve won the fight for bandwidth by bribing the kids to stay off Houseparty.
  • What is IoT? The internet of things explained
    The internet of things (IoT) is a catch-all term for the growing number of electronics that aren’t traditional computing devices, but are connected to the internet to send data, receive instructions or both. There’s an incredibly broad range of things that fall under that umbrella: Internet-connected “smart” versions of traditional appliances like refrigerators and light bulbs; gadgets that could only exist in an internet-enabled world like Alexa-style digital assistants; internet-enabled sensors that are transforming factories, healthcare, transportation, distribution centers and farms.
  • Local authorities to receive extra £300m for test and trace services
    Local Authorities in England will be supported with an additional £300m in funding to help roll out the new test and trace service. The Department of Health and Social Care announced today (May 22) that local authorities will be ‘central’ to supporting the new service, and will be asked to develop tailored outbreak control plans, in collaboration with local NHS and other stakeholders. Work is to begin imminently, focusing on identifying and containing the potential areas of outbreaks in workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools.
  • Government Considers Zero Huawei Kit in UK Telecoms by 2023
    At the start of 2020 the UK gave broadband ISPs and mobile operators a green light to use only non-core focused telecoms kit from Chinese giant Huawei, including a cap to reduce their market share. But new reports allege that the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, could be about to do a dramatic U-turn and shock the industry. Officials have long been concerned about the security implicates of deploying Huawei‘s kit into the country’s telecoms infrastructure and we won’t repeat all that again (see the article linked above). Much of this pressure has come from the USA via President Trump, which adds a political dynamic due to their bitter trade dispute with China.
  • NHS login deploys iProov’s Flashmark facial verification technology
    IProov said that its Flashmark facial verification technology has been deployed for verifying users signing up to NHS login across the Android and iOS platforms. After an initial launch on Android, the company’s technology is now available on the iOS version of the NHS App as well. According to iProov, its facial verification technology allows users across England to remotely, securely, and conveniently create their NHS login at a time when they need it most. Deployment of the Flashmark facial verification technology for this purpose removes the necessity for manual and in-person verifications, said the company.
  • MoD makes major commitment to Azure
    The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed a £17.75 million deal with Microsoft to build a private cloud infrastructure on the Azure platform. This will make it the largest customer in Europe for UK hosted Azure services, under a deal set to run from the beginning of next month until the end of April 2022. It has awarded the deal without competition, citing the company’s position as being the only one able to support the required services within the UK at the necessary scale. In addition, the MoD has already moved Microsoft’s Office 365 service and has needed regular and extensive access to the company’s consultants with the appropriate security clearance in the UK. The contract award notice states that the ministry could not do what it needs on the platform if it contraced with a third party consultancy, and that it has evidence that direct links to the product developer enable it solve issues unique to its requirements.
  • UK.gov splashes out on 40,000 new devices amid COVID-19-fuelled homeworking boom
    Key British government departments have bought thousands of new devices to cope with the COVID-19-fuelled homeworking boom – as well as signing up for unprecedented numbers of accounts with videoconferencing services. The Ministry of Defence, for example, ordered 13,500 laptops, more than 3,200 tablets and 2,200 phones since the crisis began in March, according to research from the Parliament Street think tank. Figures obtained under Freedom of Information showed that the MoD had also purchased a whopping 9,476 Office 365 licences. Mr Nadella and the crew in Redmond will be rubbing their hands together with glee. In total the MoD, Home Office, Cabinet Office, Treasury and Ministry of Justice bought more than 40,000 new laptops, fondleslabs and phones between them. By contrast the tight-pursed Department for Transport, as well as the Foreign Office, bought nothing new – except for 15 Zoom licences. A more connected MoD took out 550 Zoom licences since the measures to contain the virus began, however. Ever the elite department, the Cabinet Office obtained 59 MacBook Airs, 91 Elitebooks and 68 iPhone 6s.
  • Socitm supports local authorities with ‘a new local normal’
    The Society of Information Technology Management and modernisation (Socitm) has published a document to help local authorities continue their ‘astonishing’ response to the Covid-19 crisis. New ways of working have been an essential part of the continued public services delivered across the UK. Local authorities have been ensuring communities and the most vulnerable in them are protected, solutions are shared and the process is as simple and integrated as possible to accommodate staying home throughout the lockdown. Socitm’s new document Planting the Flag: a new local normal, showcases the ideas and experience from its members and partner associations around the world to act as a blue print for local authorities to thrive post-crisis.
  • Choose flexible edge deployments carefully
    Each edge-computing deployment has very specific requirements, but since the need for edge applications over time may shift, it’s important to find an architecture that works now but is flexible enough to meet future needs. Many edge-computing deployments are driven by very specific needs, but since new needs may arise down the road with a different set of edge requirements, IT leaders should adopt edge-computing architectures with flexibility and adaptability in mind. The fact that all edge-computing systems have certain things in common – complex combinations of hardware, applications, infrastructure software and networking – doesn’t mean they should all have the same design.
  • Global Accessibility Awareness Day Minister calls on public sector to ensure digital services are accessible
    Today, Thursday 20 May, the Government Digital Service (GDS) marks the ninth annual Global Accessibility Awareness Day with a series of expert-led webinars and resources for public-sector organisations. The resources and webinars will run throughout the day and provide additional guidance on improving the accessibility of online public services. This activity comes just over four months before the compliance date for public-sector websites to meet online accessibility regulations.
  • Comms Business launches the Road to Recovery campaign
    Comms Business has launched a new campaign to support the Channel in preparing for the ‘new normal’ businesses are facing. The experts are heralding a downturn in the economy is imminent and the importance of getting as much of the economy back to work, as safely and efficiently as possible, has never been more important. The Road to Recovery kicks off this week with a market survey, supported by BT Wholesale. This survey will help the market benchmark itself and help your businesses make critical decisions moving forwards.
  • The biggest govtech deals of the week (20/05/20)
    This is the latest instalment of an exclusive series analysing the UK’s biggest public sector tech deals. In partnership with GlobalData, we’ve drilled down into the most valuable tenders and awards from the last seven days. Here’s what we found this week…
  • Amid the pandemic, using trust to fight shadow IT
    With most workers scattered at home and trying to come up with their own ad-hoc IT workarounds, there’s an easy way for IT shops to build trust: communicate.
  • Will remote working trends endure beyond lockdown?
    It is most likely anyone reading this article is doing so from the comfort of their own home, but the question is whether this has become the new norm is a digitally defined economy?
  • The Need for Network Analytics to Support the New Normal for Mobile Communications
    #StayConnected! As the hashtag goes, ensuring seamless connectivity has been one of the key priorities for mobile operators during this COVID-19 outbreak. With the pandemic spreading rapidly throughout the world, social distancing and self isolation have become the norm. This however, has massively disrupted our existing daily routines, not just our lifestyles but also in the way we work and in how the entire economy operates. These effects in turn, have resulted in massive changes in the way we consume mobile services and have started making an impact on the investment priorities for the telecom industry as a whole
  • Facebook expands in e-commerce with new shopfront offer
    Facebook is expanding into e-commerce with the launch of a new shopfront feature on the social network and Instagram. Businesses will be able to set up their own shop on Facebook and Instagram free, talk with customers over Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and even make payments for goods purchased with Facebook’s checkout service.
  • CCS strikes Azure deal with Microsoft
    The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) has announced a new arrangement with Microsoft for discounted pricing and beneficial terms for public sector organisations to use Azure Cloud Services.
  • COVID-19 – Openreach Begin Phased Return to In-Home Installs
    Some good news for those waiting to get a new UK broadband or phone line installed. Openreach’s (BT) engineers are today beginning a “phased return” to conducting work in-home, such as repairs and provisions (installations) of new ISP products (e.g. FTTP, G.fast, Phone Lines etc.).
  • UK government brokers new deals with telecom firms to support NHS staff through Covid-19
    The latest announcement follows two previous deals made by the government with the UK’s major internet service and mobile companies in March and April. Post Office, Voneus, Community Fibre, Spectrum, Wightfibre, Ask4, Zzoomm, Lycamobile and iD mobile have now agreed to provide connectivity boost for some or all of the Covid-19 period.
  • Safe Distancing Technology for the Workplace Launches in the UK
    Cadline UK is pleased to announce the introduction of new technology: iTWOsafe. As social distancing continues to play a critical role in the wellbeing of employees returning to work, iTWOsafe technology enables staff to monitor safe distancing and assist with business continuity.
  • NHS looks for remote monitoring tech
    NHSX is seeking suppliers to help scale up remote monitoring across the health service in England, particularly for Covid-19 patients, and will go out to tender shortly
  • Scottish health boards to trial coronavirus contact tracing technology
    The Scottish government has announced that a contact tracing technology will be trailed at three health boards, as part of its new measures to suppress Covid-19.
  • Code Powers Request to Support Virgin Media’s EV Car Cabinets
    Last year saw Liberty Global and sibling broadband ISP Virgin Media announce a new plan to harness some of their existing cable ducts and street cabinets to help support the UK rollout of 1,200 new EV car charging sockets on residential streets. Today we have a small update on that project.
  • Verizon closes out deal to buy video conferencing company BlueJeans
    Verizon wrapped up its deal to buy video conferencing company BlueJeans Network on Friday. While Verizon has yet to put a price tag on its BlueJeans acquisition, which was first announced in April, it previously confirmed that it paid below $500 million. With the deal in-hand, BlueJean’s 390 employees, as well as its founders, have […]
  • AG Barr seeks ‘legislative solution’ to make companies unlock phones
    The FBI was able to crack the iPhones of the Pensacola shooter without Apple’s help. Last December, a Saudi Arabian cadet training with the US military opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three soldiers and wounding eight others. The FBI recovered two iPhones, and after failing to access their data, asked Apple to […]
  • Huawei takes swipe at US following ‘pernicious’ export restrictions
    The new US rules require overseas chip firms that use US tech to apply for a license before selling to Huawei. TSMC may already be caught up in the clash. Telecom giant Huawei said Monday its business will “inevitably be affected” by the Trump administration’s attempt to restrict global chip supplies to the company.

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