Last year we took Supercharging the Digital Economy north, hosting it at Cisco’s Bright Building in Manchester, and what a beautiful venue it was.
Ahead of our flagship event, Supercharging the Digital Economy, we held a campaign week dedicated to retail and transport. The week received a lot of attraction featuring opinion blogs from techUK members and staff looking at the present and future of our economy and the possibilities out there for the tech sector in retail and transport. You can read more here.
On the day, the brightest of minds in tech gathered to explore the full potential of advanced digital technologies such as IoT, AI, AR/VR and cloud to drive the UK’s economy and society. We kicked off the beautiful and sunny day with a welcome addressed by Julian David, CEO techUK followed by a keynote speech from The Right Honourable Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy before splitting the event focus between Retail and Transport. You can read more about the day here.
Also at Supercharging, Matthew Evans, Associate Director at techUK interviewed our very own Jessica Russell, Programme Manager, Transport and Smart Cities, discussing techUK’s new report, Future Mobility Services in the UK. Mathew Evans also catches up with Liliana Danila, Economist at the British Retail Consortium, to go through why technology is impacting high street stores and online shopping experiences. They look at what must be done to help both aspects of retail and ensure that retail continues to be a driving force throughout our economy. You can listen to the podcast here.
There has been a heavy focus on smart infrastructure from Government the past 12+ months with the release of three important papers:
- Industrial Strategy from the Department of Business, Environment and Industrial Strategy.
- Transforming Infrastructure Performance paper from the Infrastructure and Projects Authority that focuses on existing infrastructure.
- New Technology Study: Data for the Public Good from the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC).
In June 2018, SmarterUK and Cloud, AI and Data Analytics Programmes teamed up, in partnership with the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE) and The Alan Turing Institute to hold a one-day design AI sprint. The event explored the potential of AI, machine learning and data science in shaping the future of existing infrastructure by bringing together civil engineers, data scientists and technologists to answer the question of “how can our existing infrastructure be adapted for predictive maintenance?”
The NIC’s Data for the Public Good paper provided three recommendations, one of which is to develop “a Digital Twin (computer model) of Britain’s infrastructure, to help plan, predict and understand our assets.” The NIC also recommends that the coordination for key players should be managed through a Digital Framework Task Group (DFTG) which techUK is delighted to be part of. The group has been tasked by the Treasury to advise on the creation of a national digital twin.
The DFTG reports into the Centre for Digital Built Britain, which seeks to understand how the construction and infrastructure sectors could use a digital approach to better design, build, operate, and integrate the built environment. Their vision is that a National Digital Twin will be a national resource for improving the performance, service and value delivered by the UK’s infrastructure.
techUK is keen to support this ambition and be involved in the efforts that 2019 will bring. To explore the realities of building a Brit-twin and better understand its uses, we are hosting the Brit-twin event in January at techUK to start working on all those questions you have about digital twins but were too afraid to ask! The event will bring together public and private sector, policy makers, decision makers and innovators to build an understanding of just what it will take to develop the Brit-twin and what the tech sector’s role will be in delivering this ambition. You can see the agenda and register to attend here..
To get involved in our on smart infrastructure and AI work, get in touch with Sue Daley, Head of Cloud, AI and Data Analytics and Matthew Evans.
Smart Cities & Communities
Throughout 2018 the Smart Cities and Communities’ work programme has focussed on strengthening leadership at the local and central levels to improve the commissioning, delivery and benefits realisation of smart place initiatives, and make our cities and communities smarter.
Local authority leadership
Local authorities are on the front line when it comes to implementing smart, place-based digital initiatives. Although they should not be tasked with delivering the nation’s smart agenda without overarching support and ambition from central government, there are steps that local authorities can take to improve their own capacity and capability. We unpack the first step - building a greater understanding of digital, data and technological solutions by establishing and maintaining “a dedicated and legitimate decision-making body that is empowered by the executive leadership of the local authority” - in our report, What makes a ‘good’ Digital Board?
The report makes a series of recommendations for local authorities to consider in the establishment and maintenance of a Digital Board.
Central government leadership
techUK believes that the smart cities sector needs greater leadership and responsibility from central government if we are to unlock the benefits this vibrant and innovative sector can provide. We have been an active member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Smart Cities (the APPG) which notably produced the report, Intelligent Leadership. The APPG, under the Chairmanship of Iain Stewart MP was a force for unity in the sector and progress within central government. It is greatly disappointing to note that it has since folded due to lack of leadership and interest from MPs to take up the role of Chair following Mr Stewart’s resignation. The irony of this does not escape us and we will be building a louder central government campaign this year too.
To get involved in our future work, get in touch with Matthew Evans and Jessica Russell.
The Transport group has been focussing heavily on the Government’s Future of Mobility grand challenge as a result, which involved developing a vision for the future of transport and mobility in the UK: a truly multimodal, digitally-enabled, customer-focused ecosystem, incorporating fixed and flexible infrastructure, private and publicly operated services and a multitude of vehicles, some of which are beyond what we can imagine today. Our Future Mobility Services in the UK report, which was launched at Supercharging in October 2018, sets out the vision, highlights enabling technologies and identifies key barriers to realising the vision. The report provides three key recommendations to overcome these key barriers and support evolution of the nation’s mobility services.
Based on the membership of our group, the Transport Group splits its work across road and rail.
Road-wise, we continued to maintain our close relationship with the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), taking part in the SMMT Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Forum, and we are proud to have supported the SMMT Future Mobility Challenge, a new initiative to make innovative ideas and solutions discoverable with a view to creating new partnerships, investments and acquisitions between the world’s leading automotive brands and innovative technology start-ups and SMEs. We are looking forward to being involved with this again in 2019.
Continuing our CAV work, we partnered with Oxfordshire County Council to host the Accelerating CAV Uptake on our Roads at Said Business School. The event brought together the transport tech industry and public sector to explore two key challenges, traffic management and building public trust as opportunities to drive the uptake of CAVs on the UK’s roads.
On the rail side, we have been actively engaging with Network Rail, Rail Supply Group and Rail Delivery Group to develop the industry’s asks for a Rail Sector Deal. We are delighted to announce that the Rail Sector Deal was officially launched in December. It will aim to support a more innovative mindset for the industry and deliver improvements in three areas:
- The passenger experience.
- Reliability and efficiency to better support the economy.
- The rail industry supply chain.
We’re currently in the process of responding to two consultations:
- the Law Commission Automated Vehicles Consultation (closes 8th February)
- The Williams Rail Industry Review call for evidence (closes 18th January)
If you would like to be part of techUK’s responses, contact Jessica Russell.
To get involved in our future work, get in touch with Jessica Russell and Matthew Evans.
Smart Energy & Utilities
The Smart Energy & Utilities Programme has been monitoring closely regulation for energy data and Electric Vehicle rollout for 2019.
techUK has been selected amongst other organisation to be part of the steering board of the Electric Vehicle Energy Taskforce (EVET), which will inform secondary legislation this year. The objective of the taskforce is to put engagement with the electric vehicle user at the heart of preparing the electricity system for the mass take up of electric vehicles (EV), ensuring that costs and emissions are as low as possible, and opportunities for vehicles to provide grid services are capitalised upon for the benefit of the system, energy bill payers and electric vehicle owners. We are a sponsor for Work Package 4 – Data for decision making; as well as being in the core team of Work Package 3 – Technical Specification for Smart Charging. Members are encouraged to an active role in shaping our position further. To stay up to date sign up to the mailing list.
We’ve have submitted a response to OFGEM consultation on access to half-hourly electricity data for settlement purposes. The consultation sought initial stakeholders’ views on the future of suppliers needing access to their customers’ half-hourly consumption data from their smart meter, to strike the right balance between realising the benefits of settlement reform while ensuring that consumers’ privacy is appropriately safeguarded. Our response could be found here.
We’re delighted to have worked again with GfK on our annual Connected Home Survey. In September 2018, we launched the second edition of The State of the Connected Home Report, where we have illustrated; consumers with three or more connected home devices have grown rapidly; voice automated assistants have been the fastest growing category; main barriers of purchase for consumers have been cost, privacy, and security. We found evidence that some devices, particularly home assistants and smart meters, may act as a gateway to ownership of others. This will be a trend that we will examine in more detail in our work this year.
We will continue building on our achievements of 2018, and also expand beyond the Energy Utilities to the Water Innovation sector. We are hosting Tech Making Waves in the Water Industry - Design Sprint in March.
Our views on the energy marker was published in Atos’s Digital Vision for Energy and Utilities, “The energy market is in its most intriguing place, but is it changing fast enough?”.
If you wish to get involved in our Smart Energy & Utilities Programme, contact Teodora Kaneva, Programme Manager, Smart Energy & Utilities and IoT, and Matthew Evans.