December 29, 2014
The tap roots of the digital economy will not spread beneath the concrete of Tech City and other urban enclaves, but in the fertile soil of the UK countryside. That is the finding of a new briefing document from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which claims that rural areas are set to overtake towns and cities as the main driver of Britain’s digital economy. As a result of improvements in the country’s digital infrastructure and transport links as well as a changing relationship between firms, employees and contractors, there are now more people moving to the countryside from towns and cities than those moving in the opposite direction. The briefing suggests that by 2025, the rural economy will be worth an additional £35 billion and the productivity of rural areas could outstrip urban areas for the first time since the industrial revolution.
December 23, 2014
According to a report published this week by the Government’s Chief Scientific Advisor, by taking the lead in developing the internet of things, the UK could transform the way the country lives and deliver huge benefits to the economy. The internet of things – in which digital networks are connecting everyday objects so data can be shared – creates enormous opportunities for both the private sector and government. It also has the potential to be applied in many areas of everyday life, transforming the way we use energy, how we travel and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The number of connected devices could potentially reach up to 100 billion globally by 2020 and industry estimates also suggest that these technologies could have a global value of nearly £10 trillion by then.
December 22, 2014
According to a new report, the global market for smart cities will grow by nearly a factor of three from $411.31 billion in 2014 to $1,135 billion by 2019. The not so snappily titled report, “Smart Cities Market by Smart Home, Intelligent Building Automation, Energy Management, Smart Healthcare, Smart Education, Smart Water, Smart Transportation, Smart Security, & by Services – Worldwide Market Forecasts and Analysis (2014 – 2019)”, has been published by MarketsandMarkets, and claims to define and segment smart cities into various sub-segments of technologies, solutions, services and regions with in-depth analysis and forecasting of revenues. The authors also claim that the report identifies drivers and restraints of this market with insights on trends, opportunities, and challenges.
December 18, 2014
In spite of the fact that the overwhelming majority of employees worldwide are disengaged at work, most organisations still don’t think they take a strategic approach to the issue. A new study by technology consultancy Altimeter claims that just 41 percent of organisations believe they take a strategic approach to employee engagement, while only 43 percent believe they have an organisational culture of trust and empowerment with many unable to use technology as part of the solution. The authors of the report cite another study published by Gallup in 2013 which found that 87 percent of employees globally are engaged, rising to 70 percent in the US. The report is based on a study of 114 organisations but mirrors the findings of Deloitte in their report from earlier this year which studied 2,500 organisations and found the same mismatch.
December 12, 2014
The 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.
December 12, 2014
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…
December 4, 2014
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.
December 3, 2014
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…
December 3, 2014
Research 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.
November 26, 2014
Researchers 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.
November 25, 2014
The 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.
November 24, 2014
The 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.