Archive | January, 2013

Beyond the song and the sermon, the dream lives on

24 Jan

The media, perhaps inevitably, seemed more fascinated by Beyoncé’s performance than the content of President Obama’s 2nd inaugural speech – and on a very cold day it would be surprising if many in the crowd absorbed the full flavour of his messages.

From a distance the local context is not always obvious and some commentators have noted that foreign policy did not get a mention.  But what has struck home is the  sense that this President can rise above the fray and understands the need for vision beyond the party politics.

Our old friend Sid is no longer around to appreciate Obama’s leadership but he would have been delighted that the american dream is still very much alive.

Read the full story in ‘Beyond Beyoncé



Multi-site/multinational companies press for action on EU digital networks regulation

24 Jan

A new study jointly commissioned by INTUG (the international user group for major telecoms customers) and ECTA (European Competitive Telecoms Association) estimates that the value of a single digital market in the EU for digital communications services as €90 billion.

The need for regulators to address the issues of easier cross-border service provision to enable efficiencies for major businesses has become a significant challenge as the digital economy develops.

Major businesses may represent only 2% of all EU companies but these multi-site, multinational organisations generate 60 million jobs and account for nearly half of EU business turnover and more than half of ‘value added’.

Together with public service agencies, businesses contribute disproportionally to the revenues of major telcos and, in their remit for protecting the interests of all customers, regulators should be mindful of the market distortions that flow from this ‘indirect taxation’.

You can find the full story and a link to the INTUG-ECTA study at Bdaily – the UK’s business news network.

Digital divide narrows but digital needs broaden

23 Jan

In the UK the number of citizens on the wrong side of the digital divide may have been more than halved over the last 5 years but that still leaves a vast number who are about to find that, in the cause of cheaper, more-efficient and sometimes better public services, the government’s ‘digital by default’ policy will soon start to hit home.

Moreover, of those citizens who are not currently online-enabled (with neither the connectivity nor the skills) the majority are those for whom easier access to  public services, cheaper living, access to jobs, less hassle, better healthcare and education  are high priorities.

Tackling the challenges of the ‘doubly disconnected’ (economically and socially disconnected citizens) are 15,000 volunteers led by Helen Milner’s UK Online Centres Foundation.  Together they are delivering vast benefits – for the life chances of individuals and, economically, for all of us.

We thought it timely to update our story from 2007.   Read Helen’s account of the continuing need for greater digital inclusion in her report for Groupe Intellex ‘The scale of digital exclusion in the UK

The Silver Lining Behind the High Street’s Cloud

17 Jan

Yesterday’s demise of the UK’s Blockbuster video store, coming so soon after the reins of HMV were handed to ‘the administrator’ and Jessop’s cameras followed Comet’s white goods and countless card shops into the wilderness, has kept headline and leader writers busy and caused ‘a nation of shopkeepers’  to pause for thought.

It was, said one columnist (overstating for effect), as if the High Street had finally run out of people who were not on the Internet.  We might even see the end of that most unlikely quack health treatment – retail therapy.  The outpouring of late love for lost brands stands in contrast to the reluctance of shoppers to visit the places before they died – and a good part of that must reflect the lack of money to splurge on optional extras when they can be found more conveniently and cheaper elsewhere.  Economists may describe this as ‘market pruning’ but hopes for a resurgence of growth in the Spring seem unlikely.

No amount of yearning for the real or imagined lost paradise of the High Street will slow the world sufficiently for those who want to get off but there is value to be found in this massive penny-dropping moment – the realisation that the digital economy is real.  Personal and collective moments of revelation such as this tell us how much we have been kidding ourselves as we cling to the ‘established order’.

In the UK the retail sector employs 4 million people and whilst feeling for those whose lives careers and incomes have been disrupted, our editorial ‘Pennies, Drops and Impacts‘ looks at the urgent need to get all our heads around the new realities and deliver a digitally inclusive and more-equitable society.


Groupe Intellex Index: July-Dec 2012

7 Jan

This edition of the index shows that our published output may have been lower in the 2nd half of the year but we developed some digital economy themes in greater depth.

The Index provides quick links to all of our editorial material (including contributions from Marit Hendriks and Andrew Macdonald and Leader columns for the CMA) plus briefing notes for projects for NG Events and Community Study Tours.

Surprisingly popular in the last week of the year was a review of Irene Ng’s new book ‘Value & Worth’ with a hit–rate exceeding anything we’d published since last September.