Tag Archives: NextGen

The State of our Digital Nation

31 Jul

2016 O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards

This is not scientific.

Its academic rigour may be some distance south of a tabloid’s opinion poll – but the final contenders in this year’s Digital Challenge Awards are instructive.

This is the 6th year of the Digital Challenge – an awards programme unlike any other. The categories and trophies are not set before nominations commence.

Every year the ‘Open Call’ simply asks for projects that exemplify great digital endeavour.   When the Call ends we review and define the Awards Categories and then create a shortlist for each. Every year that project shortlist reflects what is going on – real insights that might otherwise be overlooked.

Back in 2011 the focus was primarily on delivering better urban and rural broadband networks. That Rural Connectivity category remains, but elsewhere the attention has shifted beyond deployment to Network Innovations; their resilience, flexibility, performance and capacity.

Digital Inclusion projects have also been a constant category but they have evolved in so many different and imaginative ways – and some are now better aligned with an Economic Development agenda.

Projects devoted to boosting Digital Skills are far more evident (and delivering great achievements) but perhaps the brightest new category is for Digital Healthcare.   Some healthcare projects are contenders for the Digital Innovation Award and the willingness of NHS project leaders to transform their practice is evident in a flurry of very welcome initiatives in the mental health arena.

Meanwhile the Open Data category has lost its 2014 and 2015 prominence – now more business as normal rather than surprising breakthroughs.

  • Who in Westminster would have understood that Scotland is so digitally progressive?
  • Who would appreciate the educational/healthcare brilliance of body worn sensors embedded in fabrics?
  • How many Local Authorities understand the value of drones in combatting floods and other environmental risks?
  • How many judges (and jurors) know the value of Virtual Reality for visits to crime scenes?
  • How else would we be made aware of new care technologies for the elderly or the brilliantly imaginative Librarians whose services are so often under siege?

Many would decry the digital state of the nation – and sure there’s much more to be done – but the Digital Champions that step up to collect trophies in the House of Lords next October are leading indicators of massive transformations in the way we all work, live and serve.

 

The O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards 2016

6 Apr

The O2 NextGenAwards2016hires

 

Yes – you read the headline correctly.   NextGen is delighted to announce that the 2016 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards now features O2 as headline sponsor.

The origin of the Digital Challenge 6 years ago may have been rooted in concerns for fixed-line broadband innovation but the awards programme has over the years increasingly featured the mobile sector. The worlds of fixed and mobile are in reality, highly interdependent and will become more-so as infrastructure planning for the next generation of 5G gets underway.

However, there’s another dimension in the emergence of public sector interest in services delivery. Speaking with Billy D’Arcy, Managing Director, Public Sector Business at O2, it’s clear that their interest in backing the Digital Challenge derives from a strategic understanding of the value of community champions. The public sector works on behalf of all of us to provide a number of essential services. At O2, we are committed to helping the public sector deliver the best experiences for citizens. We also want to make sure their employees, both customer facing and in offices, can work effectively. We do this by helping to simplify processes using ICT solutions while adhering to increasingly restrictive budgets. As a result, we wanted to work with NextGen to celebrate the organisations that go the extra mile. That’s why the O2 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards 2016 will celebrate innovation, success and leadership in the UK’s digitally focused economy.”

The Digital Challenge has an excellent track record of identifying and celebrating achievements in the public sector that, in the general flood of marketing messages, might be overlooked – and inadvertently overlooked particularly by policy makers in and around Westminster. With this year’s awards presentation scheduled for October 13th in The House of Lords these important public sector and community messages will raise awareness amongst key policy influencers.

Full details of the awards programme and how anyone can nominate projects that have impressed can be found here. This is an Open Call and entry is free. The Digital Challenge honours projects and digital endeavours from across all sectors of the economy. The independent judging panel is keen to acknowledge projects and team effort rather than specific products or individuals.

The Open Call ends on May 27th

Shortlisted Finalists for each Awards Category will be announced on June 15th at the Connected Britain/NextGen conference in London.

 

 

 

 

NextGen Digital Challenge 2016 – Open Call

22 Jan
NextGen Awards 2016
OPEN CALL FOR NOMINATIONS

Now in its 6th year, the NextGen Awards, celebrate digital endeavour and honour the achievements of great projects and their teams from across the UK and Ireland.

Nominations are now invited from across all economic sectors and from within all communities.

Nomination is free of charge and requires only the completion of a simple online registration form.

Entries will be assessed by a judging panel that is independent of any supplier interests. To allow scope for new initiatives, the 2016 Awards Categories will be finalised after the Open Call closes on 27 May.

Previous winners and shortlisted entries can be found here

The Open Call for Nominations closes on Friday 27 May.

Short-listed Finalists and Award Categories will be announced in June.

Finalists will be invited to prepare their submissions (A4 template provided) to the judging panel by the end of July.

NextGen Digital Challenge Awards
Awards will be presented at the prestigious NextGen Digital Challenge Awards Dinner and Ceremony on 13 October – hosted by the Earl of Erroll in the House of Lords, Palace of Westminster.

For more information visit here

NOMINATE NOW

The Collaborative Economy – and digital themes for 2016

30 Dec

Computer Weekly has reprinted an article that I penned when considering NextGen and Digital Challenge themes for 2016.   It’s impossible to rank their significance but in top place I have the Collaborative Economy – collaborative skills being now recognised as a fundamental for all manner of ventures, community projects and public sector initiatives.

New metrics for capturing Quality of Experience will gain supremacy over the poverty of legacy QoS measures (see previous post 8/12).   That trend will inform regulatory efforts – not least in considering digital futures.  Much will depend on regulatory expectations of (and insistence on) corporate capacity to collaborate.  In many ways Collaborative Advantage will outplay old notions of  Competitive Advantage.

Open Data will also contribute to a richer 2016 – particularly in Health and in Municipal Enterprise.  Here again collaborative skills will fuel progress – and once again leave non-participants wondering why their grand schemes fail to deliver.  Under the spotlight of new evidence, Municipal Enterprise will, in 2016, become openly and honestly discussed.   The ‘art of the possible’ will no longer be assessed by an elite but liberated by data journalists and the shift towards more Open Corporate Data as enterprises begin to catch up with the public sector.

Fiber optics

And finally 2016 will be the year when the UK wakes up to the realisation that digital access infrastructure investment is much more than searching for quick fixes by trying to adapt legacy networks designed for analogue telephony.  Digital access design is significantly different – and the entire UK economy demands fresh (collaborative) future-proofed approaches.

Digital Challenge Awards 2015 – the winners

12 Nov

For seven great project teams November 5th will be remembered as the night when the UK’s top digital awards were presented in the House of Lords. At the culmination of a year-long programme to identify the digital stars of 2015, guests and anxious contenders gathered for a dinner hosted by The Earl of Erroll to celebrate great examples of digital progress.

This is the 5th year for the Digital Challenge Awards programme that recognises great projects and teams who are striving to deliver online success. The accolades were awarded across seven categories of digital endeavour.

And the winners were

Capturing the [broadband] Moment

12 Nov

Historical significance is rarely bestowed quickly – it usually takes time and needs a broader view than can be mustered by those clustered close to events.  ‘The way I look at it’ is but one perspective.  Embedding these moments in the wider consciousness demands penny-dropping realisations in a multitude of currencies.

Fiber optics

And so it is here in the UK at this time of applied broadband brainpower.  In the context of the last two decades we have never seen so many folk, taking so much notice, competing for attention and demanding action – as if their lives depended on it.  The time and energy devoted to debates over broadband infrastructure investment has reached an all-time high.

For decades reluctant broadband providers have argued about how much capacity is enough, whether or not connectivity is a basic utility (like water or electricity) and issues of customer choice.  The penny has been flipped.  It’s landed on the side of utility and choice, and all debate about capacity is rendered pointless by future-proofed fibre (sans copper) all the way to your door.

Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom. If the current competition for grabbing attention was translated to competitive choices in broadband connectivity speeds the resultant boost to economic and social development would be astounding.  That translation, alas, will now take time to be delivered but that first motivational step is happening right here, right now.

This is not to diminish the value of calls for action over the last 2 or 3 decades.  Shouting from the sidelines has been an important precursor – the build-up to the big match – but now the game is attracting serious players and massive support from the stands.  ‘Getting it’ has never been more ‘got’ – leastways, across the lands beyond Whitehall.

It is in the nature of events that bashing your head against brick walls leaves you dazed and unsteady when the wall crumbles and umpteen folks leapfrog over the rubble with a cheery ‘thanks mate’ as they rush ahead.

Why now? Why are the cracks opening? Who pulled those levers? Was it the exemplar of B4RN or the broadband poverty of Rotherhithe?  Was it the looming need for fibre connectivity to millions of 5G microcells, the pressure for passive infrastructure access and dark fibre, or just intolerance of marketing hype?

Ofcom might claim credit for kicking off their Digital Strategic Review. The government, of course, will point to their partial responses to backbench rumblings – prompted by energized electorates – but still short of long-term leadership.  Many big businesses have played their part along with the nascent industry of ‘alternative’ network providers.  Did last week’s call to set a date for switching off analogue telephony provide a hefty push?

Even BT and Virgin Media, thankfully, have contributed in a way by delivering solutions that, while far from fit for future purpose, are just about sufficient for many folks to ‘get it’ – to sense the possibilities.  But more than all the expert seminars, think-tanks, focus groups, ‘stakeholders’, engineers, economists and journalists, lies the will of the people and the needs of commerce.

Now is not the time for accolades – now is the time for maintaining momentum. Hidden amongst the current plethora of events, conferences, exhibitions and seminars across all sectors of the economy, the brief introductory note in last week’s NextGen15 brochure captured the zeitgeist: ‘. . . . we celebrate the end of an era.  The UK agenda is finally turning towards the future – less emphasis on minimal ‘Get By Broadband’ and far more focus on Future Proofing.’

The costs of fibre deployment are falling and value is surging.  As long-run OPEX savings trump short-term CAPEX, the legacy investment parameters are turned to dust.  And who could read the winning projects in this year’s Digital Challenge Awards and not appreciate the extent of digital endeavour?

It is not too early to call.  The walls are indeed tumbling down.  Go write a note to leave for the grandchildren.  Their future connectivity, mobiled, wifi’d or fixed, will be fibred sans copper. You were here.  You saw the cracks.  You heard the rumbling.  The rest is history.

 

Smart, Not so Smart, or Downright Dim? The prospects for UK places and their communities

21 Oct

As we get closer to NextGen15 (November 5th, London) and the debate on whether the UK is on track to meet our future digital needs, the

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Groupe Intellex paper on Smart Cities/Intelligent Communities (The Prospects for UK Places – PDF Download) has been published by Computer Weekly – an appropriate journal for technological enthusiasts who, we believe, need to see their innovations in a broader context.

In this paper we drill down from the heights of ‘Intelligent Communities, through Smart Technologies. Urban Operating Systems, Open Data and Analytics to the bedrock of future-proofed broadband – only to find an even deeper layer:  the local leadership that is needed to enable all these developments to happen.

At NextGen15 we will debate with Richard Hooper (BSG), Barney Lane (Colt), Anna Krzyżanowska (European Commission), Edgar Aker (FTTH Council Europe), Dr Julia Glidden (21c), and many others with direct UK field experience of deploying future-proofed broadband networks – and all under the guidance of moderator Richard Jones (VentureNext) whose own broadband ventures in many countries reveal deep insights.

Registration – discounted rates available for NextGen Partners/Members, Public and Third Sector delegates.

NextGen15 – Broadband Futures from a pan-EU perspective

18 Oct

What every local councilor should know (leastways those who have a remit for developing their local economy) is: Funding for Digital Infrastructure is Available.

NextGen logo smallHow can your local communities qualify, the scale of funding, the network design requirements, issues of State Aid and other rules will all be discussed at NextGen15 on November 5th where you can meet the Head of the Broadband Unit within DG CONNECT – a key part of the European Commission.

Anna Krzyzanowska will be presenting an update on European Commission initiatives in Broadband Policy, Regulation and Financing, and will be interviewed on stage by our event moderator Richard Jones.

Details of the latest agenda and delegate registration (including a discounted Public Sector rate) are now available at http://www.nextgenevents.co.uk/events/NextGen15/agenda

Among the many broadband and wider digital specialists, you will also hear from Richard Hooper (Chair of the Broadband Stakeholders Group – BSG), Barney Lane (Director of Regulatory Affairs, Colt Technology Services), Edgar Aker – President FTTH Council Europe and Julia Glidden – President 21c Consultancy.

At this time when Ofcom are just beginning a Strategic Review of Digital Communications, the scene is set for a major reappraisal of the UK’s broadband aspirations.

Are we on track to meet the UK’s future digital needs?

 What part will you play in finding the answer?

NextGen15 – 5th November 2015, Institute of Education, London.

 

NextGen 15 and the growth of online platforms

15 Oct

The Call from a subcommittee of the House of Lords was just too tempting.

Their Lordships’ inquiry into online platforms was prompted by the European Commission – a classic legislative HoLresponse to mutterings that surely ‘something must be done‘.

But looking at the questions posed, it became clear that the great success of online platforms might be largely due to the fact that nothing much has been done.

There may be a case for consumer protection in a world of uneven comprehension but there is certainly little justification for market protection by over-egging regulation.

And, moreover, jotting down some notes for their Lordships’ committee, it became clear just how good the UK is becoming at this sort of innovation.  We may not be home to the Googles, Twitters or Skypes but we have no shortage of great examples of online platform innovation.

So it was too tempting – how could we not respond?

The NextGen Digital Challenge Awards – this year being presented in their Lordships’ House on November 5th – provides just the evidence they need to encourage lawmakers to desist from further lawmaking that might stifle our innovators and entrepreneurs.

For readers addicted to following the ways of Westminster, the full Call from the Committee  ( online-platforms-call-for-evidence ) will need to be read alongside the Groupe Intellex response to HoL subcommittee on platforms Oct 15

Alternatively, and far more fun,  you could attend NextGen15 on November 5th and/or the Digital Challenge Awards Dinner in the Peers’ Dining Room of the House of Lords – but hurry – registration for the latter closes on Monday 19th October.

2015 NextGen Digital Challenge Awards: Sharing Economy

27 Aug

 

This is the last in our series of blogs for each of the awards categories in the 2015 Digital challenge.   Earlier in the year the Open Call for nominations signaled that the Sharing Economy deserved to be recognized as a significant new category.

NGShortlisthi-resSo, in this final Awards Blog we are delighted to introduce contenders with a wide range of approaches to collaborative endeavours.

The Sharing Economy is all about better use of resources – enabling folks to utilize spare capacity, share talent and expertise, and help individuals and communities to work in greater harmony.

The digital connection is that these projects are often made possible by greater online engagement with systems and platforms to connect resources to needs – and those resources may range from intangibles like expertise and data to tangible assets like a redundant Hard disk Drive or the driveway to your house.

The six 2015 Shortlisted Finalists for our Sharing Economy Trophy are:

Fairsay with eCampaigning Forum – sharing the talent for debating skills and social action.

Just Park – Pre-Book Parking – utilizing the value of your home driveway.

MyNeighbourhood – the Smart City and Sharing Communities initiative in Birmingham

Circular Data Solutions – Large-scale 100% recycling of redundant Hard Disc Drives whilst ensuring that no stored data can be inadvertently recovered or misused and full compliance with Data Privacy legislation.

Roomlala – a flat and room-share platform new to the UK and very popular in student communities where the property rental market needs greater flexibility.

Made Open Monmouthshire from Monmouthshire County Council & Made Open Communications – creating the conditions for communities and businesses to raise challenges, start projects and play a part in tackling the challenges that impact their place.

Research suggests that the emergence of Sharing Economy is a significant step in the long transition towards a more sustainable ‘circular economy’ where resources are not wasted but are re-used or re-purposed – designed to be ‘made to be made again’.

The independent judging panel will review all the shortlisted contenders during September. The winner will be announced at a dinner in the House of Lords following the NextGen 15 event on November 5th.

For details of event sponsorship opportunities contact Marit Hendriks

( marith@nextgenevents.co.uk ) or call David Brunnen on +44 (0) 7714 325 657