Archive | October, 2012

4G race starts as 5G warms up

28 Oct

The imminent launch by mobile operator Everything Everywhere of the UK’s 4G services (with others to follow in 2013 when spectrum is auctioned) comes just 2 weeks after announcement of government research funding for  5G.

The £11.6m from the UK’s Research Partnership investment fund will be more than matched by a further £24m from a consortium of mobile infrastructure providers and operators.  The funds enable a 5G innovation centre to get underway at Surrey University.

Since the heady days of 2G (GSM) Europe has lost pole position in mobile technologies although we should not forget that Cambridge-based ARM has a dominant presence in billions of mobile devices.

The shape of mobile things to come is highly speculative and, with pressure for ever-greater spectrum efficiency and higher-capacity links to support bigger and faster applications, there is a huge interdependency on the adequacy of the fixed digital network to handle the traffic from thousands of smaller localised mobile base stations.

The expected explosion of demand for M2M devices and ‘The Internet of Things’ may already be stretching the limits of 4G and no-one imagines that the global standards-making process for 5G is going to be an easy collaborative ride.

Full story here

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The Sunday Breakfast Review: Seizing Our Destiny

21 Oct

As a follow-up to the NextGen 12 session ‘The rise of the Intelligent City’, our Sunday Breakfast review this week looks at the latest ICF publication – Seizing Our Destiny’.

This  slim volume profiles 7 cities and considers how they have sought to adapt to the challenges of the digital economy.   Instead of drifting with the tide of national economies, these places, their people, their enterprises and institutions, are ‘seizing their destinies’ – finding ways to create local prosperity and solve local social challenges.

This movement towards identifying local initiatives as the key to wider economic revitalisation stands in stark contrast to conventional market sector analysis.

Cities may of course be deserving of special funding to alleviate complex societal and economic challenges (and there are more votes in cities) but all communities – urban or rural – should take note of the need to make a start on adaptation to the digital economy.

Resolving their local ‘digital deficit’ is just a start – it needs several supporting actions – but it is the most obvious platform for rebalancing and revitalising the economy.

Full story here

UPDATE:  (23:00 EST 21 October 2012)  ICF names Smart21 for 2013.

Professor puts people ahead of process

11 Oct

The business and management systems experts gathered for a conference ‘Energy Process Excellence Europe’ in Aberdeen may not have been expecting the message from Professor Colin Coulson-Thomas.

In a timely reminder of why they were in business he pointed out that it was ‘People and not Process that was the key to success’

His central point was that by understanding the ‘success factors’ all employees could be encouraged to perform as well, if not better, than those in the upper echelons of any large business.   The complexity of modern management, and the availability of often expensive systems to mange processes are often combined to re-engineer outcomes that could, he says, be easily achieved by simpler, selective and better targeted actions to support employees.

He pointed out that the vast majority of customers have little or no concern for an organisation’s structure and processes – they merely want efficient and helpful service.

To this end – putting people before process – he has studied over 2000 organisations and published a large study of the results.

Full story here from Andrew Macdonald, our Management & Technology correspondent

NextGen Challenge: into the final digital furlong

1 Oct

The runners and riders in this year’s NextGen Challenge – the UK awards programme for advanced broadband network projects – are now in the final straight and heading towards the winning post.  The results will be announced at the  NextGen12 conference dinner in the Members’ Dining Room inside the Palace of Westminster.

The entries span the length and breadth of Britain and, in the spirit of ‘Open Access’, the competition was open to all-comers regardless of their technology choices.

The independent judging panel has the task of evaluating entries from projects in four categories – Rural and Community Leadership, Innovative Funding Solutions, Urban Network Enterprise and Collaborative Advantage.

Once again the NextGen Challenge programme demonstrates that enterprise and innovation is alive and well in this most vital of infrastructure investment areas .

Full story (and links for conference and dinner registration) here