UK technological infrastructure not meeting demands of businesses

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infrastructureThe UK’s technological infrastructure is failing to keep pace with the availability of broadband and mobile services and not meeting demands of small businesses and homes, according to Ofcom’s Infrastructure Report 2014. The report outlines the challenges facing the Government as it seeks to deliver appropriate technological infrastructure for both businesses and consumers. The report suggests that  although there is an overall improvement in the availability and quality of broadband services, many remote and rural areas aren’t being connected quickly enough, there are too many urban ‘not-spots’, a lack of superfast broadband for small businesses and no discernible plan for the uptake of the next generation of ultrafast broadband. The report found the average UK household or small business is downloading 53 Gigabytes (GB) of data on their fixed broadband line every month.

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Third of European workplaces to introduce wearable technology in 2015

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Third of European workplaces will introduce wearable technology in 2015

One third of European businesses plan to introduce wearable technology to the workplace next year, but the majority of organisations have yet to introduce a policy to deal with the change. A European online survey by Ipswitch to determine the readiness of businesses for wearable technology in 2015 has discovered that despite the widespread adoption of the latest BYOD devices  over the next 12 months, very little thought has been given to the impact wearable technology could have on network performance and security. In fact, over three quarters of businesses in the UK, France and Germany (77 percent) admit they have no policy for managing the impact of wearables joining the corporate network and only 13 percent of organisations report that they have a policy in place to cover managing the impact of wearable technology. More →

Most people will continue to work in traditional offices for foreseeable future

Most people will continue to work in traditional offices for foreseeable future

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The office remains the favoured location for work worldwide but there remains an ongoing mismatch between perceptions of the productivity and performance of flexible working employees and the reality, says a major new report from Dell and Intel. According to the Global Evolving Workplace Report based on a survey of nearly 5,000 employees worldwide, the idea that remote workers are less productive is particularly apparent in developed countries. In the UK, people are two times more likely to believe that colleagues who work from home are less rather than more productive. In Germany, 75 percent of respondents saw the ability to work from home as a special privilege. Meanwhile, of those employees surveyed in developing countries, over one-third (34 percent) see home workers as more productive, compared to 32 percent who believe they get less done.

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It’s no surprise a third of homeworkers choose to work in their pyjamas

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Third of homeworkers admit they work in their pyjamas When I worked for a large publishing house in the 90s, occasionally one of us would ask to work from home. My then editor always had an enlightened policy towards the home-working concept, telling people that she didn’t care if they worked in their pyjamas as long as they met their deadline. In the digital era, home working is a lot more accepted, and according to a new survey, working in your pyjamas is still in vogue, though the 10 per cent of people who admit to working naked must have huge heating bills. The study by Altodigital reflects the usual trade-off associated with flexible working, with 40 per cent of homeworkers claiming their productivity more than doubles, but motivation has a limited scope; peaking at just four hours a day, before it trails off. I’d argue that exactly the same thing happens in the office. Just because people are perceived to be ‘at work’ it’s assumed they are working. More →

HR managers appreciate importance of IT, but don’t work with IT people

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HR managersResearch sponsored by Sungard Availability Services claims that while almost two thirds (63 percent) of the UK’s senior HR managers believe a closer alignment with their organisation’s Chief Information Officer will be vital in realising their department’s ideas, only 12 per cent currently work very closely with the IT crowd. The findings of the report show that 97 percent of HR professionals believe the CIO is very capable in supporting business growth through technology including enabling mobile and flexible working (58 percent), creating new ways to communicate with employees (64 percent) and driving efficiencies (66 percent) Nevertheless, the HR department profess to be big supporters of technology within the enterprise – with over two thirds (68 percent) stating that if the CIO was not sitting on the board within their organisation, then they should be.

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Next ten years will see a surge of activity in new smart cities era

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fs_gfx_smart-cities-concepts-v1Researchers Frost & Sullivan are promoting a study of the world’s smart cities which predicts that the global market will be valued at US$1.565 trillion by 2020. The report also claims that there will be a minimum of 26 smart cities worldwide  by 2025 with more than half in Europe and North America. By 2025, nearly three fifths of the world’s population, or 4.6 billion people, will live in an urban setting and in developed regions, this figure could run to over 80 percent. This new era of urbanisation will force planners to radically rethink how they create cities, develop digital infrastructure and provide services to residents  in a sustainable manner across a range of key parameters. The report defines smart cities as those built around ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ solutions and technology that lead to the adoption of at least 5 of 8 key parameters—energy, building, mobility, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, governance and education, and citizen.

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Focus of investment should be skills, broadband and local transport say CEOs

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Dear SantaThe Government should focus investment on the development of skills and broadband if it wants to drive economic growth. That is the message from a survey of 100 British CEOs carried out by Grant Thornton. Key findings of the report include the fact that 70 percent of respondents would like to see better access to training and development opportunities, 59 percent want to see an improvement in digital infrastructure and 57 percent would like more spending on roads. The Government’s flagship schemes – the Heathrow expansion, HS2 and the proposed new trans-Pennine railway receive a lukewarm response, with the majority of respondents appearing more keen on greater investment in existing long distance rail services, local public transport networks and the greater use of the UK’s underutilised regional airports. There is also a mixed response to plans for greater devolution with support only if regional Governments don’t add another layer of bureaucracy for businesses.The report has been published ahead of next week’s Autumn Statement by Chancellor George Osborne.

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Derry is the latest city to offer free Wi-Fi in all public places

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Free Wi-FiThe City of Derry in Northern Ireland has announced that it is to introduce free Wi-Fi in all public places. The local council is to work with local business owners to introduce the programme  in conjunction with the national Super Connected Cities scheme funded by the UK Government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport’s Urban Broadband Fund. Full rollout of the programme is expected by the first half of next year and will be accessible to anybody who registers for unlimited access to the city’s network. The initiative claims that it ‘is geared towards increasing digital engagement and energising cultural and economic activity within the city. The network will be available for free public use, with the benefits of being easy to connect, filtered for user protection and scalable for future expansion.’ Derry is Northern Ireland’s second largest city and has in recent years focused inward investment on the digital sector. Last week, we reported on how the Italian Government is looking to offer free Wi-Fi in all public places across the country.

Arup and UCL report offers up lessons from smart cities pioneers

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smart citiesA new report published by engineering and design consultancy Arup and University College London claims that the pioneers of the smart cities movement need to take a more strategic approach to ensure that their spending on IT infrastructure is effective in meeting their objectives. The report Delivering the Smart City: Governing Cities in the Digital Age is based on research of eight cities including London and Bristol in the UK alongside a number of other prominent global cities such as Chicago, Barcelona, Stockholm and Hong Kong. The report found that the cities spend an average of 6 percent of their expenditure on IT services and technology, which amounts to approximately £23 million per city across the study and is roughly equivalent to the amount budgeted in the financial services sector worldwide. While the authors welcome this as a sign that tech spending is taken seriously, they also claim that more could be done to target this spending effectively and tailored to the specific needs of each city depending on factors such as its ‘ecosystem’, culture and governance. It believes that the lessons from this are appropriate to all cities, not just those already pursuing a smart agenda.

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New report offers occasionally surprising vision of the future of work

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Future of WorkA new report into the future of work from Cisco claims –unsurprisingly – that employers are shifting their workplace policies to accommodate new demands from employees for more flexible working styles, regardless of their demographic cluster. The 2014 Cisco Connected World Technology Report also also claims that the majority of both Generation X and Y professionals already believe that smartphones and wearable devices will be the workforce’s most important communication devices by 2020 – while the laptop will maintain its place as the workplace device of choice. These devices and their attendant software and apps will drive the uptake of flexible working although sixty percent of respondents to the survey still prefer to take notes using a pen and paper. Two of the most intriguing findings of the report are that while just over half of Gen Y professionals think they are more efficient than older workers (roughly in line with the perceptions of older workers themselves) this is way out of step with the impression HR professionals, and the majority of people still believe that the future of work still lies in the office, at least some of the time.

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Five ways BYOD policies are changing the role of IT in the workplace

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BYODIf you’ve ever considered adopting a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy you probably know all about its potential benefits. It lets team members work on devices they’re comfortable with. It makes work more convenient. In some cases, it can lower your technology costs. None of these ideas are new, and indeed, much has already been said about how BYOD might impact the end user. But there’s another side of the BYOD story. The other, perhaps more dramatic way that a new policy can change the workplace is through your IT employees and infrastructure. Lots of times, companies tend to underestimate the big internal shifts that precede policy changes—but planning for these shifts is a major part of developing a cohesive strategy. If you’ve already made up your mind and are ready to adopt a BYOD policy, then you should also be ready to encounter some new and unexpected variables. What role will your IT be play under this policy? What kinds of cultural challenges should you begin to expect? How will you adjust? By preparing for new obstacles and expectations, you can create an effective, adaptive BYOD game plan. Here are some of the most important things you should prepare for as you move forward with your BYOD policy.

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Worktech weaves together the strands of people, place and technology

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WorktechDay two of Worktech London and affirmation that far from dying, as so many headline writers would have us believe, the office is merely entering a new phase. The underlying theme of Worktech continues to be how we find new ways of weaving together the strands of presence and connectedness formed by cities, buildings and technology. Worktech is a constant reminder that while our world may be shaped by algorithms, we still need each other and need to be with other people at least some of the time. The event is admirably hosted by long time collaborator and MC Jeremy Myerson whose knowledge and donnish charm holds things together while the real Don, founder Philip Ross, beams from the sidelines. It is now de rigeur for such events to have a poet in residence and this year’s was Matt Harvey who summed things up at the end of the day with reference to Worktech’s longstanding idea of jellybean working  but who popped up in between sessions with lyrical summations including one that showed some real spunk (you had to be there).

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