With COVID-19 forcing the majority of staff in many companies to work remotely for months on end, there is huge pressure on IT and network professionals to assure all corporate business and collaboration applications run as they should to meet employee and customer needs and expectations. Embracing digital innovation and leveraging cloud capabilities has become even more critical to address today’s new business demands.
Enterprises are looking to shore up the game by equipping themselves with intelligent, secure and more reliable network connections that meets their requirements. SD-WAN (“software-defined wide area network”) is the leading solution nowadays for this. While enterprises could choose to build their own SD-WAN by combining equipment, software and access technology by themselves, a growing number of organizations are turning to a more flexible and efficient solution: to buy the service from communications service providers (CSPs) as a “network as a service” (NaaS) solution.
Openreach has expanded its Fibre Cities programme to an additional 67 locations. The plan outlines areas where the company will build its new, Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) broadband technology. Work will begin in March 2021 and is scheduled to take place over two years.
The new locations stretch across the country – from Alloway, in Ayrshire; to Helsby, in Cheshire; and Ivybridge, in South Devon – and bring the programme to over 560 towns, cities, boroughs, villages and hamlets. The £12 billion project aims to bring ‘full fibre’ technology to 20 million premises across the UK by the mid-to-late 2020s, assuming the right regulatory and political fibre enablers are in place.
Clive Selley, CEO of Openreach, said, “Despite the challenges of the pandemic we’re continuing to make great strides towards our goal to build ultrafast, ultra-reliable broadband to 20 million homes and businesses.
An e-scooter trial in the UK was halted five days in after locals complained about riders weaving through traffic
An electric scooter trial in the UK has been put on hold just five days after it launched, following reports that riders were mounting sidewalks and weaving in and out of traffic.
Voi, the Swedish company operating 200 vehicles during the trial in Coventry, said it would reduce the speed of the e-scooters and educate locals before the 12-month trial resumes.
Voi rolled out the vehicles to both Coventry and Birmingham on Thursday. More than 5,000 rides were taken in Coventry alone in the initial days of the trial, it said.
The current world context is pushing organisations to make better-informed, faster decisions to survive in a rapidly changing environment.
As organisations begin to shift from the recovery phase of COVID-19 to the renewal, many are focused on what comes next and capitalising on the changes made to the business during COVID-19. The Gartner Board of Directors survey highlighted that seven out of 10 boards have accelerated digital business initiatives in the wake of COVID-19 disruption.
One question we hear frequently when discussing digital business strategy now is, “Why is this digitalisation different from digital prior to COVID-19?” And the answer is pace — the pace of adoption. With a potentially short window of time before a resurgence of the virus or other related disruption, organisations need to act quickly.
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…
The top prior information notices
This week’s featured PIN
Buyer: Home Office
Title: Joint Asset Recovery Database (JARD) IT systems
The lowdown: The Home Office has earmarked £25m to replace a database that keeps a record of assets seized under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The existing product, which is managed by the National Crime Agency, is described in the prior information notice as an “ageing system that has been modified and updated on a number of occasions over its 15-year plus lifecycle”. The replacement system will incorporate a range of services, from case management and data warehousing to debt recovery management and financial monitoring. Prospective suppliers have until 25 September to register their interest in the contract.
The best of the rest………
BT is working with the University of Stirling to launch a 5G-enabled “living laboratory” for central Scotland.
Hailed as the first initiative of its kind for the UK, the environmental monitoring system aims to help organisations in the region make data-driven business decisions.
BT called it “a truly exciting milestone”. The laboratory will have access to BT’s 5G network, which was recently switched on in the Stirling area.
The project, led by the University, will capture, process and share data from across Forth Valley over EE 5G. Initially, using sensors, satellite data and artificial intelligence (AI), the laboratory will provide information on water quality.
BT says the work could help support the shift to a net-zero economy and a green recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.
Deeply integrating security with networking functions provides higher-order protections for applications and data regardless of the paths that workflows or transactions take.
SASE, or Secure Access Service Edge, is one of the hottest topics in both networking and security at the moment. And for good reason. Businesses, and the workers and networks that support them, have been thoroughly disrupted. Organizations, and especially their IT departments, have been wrestling with digital innovation for the past several years. With largely the same budget and staff they had at the start of this disruption, these teams have had to plan, design, implement and manage the rapid expansion of the traditional network to include multi-cloud environments, SaaS applications, the massive adoption of IoT, and next-gen branch offices that need rapid and reliable access to all of these applications and services.
The BT Wholesale Broadband Checker service, which is more intended for UK network operators and ISPs but has always been useful to help consumers check the capability of Openreach based lines, has recently added a few new options at the bottom for ‘Exchange Product Restrictions‘.
Scotland has announced the launch of a new contact tracing app Protect Scotland, as part of its efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus.
The new NHS Scotland’s app has been made available for free download on Apple and Google stores. The app is compatible with iPhones 6S and above and Android 6.0 and above.
The app is designed to focus solely on proximity tracing.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded a £7.6m contract to Tisski, a Microsoft Gold partner and provider of cloud solutions, to optimise and automate key business processes across the organisation.
Under the two-year contract, Tisski will simplify, streamline and digitise manual procedures across all operational areas of the UK government department.
Furthermore, the tech firm will offer a service spanning the software life cycle, including business process analysis, concept development, production, training, live support and consultancy.
t’s a bold, new era for CenturyLink as it rebrands under three separate entities: Lumen Technologies, CenturyLink and Quantum Fiber.
Lumen Technologies’ platform brings together a global fiber network, edge cloud capabilities, and security and communication and collaboration solutions while Quantum Fiber is a subscription-based, fully digital platform for delivering fiber-based products and services to residents and small businesses.
The CenturyLink brand will continue to be used for residential and small business customers over traditional networks.
The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that the government is proposing new Smart Data laws that will enable consumers and small businesses to benefit from better deals and savings via innovative services.
According to the department, Smart Data lets businesses to offer more intuitive, and easy-to-use services to consumers. These include better account and bill management, changing services for savings, and targeted backing for vulnerable consumers, all these made possible by letting businesses to share data of customers with authorised third-party providers in an easy and secure manner.
As an example, BEIS said that Smart Data has enabled services which can alert the trusted contact of a vulnerable consumer if there is a suspicious activity on a bank account.
AdEPT Technology plc has been awarded Platinum Partner status by UCaaS partner Gamma. The companies say this achievement is a credit to AdEPT’s long-standing relationship with Gamma and reflects criteria such as customer service, revenue achieved and technical excellence, and the expertise in the products and solutions AdEPT provision and support with Gamma.
To gain Platinum Partner status, AdEPT needed to meet several high-level objectives and requirements. The achievement of this recognition provides AdEPT access to a host of additional benefits including training, support and premium marketing packages.
Phil Race, CEO of AdEPT (pictured above), commented, “I’m delighted that AdEPT has achieved this status with one of our key strategic partners, Gamma. We have a long, successful and collaborative relationship with Gamma who are an important provider across our marketplace. Our long-term strategy embraces a focus on key partners, in our mission to bring the best offerings available in the marketplace to our customers. The achievement of Platinum Partner status with Gamma is a recognition of this focus, and a positive step for Gamma, AdEPT and most importantly our customers.”
Google just changed the higher education game. Colleges and universities should be paying attention.
Google just changed the higher education game. Colleges and universities should be paying attention.
Google recently announced its Google Career Certificates program, and it’s making waves in the pond of higher education. Among its other ambitious undertakings,Google is starting to act like a university, offering short, profession-specific credentials that can be completed in as little as six months.
Want to become a Data Analyst or a UX Designer? How about a Project Manager? Google Career Certificates provides a pathway to these well-paying jobs — no college degree necessary.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think students will turn down Princeton to get a six-month Google Certificate. But it is a game changer because it forces colleges to think beyond the four-year undergraduate degree to create products that deliver education when, how and where people want it.
Play has always been important for adults. It’s even more important in 2020.
Finding time to play, even as an adult, was never an extra. Science shows being more playful throughout your life makes you not only happier but, surprisingly, also better at your work.
“Research has found evidence that play at work is linked with less fatigue, boredom, stress, and burnout in individual workers. Play is also positively associated with job satisfaction, sense of competence, and creativity,” the Association for Psychological Science blog has reported.
Which means play is always important for adults. It’s even more important in the middle of the nightmare of colliding crises that is 2020.