September 19, 2012 By John Jung
Guest Blog by Groupe Intellex Managing Editor David Brunnen
Less than 30 days away from NextGen12 the recent reshuffle in the UK government has raised the stakes in the debate about the perceived role of broadband in trying to revitalize the economy. But, at the time of writing, opinion is divided. Do government priorities reflect their understanding of the digital economy or do they still imagine that ‘ignorance is bliss’?
The conference is being held in London – right in the heart of the ‘Westminster village’ close to the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the Whitehall offices of all the major government ministries.
Where better to kick off the conference with a sobering assessment of the likely sources of future prosperity. According to international technology thought leader Dr. Peter Cochrane it will not be found where most people might be looking. This will be no call for a revival of old industries but a shockingly honest (some might say scary) look at the future hurtling towards us – digitally-enabled for sure but also “at the cusp of ‘Nano’ and ‘Bio’ technologies”.
Delegates may think the science of this tech-sensitive introduction pulls NextGen12 away from today’s economic realities but the speakers that follow will have to answer the questions ‘Does the UK have a digital deficit?’ and ‘Will the plans and targets for connectivity infrastructure match the needs of businesses, households and communities?’
These questions and the responses will be tackled from all angles:
Even the prestigious conference dinner, inside the Palace of Westminster, will be enlivened by the presentation of the NextGen Challenge awards – celebrating success and sharing more than a few battle scars
But more than all that, NextGen12 will focus on the essential requirements for making society work in a digital economy – familiar ground perhaps for ICF members.
This intensive conference (with a strong exhibition for experienced network specialists) will put the pressure for investment in connectivity infrastructure alongside demands for knowledge worker expertise, greater capacity for innovation and community support for public services.
All this and revitalizing the UK economy across all sectors? Policy developers should bring sharp pencils. It will be a very busy two days. Click here for more on NextGen12.
About the Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum is a think tank that studies the economic and social development of the 21st Century community. Whether in industrialized or developing nations, communities are challenged to create prosperity, stability and cultural meaning in a world where jobs, investment and knowledge increasingly depend on advances in communications. For the 21st Century community, connectivity is a double-edge sword: threatening established ways of life on the one hand, and offering powerful new tools to build prosperous, inclusive and sustainable economies on the other. ICF seeks to share the best practices of the world's Intelligent Communities in adapting to the demands of the Broadband Economy, in order to help communities everywhere find sustainable renewal and growth. More information can be found at www.intelligentcommunity.org.
Robert Bell is co-founder of the Intelligent Community Forum, where he heads its research and content development activities. He is the author of ICF's pioneering study, Benchmarking the Intelligent Community, the annual Top Seven Intelligent Communities of the Year white papers and other research reports issued by the Forum, and of Broadband Economies: Creating the Community of the 21st Century. Mr. Bell has also authored articles in The Municipal Journal of Telecommunications Policy, IEDC Journal, Telecommunications, Asia-Pacific Satellite and Asian Communications; and has appeared in segments of ABC World News and The Discovery Channel. A frequent keynote speaker and moderator at municipal and telecom industry events, he has also led economic development missions and study tours to cities in Asia and the US.
ICF co-founder John G. Jung originated the Intelligent Community concept and continues to serve as the Forum's leading visionary. Formerly President and CEO of the Greater Toronto Marketing Alliance and Calgary Economic Development Authority, he is a registered professional urban planner, urban designer and economic developer. He leads regular international business missions to US, European, Asian, Indian and Australian cities, and originated the ICF Immersion Lab program. John is a regular speaker at universities and conferences and serves as an advisor to regional and national leaders on Intelligent Community development. The author of numerous articles in planning and economic development journals, he has received global and Toronto-based awards for his work in collaboration and strategic development and sits on numerous task forces and international advisory boards.
ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla is the creator and presenter of the annual Smart21, Top Seven and Intelligent Community Awards and oversees ICF's media communications and development programs. He is a frequent keynote and motivational speaker and panelist, addressing audiences of tech, academic and community leaders around the world, and writes extensively for publications including American City & County, Continental Airline's in-flight magazine and Municipal World. His frequent appearances in the electronic media have included both television and radio in South Korea, China and Canada. He has served as an adjunct professor at Fordham University in New York and is a Guest Lecturer at Polytechnic University's Distinguished Speaker Series. He holds a Masters Degree from the University of Notre Dame.
This Digital Communities white paper highlights discussions with IT officials in four counties that have adopted shared services models. Our aim was to learn about the obstacles these governments have faced when it comes to shared services and what it takes to overcome those roadblocks. We also spoke with several members of the IT industry who have thought long and hard about these issues. The paper offers some best practices for shared government-to-government services, but also points out challenges that government and industry still must overcome before this model gains widespread adoption.