The Government Launches the (delayed) Digital Strategy
The Digital Strategy outlines the Government’s plans for investment and development in the digital sector for the foreseeable future. It outlines priority areas for investment, emphasizing the increasingly crucial role of digital infrastructure and connectivity in modern life.
The Government also wants to make the UK as appealing as possible for growing a digital business, particularly in the areas of FinTech (Financial Technology), EdTech (Educational Technology) and video games.
A selection of key points include:
- Continuance of the plan to roll out 4G and superfast broadband by 2020.
- £1bn programme for development and uptake of next generation digital infrastructure – including full fibre broadband plans and 5G.
- £4.2 billion invested over the next five years in areas such as electronic patient records, apps and wearable devices, telehealth and assistive technologies.
- Formation of a new Digital Skills Partnership led by Government.
- Coding becoming part of every stage in the national curriculum.
- £17.3m funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (rather than fresh investment) to support the development of new robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies in UK universities.
Creating five new international tech hubs in emerging markets
- Creating five tech hubs in emerging markets to create and develop partnerships between UK companies and local tech firms. These hubs will aim to help provide British businesses with a global competitive edge and drive collaboration on skills, innovation, technology, and research and development.
Businesses may still however be looking to the Government for more concrete and detailed plans and initiatives and, crucially, funding to help them prepare for an increasingly digitalised industrial environment. As well as looking for a generally flexible regulatory environment, and an immigration system allowing local labour shortages to be filled where needed, business leaders have identified as key concerns rolling out broadband to business parks and increasing mobile coverage in rural areas. Commentators have also remarked that the rapid rise in process automation and artificial intelligence requires a change in focus in education and job training to start now, at all levels, in order to create a work force appropriately skilled for the world market, placing an emphasis on skills and talents that are not likely to be quickly overtaken by machines – such as those involving high level creative thinking or highly complex manual tasks.
The full paper can be read here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-digital-strategy
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