News for w/c 22nd April 2019

Kcom sold for £504m to Universites Pensions

DCL Search

KCOM Group has been acquired for £504 million after an offer from Humber Bidco Ltd, a subsidiary of the Universities Superannuation Scheme.

The Universities Superannuation Scheme is a UK pension scheme for universities and other higher education institutions.

The company has paid 97 pence per share, reflecting a 34% premium to KCOM’s closing price of 72.5 pence on Tuesday.

Shares in KCOM Group immediately jumped up by 34% on Wednesday afternoon.

Investment in ‘first class connectivity infrastructure’ a priority, EU Commission says

EurActiv

The cable industry’s ambitions of ubiquitous gigabit connectivity have long been hindered by a number of obstacles, including patchy coverage and consumer trust issues. Carlota Reyners Fontana explains what the EU Commission is doing to improve the bloc’s broadband gaps.

The European Court of Auditors have urged shelving EU targets of  providing all Europeans with broadband connection of over 30Mbps by 2020 because of concerns over rural coverage. What is the Commission doing to ensure that broadband connectivity is available to those who live in more rural areas of the bloc?

O2 mulls renewed challenge to BT’s leadership in UK broadband

Share Cast

Telefónica owned O2 is considering making another push into the UK’s fixed-line broadband market in a challenge of local incumbent BT, said Bloomberg on Thursday.

No plan had yet been tabled to the Spanish company’s executive committee and talks were at an early stage, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

In fact, the unnamed sources said Telefonica might yet decide not to go ahead with the project.

BT shares fell as much as 2.1% on the back of the news, but by 1559 BST were trading just 0.49% lower at 224.15p.

PM May approves Huawei for use in 5G networks despite opposition

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Computer Weekly

The UK’s National Security Council has approved the use of Huawei’s networking equipment in parts of the country’s 5G mobile networks in spite of widespread opposition

The UK’s National Security Council (NSC) has reportedly approved the use of Huawei’s networking equipment in non-core parts of future 5G mobile networks, risking the wrath of key allies around the world.

The decision was made yesterday at a meeting of the NSC, which is chaired by prime minister Theresa May, and came despite apparent objections from, among others, defence secretary Gavin Williamson, home secretary Sajid Javid, international development secretary Penny Mordaunt and international trade secretary Liam Fox.

Demystifying digital transformation – A practitioner’s companion

People Matters

Every business model is getting turned on its head. People have to adapt to it in real time. The digital transformation needs a road map. The authors Nishith Sharan and Tushar Khosla suggest a 5 E model in an attempt to demystifying digital transformation.

I have heard and read about the 6D model of Peter Diamandis that explains how technology grows. The basic thesis is that when we digitise anything and turn it into ones and zeros, it has the opportunity to grow like information technology. That is stage 1 and is called “Digitisation”. 

Phase 2 is “Deceptive”. Many technologies that seem like modern day technology from AI to 3D printing have been around for decades. It is the long winter that is deceptive. Doubling .01 gets you .02 which is not very different. It is only when the growth moves to whole numbers that doubling starts to be noticeable. 1,2,4,8,16, 32, 64, 128 … 

Phase 3 is called Disruptive. If you can stream music, why buy CDs? If you can learn for free from the best institutions and teachers, it is only a question of time before education gets disrupted.

Phase 4 is called Demonetised. Software is less expensive to produce than hardware and is often free. Think of the vast number of free apps you have on your phone already.

Phase 5 is called Dematerialisation. The flashlight, GPS, compass, maps are all new apps and you get the functionality without having to carry the physical product. 

The 6th phase is called Democratisation. When powerful technology is available to everyone in an affordable manner, it gets democratised. Smartphones are in that zone. We no longer get surprised to see people at various economic levels carrying smartphones.

Finding the right balance between empathy and tech

Mobile Health News

An interview with Siddharth Sharma, patient advocate speaking at the HIMSS & Health 2.0 European conference in Helsinki this June.

When Siddharth Sharma received a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, his first reaction was to create a spreadsheet of health data.

“As an engineer, I did the most logical thing when I came back from the doctor with my insulin and my needles; I got out my laptop and opened a spreadsheet. I started logging everything to find out what was going on,” he tells MobiHealthNews.

However, Sharma knows that not all patients are as data savvy as him and insists that one size does not fit all when it comes to health technology.

Video project shines a light on tech sector

Eastern Daily Press

The tech sector is rapidly expanding throughout the Eastern Region, and to highlight this a group of local companies are planning an ambitious web video series.

Contributing billions to the local economy and employing nearly 50,000 people, the value of the tech industry in the East of England is massive.

To highlight the significance of the sector, the UEA and Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor are working with Archant – publisher of the Eastern Daily Press – and Tech East to produce a series of videos to display the technological advancements happening throughout the region.

The web series, entitled ‘The Disruptors’, will comprise 40 videos featuring 38 tech companies. The videos will showcase how these businesses are tackling global issues and changing industries.

Swapping to Broadband VoIP from a UK Copper Home Phone Line

ISPreview

The way people use home phone services is changing and many of us will eventually end up replacing our old analogue voice service with a Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) alternative, which uses your broadband ISPs internet connection to make calls. But how do you set it up and move (port) your number? We explain.

Firstly, a little context is required. According to Ofcom, during 2012 UK people made a total of 103 billion minutes of landline calls and this has since fallen to just 54 billion in 2017. Much of this change, which has had a negative impact on fixed line call revenues, is due to consumers making greater use of Mobile phones, internet messaging (Whatsapp, Facebook etc.) and VoIP services.

On top of that the roll-out of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP / FTTH) based ultrafast broadband networks across the United Kingdom will eventually result in the retirement of old copper phone lines, which for many decades have been used to carry analogue phone (voice) signals (PSTN / POTS).

News for W/C 15th April 2019

Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care wins award for most innovative use of 5G technology

Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care has won a national award for the most innovative ‘real world’ use of 5G technology at the recent 5G Realised Conference in London.

The two day 5G Realised Conference celebrated 5G technology and its potential benefits to a diverse range of sectors including health and social care, agriculture, transport and tourism.

Liverpool 5G consortium won the award for a use case at Royal Liverpool and Broadreen University Hospitals NHS Trust (RLBUHT), where 5G technology is being used to support virtual reality (VR) headsets at a palliative care ward.

Rosemary Kay, Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care Project Director, said: “We are very proud to have won this award as it recognises the care and effort our members have put into creating innovative use cases that improve people’s lives.”

Reframing the Digital Transformation conversation in 5 steps

Enterprise Regulars

I’ve spent 2 days at Cloud Expo Europe, the premier London based event covering cloud platforms, hybrid and multicloud approaches, cybersecurity, AI, blockchain and more, as well as well as all of the ingredients of the data centres that support those technologies.  A wide set of tech topics, but within them everyone’s talking digital transformation and it’s dangerous.  Dangerous because, like talking cloud 10 years ago, it means different things to different people, becoming a catch all with too much emphasis on the technology itself, rather than the business outcomes it supports.  It’s the classic mistake we technology marketers have been making with our “widgets” for decades.  We need to reframe the digital transformation conversation!

First, how do we define it?  On the first day I was chairing the Techerati Keynote theatre.  During the stand out session of the morning an audience member asked the speaker that very question.  The speaker was Ian Johns, Chief Architect at Kings College London, who was talking about how you should ride the wave of digital disruption, rather than being swamped by it.

The Three Pillars of Mobile Digital Transformation

CIO

According to IDC, Android is a strategic platform that addresses each one

Overall security, solution breadth, and user-friendly management capabilities are the three pillars of digital transformation, according to Phil Hochmuth, Program Director for Enterprise Mobility at IDC.

In a series of whitepapers sponsored by Google, Hochmuth details how Android is a strategic platform for enterprises to digitally transform their corporate workforces, key operational functions and tasks, and core business models with pervasive mobile technology.

“IDC believes that business decision makers should evaluate mobility technologies based on these three pillars of enterprise requirements — security, flexibility and availability, and IT user experience,” he said.

How New Technologies Will Change GovTech

Governing

An overview of the current state of technology in the public sector, new technologies finally making their way into the space and the numerous benefits that the sector will realize.

Recently the outdated technology that many of our governments run on has been grabbing headlines on Bloomberg and NPR. The GovTech Space is marked by legacy technology, on-premise servers, failed deployments, and enormous consulting contracts that hamper the efficiency of our government professionals throughout their respective government.

Luckily, necessary technological modernization is on its way. A transformation for GovTech is here as technologies designed specifically for the public sector that allow applications to update continuously, scale, integrate, react at lightning speed, have exceptional user interfaces, and are able to handle modifications, updates, and upgrades have arrived.

Zero trust is about more than products

Computer Weekly

The zero trust security model is more than just products and network segmentation, it’s an architectural design principle with identity at its core that needs to be applied enterprise-wide, says analyst KuppingerCole..

Identity, and not the network, is at the centre of the zero-trust security model, according to John Tolbert, lead analyst at KuppingerCole.

“Many people associate this approach with the network, but zero trust is really an architectural design principle,” he told Computer Weekly.

“While a zero-trust security model is definitely applicable at the network level, it is about applying a notion of identity – specifically authentication and authorisation.”

How GDS cut PSN connection costs by using a VPN

Gov.Uk

This case study is part of guidance on moving away from legacy networks.

Objective

The Government Digital Service (GDS) needed to provide staff with a way to access services that still use the PSN.

GDS used its office move as the opportunity to start its migration away from the PSN. The IT team did not want to install any physical connections to the PSN at the new building because they knew it would:

  • be expensive

  • need building permission

  • not be ready in time

  • provide no long term benefits as most staff members were not using the PSN

Managing IT and Telecom Costs in the UK Public Sector

GovTech Leaders

Technology expense management helps government organisations reduce costs, drive efficiency and increase control across the entire IT and communications lifecycle, says Andrew Wyse, Managing Director, EMEA, Calero

When it comes to IT and telecom, public sector organisations face a unique challenge. Leading the way in modern IT and communications to drive digital innovation is an important goal, but with it comes intense pressure on costs and unwavering media scrutiny. Those working within the public sector must achieve this whilst maintaining a tight budget and demonstrating full transparency and accountability.

Public Wi-Fi Kiosks in the UK Are Turning Into Public Censorship Machines

Gizmodo

A telecommunications company, free Wi-Fi service, police departments, and local councils in the UK have developed and deployed a new system that aims to identify suspicious behavior on free Wi-Fi kiosks in the nation and then automatically block related calls.

According to a press release published on Friday by BT—the largest mobile network operator and broadband services provider in the UK—a “new automatic call blocking feature” has rolled out across all InLinkUK kiosks “in a drive to prevent misuse of the free calls service provided to the public.”

How IoT is being used in the public sector

ComputerWorld

Smart lighting, parking and beds – some of the ways IoT is being used in the public sector

Insufficient funding means the public sector is renowned for being slow-moving in adopting and experimenting with new technologies. However, the internet of things is very enticing for public services by providing comprehensive data flows.

The NHS, and a number of local councils in Britain are harnessing the power of connected things to provide insights into how to shape services and make them more streamlined, efficient and cost-effective.

News for w/c 8th April 2019

Virgin Media considers opening up its fibre networks to UK ISPs

DCL Search

 

Virgin Media is considering opening up its full fibre networks to a host of internet service providers, in a move that would greatly expedite the roll out of ultrafast services across the UK. 

A report suggests that Virgin Media’s parent company, Liberty Global, is considering whether to allow ISPs to access its networks for wholesale rates. Currently the UK’s ISP’s, such as Sky, rely entirely on Openreach’s fibre network. The report suggests that Sky’s senior management team has approached Virgin Media as it looks to increase its market reach. 

Virgin Media’s cable networks cover approximately 50 per cent of UK households, reaching 14.4 million homes. 

The move would mean Openreach would face competition on the wholesale side of its business for the first time. 

The decision to offer wholesale rates to ISPs on its networks would dramatically alter Virgin Media’s business model in the UK, which currently relies on it having a monopoly on its ultrafast networks. 

Virgin Media has embarked on its £3 billion Project Lightning which will see the company extend its reach to 17 million UK properties.

 

How 5G Networks Will Benefit State and Local Agencies

State Tech Magazine

Next-generation wireless networks will enhance services in smart cities and public safety.

5G is coming very soon. The fifth generation of cellular technology promises to deliver speeds 10 times faster than 4G LTE wireless networks and cut latency to milliseconds. Not only will speeds be fast but network delays are expected to be extremely few, which should be a boon for city, county and state governments that want to use 5G to power Internet of Things sensors.

5G is expected to enhance mobility services in smart cities and for public safety agencies. “The capacity, speed and latency of 5G service makes it perfect for IoT and smart cities solutions, making objects like light poles, pavement and traffic signals smarter,” Sean Harrington, Verizon’s vice president for city solutions, tells StateTech.

In addition to enabling new applications for smart cities, 5G is also expected to enable a wide range of benefits for first responders, including real-time analytics of video surveillance, vehicle-to-vehicle communications, traffic management and other public safety functions. 

Digital Norm is helping Dorset residents to get faster broadband

Dorset Echo

A friendly new face is showing people in Dorset how easy it is to get better broadband.

Digital Norm has been developed by the Superfast Dorset programme. His family switches to superfast broadband and saves money at the same time. ‘Norm’ has been appearing in town centres, local newspapers, on council buses and social media. And there’s an online animation showing how Norm and his family transform their home WiFi.

More than 97 per cent of Dorset premises can now get superfast fibre broadband and over half of homes and businesses have already switched, making it the norm in Dorset. These faster, more reliable connections mean everyone can be online at the same time, quicker downloads, TV and films on demand and video calling without the annoying lag. But the uplift in speeds isn’t automatic – you must contact your internet provider and ask to switch to fibre broadband. Superfast Dorset won Government funding to create the Digital Norm campaign including the short film, which can be seen at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/superfast

The week in govtech: the biggest tenders and awards (9/4/19)

New Statesman

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…

Tenders

The biggest tender of the week comes from Devon Partnership NHS Trust, which is looking to build an electronic prescriptions system. The deadline for applications is 29 April and the framework is worth £49m.

  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust – EPrescribing and Medicines Administration (“EPMA”) System – £49m
  • Department of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (NI) – Provision of ICT Services and Solutions – £12.5m
  • Fife Council – Provision of a leisure booking system – £10m
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland – Mobile Application Development Platform (MADP) and Associated Services – £8m
  • Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service – Integrated Communication Control System and Mobilisation Solution – £3m

Prior information notices

Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) has launched its version of the local full fibre network programme, an initiative designed to upgrade local authorities’ broadband connections. As part of the project, GMCA is seeking a supplier to provide a minimum of 20 year right of use dark fibre connectivity. The deal is worth £35m.

  • Greater Manchester Combined Authority – Greater Manchester Local Full Fibre Network Programme – £35m
  • Anglian Water Services Limited – Supply of Technical Resources for Emerging and Niche Technologies (Service) – £6.9m
  • NHS Digital – IT Service Management System – £3m
  • Wrexham County Borough Council – WCBC’s Apple Solution Partner for Education – £250k
  • Leicester City Council – Online Booking, E-learning & Management Solution Pre-Market Engagement – £175k

Awards

The outsourcing giant Capgemini has won one of the largest contracts of the week: a £9.2m deal to provide the Ministry of Justice with product management expertise to support the government’s £1bn courts reform project. The contract started in December and will last for two years,

  • NHS Calderdale CCG – Information Technology and Networking Services – £23.2m
  • HM Revenue & Customs – HMRC Messaging – Agile delivery and live support of service orientated components – £20m
  • Northamptonshire Police – Evidence examination and analysis – £20m
  • Department of Finance (NI) – Digital Toolkit Support and Development – £11m
  • Ministry of Justice – HMCTS Reform – Technical Digital Product Management – £9.2m

Employees sceptical about attitudes of employers to digital transformation

Workplace Insight

More than half of employees are confused about the true meaning of ‘digital transformation’ and have a high degree of scepticism about their employers’ appetite for digital innovation, a new poll suggests.

The research into employees’ attitudes toward digital transformation, innovation and cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, conducted by YouGov amongst employees at 500 businesses with 50 or more employees, on behalf of Cherwell Software, found that 57 percent of employees don’t know the correct meaning of ‘digital transformation’: 20 percent of respondents couldn’t hazard a guess at its meaning and 12 percent thought it meant moving to a paperless office.

The research findings go some way to explain why the 2018  Dell Digital Transformation Index placed the UK in 17th place in its adoption of digital transformation, lagging way behind emerging countries like India, Brazil and Thailand.

“It’s obvious that not enough time is being devoted to communicating with employees to develop their understanding and involvement in the process of digital transformation,” said Oliver Krebs, vice president of EMEA sales for Cherwell.  “Unless business leaders bring their teams along with them on this journey British organisations are likely to fail and our ability to compete in the global market place will be severely compromised.”

Over half of workers don’t understand what digital transformation is

IT Portal

Some think it’s about making work paperless.

For some workers in the UK, digital transform is still a complete mystery, new research has found.

A survey from Cherwell Software on a pool of 500 businesses with 50 or more employees found that some workers simply don’t know what it is, and others think it has something to do with transforming the office into a paperless environment.

But it’s not just employees who are sometimes clueless about digital transformation, its meaning and its purpose. It’s also employers. The majority of employees (64 per cent) say their employers only adopt new technology once it already enters mainstream adoption.

Less than one in ten are considered ‘digital innovators’, being the early birds in the digital transformation effort.

Civil Service World

Civil Service World hosted a webinar briefing to learn more about how smarter networks like software-defined networking in a wide area network, or SD-WAN, can lower costs, improve operational efficiency, and create a new citizen experience.

At its most basic level, SD-WAN is a technology that typically sits on top of networks. Realistically, its main role is to look from the application down. What SD-WAN technology gives us is the ability to bring networks together – to look at them from a user perspective and organisational perspective – and start to look at how traffic is shaped, how traffic is used, what happens when network states change, and really make sure that an application experience is built. That’s “Intelligent Connectivity”.

In the past, the way we did this would be to look at things from the network up. We’d build a network with an amount of capacity and then ensure as best we could from the network configuration that the user and application experience was optimal. SD-WAN has approached that from the other side. It’s a technology that gives visibility and control, and is far more dynamic than what we’ve had in the past.

Public Technology

Jason Kitcat has got rid of digital strategies and teams and introduced in a single function devoted to service change

Jason Kitcat has a radical approach to digital delivery in local government. At Essex county council, he has done away with digital strategies and digital teams – he thinks the word ‘digital’ is overused and meaningless, anyway – by integrating a range of disciplines into a single function focused on change.

“In my view, the culture, practice, tools and techniques of the internet age should be a mainstream part of how any organisation addresses its strategic objectives and challenges,” says Kitcat, who joined who joined Essex in 2017 as executive director of corporate development.

“Having a digital team or strategy, or innovation team, and all that stuff, essentially gets the rest of the organisation off the hook. It makes them think it’s not their job. Special people will deal with it. So my inclination was to mainstream it as much as possible.”

A Quarter of Brits Willing to Fund Smart City Solutions

Business News Wales

New research has found an increasing appetite for smart city measures that aim to tackle urbanisation problems, such as congestion and security issues, with almost a quarter (24%) of Brits even saying they would be happy to fund these solutions using part of their own tax contributions.

The study of 1,000 people, conducted by ATG Access, found that this willingness rises substantially when it comes to funding measures which improve transport infrastructure. More than half (57%) would be happy for their tax to go towards smart traffic lights, and 44% for smarter signs which give real-time traffic updates.

Nearly a quarter (24%) said they would also be willing to fund smart barriers that help with incident management.

Investment in the smart city concept looks set to grow, with global spending expected to hit $135 billion by 2021. However, uptake in the UK has thus far been relatively slow with cost often cited as an issue.

News w/c 1st April 2019

2 Million UK Premises Can Now Access Full Fibre Broadband ISP Lines

IspReview

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.

GDS provides guidance on emerging tech for councils

UKAuthority

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.

PipeLine

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.

Fear is gripping public sector transformation

GovTech Leaders

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.

Liverpool technology hub given further £1.48m to explore 5G

Digital Health

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.

Pathfinders money to support scaling up of digital social care

UK Authority

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.

From a Spark to a flame?

Government Computing

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.

Extra £1.48 million for Liverpool 5G Health and Social Care pilot

Home Care Insight

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.

Digital transformation lined up for Highland communities following full fibre deal

FutureScot

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).

News for w/c 25th March

The European Commission recommends high level cybersecurity for 5G networks

Scitech Europa

The European Commission has recommended ensuring a high level of cybersecurity for 5G networks across the European Union, through operational measures.

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:

  • Energy;
  • Transport;
  • Banking;
  • 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.

Looking beyond Brexit: identifying government’s digital future

 

GovTech Leaders

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 centre gets public Wi-Fi

UKAuthority

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.

North’s Full Fibre Future ‘At Risk’

Business Cloud

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.

Smart thinking: How local councils can embrace  5G

Open Access Government

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.

Four hidden benefits of SD-WAN adoption

ITPortal

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

  1. Consumer-grade interfaces for enterprise-grade technology

  2. Super-powered access options and bandwidth capacities through 5G

  3. Thinking in terms of applications and security instead of network provisioning

  4. Regulation compliant hybrid clouds powered by SD-WAN

5G rollout faces long delay if Huawei equipment banned – Three

Trusted Reviews

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.

The week in govtech: the biggest tenders and awards

NewStateman

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

Scottish Government developing single platform for payments

UKAuthority

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.”

News for w/c 18th March 2019

The digital rationalisation of Dorset Council

UK Authority

Matt Prosser, chief executive of the new local authority, explains how it is consolidating digital systems without neglecting the scope for innovation

A consolidation of local authorities is nothing new, but the lessons of the past are of limited value as Dorset Council prepares to become a new entity.

Its chief executive, Matt Prosser, says it has looked at the experiences of Cornwall, Wiltshire and Cheshire East and Cheshire West from a decade ago, but Dorset’s coming together is taking place in a different environment.

“The local government landscape has changed quite dramatically since then, so while we can take some of the lessons we have to find our own path,” he says. “And the digital landscape has changed in those 10 years so it’s hard to take any firm lessons from there.”

New report states people, not technology, must be the focus of smart city planning

Intelligent Transport

‘Rethinking Smart Futures’ draws on five expert roundtable discussions that took place with industry leaders, policy makers and academics throughout 2018.

Failing to put people above technology in the planning of smart cities and transport networks could lead to divided and socially exclusive communities across the UK, says a new report.

In the ‘Rethinking Smart Futures’ report outlines a new vision for smart cities that are socially inclusive and focused on people, enabled by transport and powered by technology and data.

Why does the London Underground still not have Wi-Fi in tunnels?

Wired

The London Underground will soon get 4G, but don’t plan on streaming Netflix on your commute anytime soon

Want a quick digital detox? In London, all you need to do is take the Tube. But, from next year, Transport for London (TfL) says it will roll out 4G coverage on the Underground. It’s a start, but London is still some way behind its big city rivals.

That 4G coverage will join the Tube’s Wi-Fi network, which, since 2012, has let people get online while travelling through London’s myriad of Underground stations. Unlike the metro networks in many other major cities around the world though, in London you can browse only while you’re at a station. So if you’re sitting on the Tube and have that all-important email to send, you will be off-the-grid while you’re in the tunnel; as soon as your train pulls in, it’s a mad dash to find the network and connect, in the hope your train doesn’t pull out just as you hit the ‘send’ button.

Sustaining the Smart City

Compare the Cloud

Smart technology is ever increasingly present in the everyday lives of communities around the world.

As urban areas become increasingly reliant on information technology, IoT gadgets, and wireless networks – evolving into smart cities-, sustainability becomes more and more significant. Cities like this must remain conscious of sustainable solutions to combat urban growth and CO2 emissions. Luckily with smart hnology, many issues surrounding sustainability can be curbed despite energy usage and growing populations. For example, smart meters installed in houses help homeowners and tenants monitor their energy use.

National Infrastructure Commission: Progressing the North

Public Sector Executive

The National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) National Infrastructure Assessment was released in July 2018, making a variety of recommendations ranging from digital technology growth to making the switch to low-carbon energy sources. Professor Sadie Morgan, commissioner at the NIC, delves deeper into how northern cities can be improved for generations to come.

It’s no wonder that the heritage of the north of England is recognised the world over. Few places can rival the mark the north has made on the arts, design, and culture – and that’s before we even consider its place as the cradle of industry.

From Channel 4 setting up its new headquarters in Leeds to companies like Microsoft and Google opening offices in Manchester, there’s a renewed buzz in the north. However, like most of the country, its cities are suffering from congestion, with transport networks under strain, declining air quality, and greater pressure put on local housing markets.

Prepare to seize the power of 5G

Public Finance

As well as eyewateringly fast speeds, 5G could revolutionise healthcare and cut billions off council costs, writes John Thornton. 

A recent report from O2 claims the introduction of 5G will save councils £2.8bn annually, free up 1.1m GP hours, save the average household £450 and generate productivity savings of £6bn for UK cities. Projected savings on this scale deserve further investigation. 5G is short for fifth-generation mobile networks.

Three Factors to Smart City Security (Contributed)

Govtech

No city official wants to see the growth of their smart city initiatives hindered by poor cybersecurity. Here are three ways CIOs can ensure security while benefiting from connected technology.

A smart city seems to be the goal that many city officials are striving for today, the sign that a city has enough advanced technology to support its citizens’ needs. Yet, what exactly is a smart city? To us, it’s not just the use of technology to make things work more quickly; rather, it’s the use of a variety of technology — such as IoT devices, data and services — to break down silos across a city to be more efficient. Whether it be a parking kiosk, road sensor or smart traffic signal, the use of technology to improve a service and connect is when a city truly becomes smart.

GDS recruiting for people to lead new Global Digital Marketplace

Diginomica

The Government Digital Service (GDS) announced plans early last year to expand the Digital Marketplace, making it a platform for governments around the world to use.

The Government Digital Service is recruiting for new roles to head up the delivery of the much anticipated Global Digital Marketplace, an extension of the innovative procurement platform that has diversified the supplier base for British government and opened up the market to SMEs.

Apple will struggle with 5G for years – analyst

Telecoms

Not only will Apple lag its competitors by at least a year in launching a 5G phone, it might still suck anyway according to a semiconductor analyst.

Bloomberg apparently got hold of a research note from Matthew Ramsay, who heads up the TMT semiconductor business at Cowen. He seems to reckon Apple has boxed itself into a corner by ditching Qualcomm as a 5G modem supplier and is now seriously short of good options in that area. He also expressed surprised that Apple has allowed this situation to develop.

Ramsay detailed four main options for Apple for 5G, but he doesn’t think any of them are great. The first is what is generally assumed: that Apple will launch 18 months behind the competition with an Intel 5G modem that is expected to be inferior and not even support mmWave. The recent MWC show saw the first 5G phones launched, but Apple tends to announce new iPhones in September, hence the big lag.

News w/c 4th March 2019

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.

News w/c 18th February 2019

Making a ‘smart city’ even smarter

LocalGov

With so much of a focus on Brexit, it is easy to forget that many local areas will be going to the polls in just a matter of months. To be precise, elections will take place in May for 261 local authority areas in England, six directly elected mayors and all 11 local councils in Northern Ireland.

Naturally, each locality has its specific issues. The solutions to these issues will of course lie at the heart of the election campaigns as they unfold. More and more though, these solutions include increasingly relevant technology for local populations – technology which continues to evolve at an incredible pace.

Latest footprint for Community Fibre on broadband maps

Think Broadband

Central London has had a poor reputation for the levels of superfast broadband coverage for a while now but things are changing with several providers rolling out full fibre and one of those is Community Fibre.

Think Broadband’s broadband map has updated to reflect the latest availability of Community Fibre along with the detail in their postcode search.

5G’s potential won’t be fully realised in 2019

Vanilla Plus

Estimates predict that there will be 1 billion 5G users worldwide by 2023.

The potential impact of 5G technology has been well discussed in recent years, writes Caroline Puygrenier, the director of strategy and business development for connectivity at Interxion. The technology has the potential to dramatically improve data speeds, increase network bandwidth and reduce latency, transforming every industry from manufacturing and marketing to communications and entertainment.

However, despite the first deployments of 5G and the launch of the first 5G-compatible devices expected this year, we don’t anticipate the impact of widespread 5G implementation to be fully felt in 2019. Instead, this year will be more of starting point for change as businesses continue to invest in rearchitecting existing networks and infrastructure ready to host 5G networks.

Why digital transformation holds the key to unlocking Smart Cities

Gov Tech Leader

Anwen Robinson, UK Operating Officer at TechnologyOne discusses the opportunity for local authorities to determine a place within the emerging smart city world – and how they can prepare themselves for the transition.

As everyday devices become internet-enabled and mobile connectivity advances, many UK cities are racing to utilise this data and technology. From smart water grids, that manage the quantity and safety of water consumption to monitoring traffic patterns in order to combat congestion; smart cities and the technologies driving them have the ability to improve the lives of residents, increase operational efficiencies and progress the quality of government services.

Driverless Cars Hampered in UK by Poor 4G Mobile Broadband

DCL Search

The latest KPMG report into the readiness of countries for the adoption of driverless cars (autonomous vehicles) has seen the United Kingdom fall two places to be ranked 7th overall, which is just behind Sweden and Finland. Apparently we’re being hampered by poor infrastructure, particularly 4G mobile coverage and road quality.

The 2019 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index ranks 25 countries by four key categories of progress, including policy & legislation, technology & innovation, infrastructure and consumer acceptance. The United Kingdom actually does quite well for most of the criteria except infrastructure.

Publiv Technology

Health secretary reveals email will be opened up to allow use of ‘any secure email provider’

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock wants the NHS to eradicate the use of pen and paper communications with patients.

Speaking at the NHS England conference taking place this week, Hancock told attendees that he wanted healthcare staff to be able email patients directly about appointments. To help promote the use of email, the health secretary announced that NHS organisations will soon be permitted to use any email system considered to be secure – not just the NHSmail communications service.

The week in govtech: the biggest tenders and awards (12/2/19)

New Statesman

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 Post Office is searching for a series of suppliers to support the delivery of a £357m automation programme. “This procurement is for the provision of transaction processing, managed services and hardware for the automation of a proportion of 11,500 Post Office branches,” the notice states. “Solutions will depend upon the demands of each branch and a number of demographics such as geographic location and cash in/outflow.”

The contract has been divided into five lots, including ATM switching, fraud and security solutions, cash management, self-service hardware and teller cash automation supply. Vendors have until 11 March to submit their bids.

  1. Post Office – Banking Automation – £357m
  2. Bank of England – RTGS renewal – £1,5m
  3. Hertfordshire County Council – Hertfordshire Superfast Broadband – £11m
  4. NHS 24 – Ccbt Software – £2m
  5. Coventry City Council – ERP for UKBIC – £1m

Exponential‐e announces its world-first SD-Digital Platform

DCL Search

Exponential‐e, the British Cloud, Network, and Unified Communications provider, have this week announced the latest phase of its Software Defined Digital Platform (SD-DP) 

SD-DP is an integrated platform designed to underpin any organisation’s digital transformation. The SD-DP is comprised of core and edge computing, bonded with SD-WAN, SD-Data Centre to form a robust, underlying advanced network that enables data to flow freely yet securely between multiple clouds. Combined with multi-various tools and services, these components form an intelligent, agile, safe, and cost-effective digital transformation stack for all modern organisations.

Lee Wade, CEO & founder of Exponential-e, commented:

“With this evolution of our SD-DP, Exponential-e customers have the assurance and confidence that their digital transformation (DX) partner has the full range of professional services and capabilities to help them on their DX journey. Concerns around cloud complexity, business continuity and security can be consigned to the past, along with fretting about fixing their legacy systems. We take care of that. Our most recent technological development for the SD-DP is our Cloud Management Platform (CMP). This allows our customers to manage their data and cost bases of multiple cloud platforms through a single pane of glass. 

GDS sets up self-admin portal for GovWifi

UKAuthority

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has developed a self-administration portal for public sector IT teams to register with the GovWifi service.

It has taken the step to make it simpler for the teams to register their organisations than under the manual process involving emails and phone calls.

The team behind GovWifi is currently testing a prototype and taking user feedback. According to a blogpost by service manager Steve Wood, organisations can already check whether they meet the technical requirements to join the service and create an admin account.

This gives them the ability to add their IP addresses to the server, add team members as administrators and view and agree the terms and conditions.

The blog says that more than 100 local and central government organisations have now signed up to GovWifi, which was set up to give users in registered organisations automatic access to the Wi-Fi service within public sector buildings.

 

News w/c 4th February 2019

Revealed: the biggest suppliers of govtech in 2018

New Statesman

Bytes Software

Neuda

DXC Technology
Fujitsu
IBM
BT
Leidos
Deloitte

IT reseller Bytes Software Services has been named 2018’s biggest supplier of government technology in a new ranking from contracts data provider Tussell.

Bytes topped the list after winning a £159m deal to supply the NHS with licenses to upgrade its entire computing stock to Windows 10, as NS Tech first reported last year. But it is likely the reseller will only retain a small cut of the deal, with the rest going directly to Microsoft.

Neuda, a digital solutions provider, came in a close second, winning £155m of awards driven largely by a £150m contract to overhaul IT at the Northern Irish government’s environment department. DXC Technology came in at third position with (£150m), Fujitsu fourth (£119m) and IBM fifth (£110m).

The proportion of the value of awards won by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rose from nine to 16 per cent, indicating the government still has some distance to go if it is to meet its 33 per cent target by 2022.

New ‘Small Business Crown Representative’ will make sure government gets best value and small businesses have improved access to government contracts.

Innopsis

– New ‘Small Business Crown Representative’ will make sure the government gets the best value and small businesses have improved access to government contracts
  – Martin Traynor OBE is an experienced business leader and deputy chairman of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust
  – Martin also helped to set up visitor centre following discovery of King Richard III’s remains

An experienced business leader has been given the task of boosting the relationship between the government and small businesses.

Martin Traynor OBE is the deputy chairman of the University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, runs his own training and consultancy business and is the former Group Chief Executive of Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce.

He has now been made the government’s new Small Business Crown Representative – a role which will see him make sure the government gets the best value from small business and small businesses have the best possible opportunity to work with the government.

The week in govtech: the biggest tenders and awards (5/2/19)

IspReview

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

Northamptonshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has issued the biggest tender of the week: a framework valued at up to £20m for digital evidence extraction tools. The notice is light on detail but reveals plans to allow police forces from across the country to buy tools and training to extract digital evidence from computers and smartphones. Because it will be set up as a dynamic purchasing system, suppliers can join the framework at any time up until the point at which it closes in 2025

Can ‘Zero Trust’ networking work for the public sector?

Networking Plus

The concept of Zero Trust is being lauded by the Government Digital Service (GDS) as the way forward for all of the public sector’s networking requirements.

Zero Trust originates from a theory that if you know who a person is, what device they are using and where they are, you can set a policy to allow or disallow them access to services and data. If one, or more, of these elements are missing, the user can’t be trusted.

Virgin Media trials 8.5Gbps broadband in the UK

ZDNet

Virgin is using Arris DOCSIS and EPON technology across its existing fibre broadband network to bring speeds of around 8.5Gbps to 50 trial customers in Cambridgeshire.

Virgin Media has announced that it is trialling “multi-gigabit” fibre broadband technology which it wants to push to speeds of 10Gbps.

Arris is providing its Ethernet Passive Optical Network (EPON) technology for the trial, which is taking place across 50 residences in Cambridgeshire and is seeing users experience speeds of 8.5Gbps over its existing fibre network.

Solving the procurement conundrum

Open Access Government

In recent years, it’s fair to say that the UK Government has been working harder to do more business with SMEs to level the playing field in the procurement conundrum

But equally, the complexity of the procurement process has proved to be a huge stumbling block for many. As a result, in late 2018, MPs on the Science and Technology Committee heard from a range of experts on how attempts to open up procurement to SMEs has progressed over the last three years.

The gist of the discussions was that early success in shifting contracts to a more balanced portfolio of suppliers had seen some modest success, but that the trend seemed to be reversing in the last year. One of the underlying causes of this was cited as the procurement processes that are used to make awards, and this is a theme that has received much attention in the last six months in other forums.

What works in networks?

HSJ

The NHS long term plan says networks are going to offer solutions to many of the NHS’ problems but the NHS is a hierarchy and bureaucracy and these three are not organic bedfellows, notes Andy Cowper

It’s interesting when you can’t find any actual source for a quote that you’ve heard used a lot of times in relation to management issues. For me, the latest example of this is “the network beats the hierarchy”.

New security flaw found in 5G communications standards

Computing

5G’s authentication protocol security vulnerability won’t be fixed before first network roll-outs

Security flaws in the Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) protocol will render first roll-outs of 5G networks vulnerable to eavesdropping and man-in-the-middle attacks.

News w/c 28th January 2019

Taking account of a supplier’s approach to payment in the procurement of major contracts

CCS

The Government understands the importance of prompt, fair and effective payment in all businesses’s being paid promptly for work done ensures businesses have a healthy cash flow.

A new Procurement Policy Note sets out how payment approaches can be taken into account in the procurement of major Government contracts.

Welsh Government urged to unite to help boost 5G

Mobile News

Operators have weighed in to advise the best way to build a 5G network in Wales

The National Assembly for Wales has encouraged the Welsh Government to work with mobile network operators or risk Wales being left behind in the rollout of 5G.

The National Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee recommended the action after reviewing the Welsh Government’s Mobile Action Plan earlier this month.

Supply Chain Visibility to focus on SME

CCS

New measures to increase the visibility of subcontracting opportunities in Government supply chains and to provide greater visibility of supply chain spend.

For all new Pulic Sector procurements valued above £5 million from May 2018 will require the successful supplier to advertise on Contracts Finder, subcontract opportunities.

Will this bring new opportunities for SMEs or just increase the administration cost of selling to the Public Sector?

Openreach hiring 3,000 new trainee engineers to boost full-fibre rollout

E and T

Openreach is hiring 3,000 new trainee engineers to help it accelerate its plans to deploy ‘full fibre’ broadband connections across the country.

The company, which was spun off from BT in 2017, is currently undergoing a programme of installing “fibre to the premises” across the UK.

It has committed to reach three million homes and businesses with full fibre by the end of 2020 and intends to achieve 10 million premises and beyond by the mid-2020s, “should the conditions be right”.

The new trainees will be based across the UK, helping engineers upgrade, maintain and install services across the company’s broadband network.

The next phase of the SD-WAN evolution requires integrated security

IT Pro Portal

Cloud is driving fundamental changes in how networks are built, which requires a more flexible network architecture that can accommodate and secure connections to multiple clouds.

The context between SD-WAN and security are in the midst of an evolution that will grow in importance and dominate the WAN Edge landscape for many years to come. That’s because cloud is driving fundamental changes in how networks are built, which requires a more flexible network architecture that can accommodate and secure connections to multiple clouds.

CityFibre extend investment in Huddersfield

Mobile News

Extension comes five years after CityFibre first brought fibre infrastructure to the town

CityFibre has begun work on a £30 million full fibre network expansion in Huddersfield.

The expansion is set to connect homes and businesses to the full fibre network currently in place capable of up to 1,000Mbps.

The new project is in partnership with Vodafone and the first connected homes can expect to receive gigafast broadband from the operator this summer.

First commercial 5G core expected in 2020

Channel Life

Dell’Oro’s latest Wireless Packet Core 5-Year Forecast report shows that the projected five-year compounded annual revenue growth rate (CAGR) for the Wireless Packet Core (WPC) market is 3% (2018-2023).

“Initial 5G New Radio (5G NR) network launches are being implemented with 5G Non-standalone (5G NSA) architectures that utilise the 4G Evolved Packet Core (EPC); therefore we have pushed out by one year (from 2019 to 2020), our expectations of when we will see the first commercial deployments of 5G Core,” says Dell’Oro Group analyst Dave Bolan.

BT selects SevOne Data Platform to Accelerate Digital Transformation Strategy

BW CIO BusinessWorld

IBT selected the SevOne Data Platform to provide its service teams with a single, real-time view of the health of their customers’ networks

SevOne, a leading provider of network and infrastructure management solutions, announced that BT has selected the SevOne Data Platform for next generation performance management to accelerate the execution of their digital transformation strategy.

The SevOne Data Platform simplifies the extraction, enrichment and analysis of network and machine data from across multi-vendor environments, providing users with the capability to collect performance at scale and provide actionable events based on automatic, abnormal condition detection.

GDS awards SMS firms GOV.UK Notify contracts

UKAuthority

The Government Digital Service has awarded two contracts to small companies providing SMS services to work on the GOV.UK Notify platform.

Firetext Communications and MMG Mobile Marketing Group have won the year-long deals, valued at £800,000 each, to provide services supporting public authorities in using the messaging platform.

The contracts, awarded under the IT services category, became live earlier this month are due to run until 17 January next year.