To identify opportunities for increasing productivity within the region through the transformative effect of technology.
Faye Holland is founder of Cofinitive Ltd an award-winning Corporate Communications Company based in Cambridge, and is one of Cambridge’s Most Influential Business People. As chair of the Technology Advisory Group in Cambridge Ahead Faye spearheads an approach aimed at driving ubiquitous connectivity for businesses, employees and residents alike; and is currently working on a project within the group on furthering business adoption of technology. Faye is also a regular contributor to many other Cambridge Ahead initiatives.
Technology is pervasive across the entire Cambridge Ahead set of objectives and projects. The Technology Advisory Group is specifically investigating ways to improve technology for our businesses, and the Quality of Life of our employees and citizens. A desired outcome is to drive equality through digital, connectivity and technological adoption. We work closely with the County Council representatives, Cambridge University and CW, but will also expand membership to current and new Cambridge Ahead members.
The Technology Advisory Group has representation across the public sector, business and academic communities all working together to define a set of objectives and deliverables aimed at making Cambridge a significant digitally-connected city.
Following on from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review and the development of the ICT element of the Local Industrial Strategy, a series of recommendations have been made. The Technology Advisory Group (TAG) has taken these recommendations and started to determine where Cambridge Ahead can best influence, as well as to ensure we include any other business imperatives with regards to technology adoption and prioritisation of trends.
In May, we convened a cross-section of businesses and associations in a facilitated workshop to answer two questions - How is technology going to shape your business? And what do you need to realise this?
The diagrams shown here outline the sheer scope of impact of technology – not just on base infrastructure but how integral it is to allow businesses to make the most of technologies and trends available to them.
The workshop cut across all three of our key programmes in the Technology Advisory Group: to reflect the technology needs of businesses, enable the application of technology and ultimately improve where we work, live and play using technology.
The outputs of the workshop will shape the group’s work in CA’s Q3 and Q4 period which will now allow us to develop, test and form a plan for digital infrastructure, technology priorities and trends to ascertain where we can most add influence at either a local, national or government level for the advantage of our local businesses. We would like to thank Cambridge Consultants, arm and RAND Europe for their ongoing support in this programme.
We are also collaborating with the housing group around the Digital Built Britain programme and, as a result of the workshop, should be able to better inform the digital scenario in a broader context than transport.
Early in 2018 Cambridge Ahead successfully supported Connecting Cambridgeshire’s efforts to secure future funding to expand the footprint of Gigabit (1000mbps) capable fibre across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough with the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund. In late-spring 2018, our members also contributed to the 5G Urban Connected Communities Bid. Contributing to the Call for Evidence and Call for Responses of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Review was important to ensure that technology and digital connectivity was as much on the agenda as other transport and infrastructure requirements.
As a group, we are collaborators across other activities and with other organisations. In 2017, we collaborated with LSCC/ UK Innovation Corridor in a workshop on progressing digital connectivity across the broader region, and sponsored a CW-led programme on IoT. More recently, we supported Peterborough in a Digital Cities Challenge Bid.
Ensuring that digital infrastructure needs and opportunities for technological developments are pervasive across all Cambridge Ahead activity, this Group will now focus on advising and supporting work within the Housing, Skills, Transport and Policy groups. It will also ensure that there is effective alignment with partner organisations such as Cambridge Wireless and Connecting Cambridgeshire.
As part of this transition towards technology as a core consideration within each group, the Technology Advisory Group will reduce its frequency to three meetings in 2019-20, to come together and share progress and to ensure that there are no strategic technology opportunities that are being missed.
In March 2016, we launched #CambsNotspotter – a crowdsourcing initiative aimed at identifying gaps in mobile and broadband connectivity across the region. The initiative encouraged Cambridge employees and residents to participate by providing usage data from their home, office and mobile connections to understand current connectivity provision and determine development requirements. The data gathered enabled us to evidence how actual connectivity compared to that provided by the operators to Ofcom, as well as identify any specific local challenges.
In addition to collecting millions of data points via the #CambsNotspotter initiative to enable us to map the current user experience of mobile signal, we also wanted to think about the future. Our aim was to be visionary in exploring how we will use devices at home, at work and in our social lives. The result was our #BetterMobile hack event which took place in November 2017.
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Sarah Brereton, Director, Limewash
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