GO ON increase our UK digital skills

Following yesterday’s Governmental programme aimed at seeking to reduce digital exclusion by 25% by 2016. GO ON UK today announce what they are doing to help Northern Ireland get connected where they reckon that nearly 25% of the adult population nearly 350,000 “…lack the Basic Online Skills needed to send and receive email, use a search engine, browse the internet and complete online forms. Almost a third of businesses and charities are also missing out.”  It’s what we might call a digital coldspot in the UK!

This digital skills programme which has already succeeded in Liverpool and is well under way in the North East aims to deliver a 25% reduction in the number of people below the Basic Online Skills threshold in 12 months.

GO ON UK have already launched digitalskills.com   which is “…aimed at people and organisations who want to inspire and support others to open opportunities online, it’s home to online tools and resources and a map which features over 3,000 UK Wi-Fi hotspots, computer access points and real people wanting to share their digital skills.”

You can GET INVOLVED here

The Basic Online Skills definitions are:

Who are digitalskills.com?

  • They were conceived and created by Go ON UK, the UK’s digital skills alliance.
  • Their chair is Baroness Lane-Fox and the founder partners are Age UK, BBC, Big Lottery Fund, EE, e-on, Lloyds Bank, Post Office and Talk Talk. The site is also supported by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills.
  • digitalskills.com was built by Carswell Gould and continues to be developed based on your feedback. Tell them what you’d like to see.

Smart Inclusive Government

 Gartner have come up with the 10 strategic technology trends for smart government which include:

  • Personal Mobile Workplace  - Government IT organizations may have an illusion of control, … However, the reality is that employees, depending on demographics, personal preferences and pressure to improve performance, can decide how much they want to use corporate information and applications versus personal information and applications.
  • Mobile Citizen Engagement - Several inquiries with Gartner government clients reveal an interest in providing citizen-facing services using mobile devices, as well as leveraging social software functionalities.
  • Big Data and Actionable Analytics – Governments are searching for ways to use big data to gain business process efficiencies and reduce costs, but are having limited success.
  • Cost Effective Open Data – Governments become both providers of open data to each other and to the public at large (the latter just for public data) and consumers of open data coming from other parts of government as well as from businesses, NGOs and citizen communities.
  • Citizen Managed Data -  Citizen data vaults are services that provide data subjects with the ability to access their data outside the context of a particular government transaction, allowing them much-finer-grained control over when and how data can be accessed, and by whom, within the relevant legal framework that they are subject to.
  • Hybrid IT and Cloud – The main objectives pushing cloud adoption have been cost reduction, speed of procurement and deployment, and responsiveness to regulations and needs for cost cutting. The public cloud is also gaining momentum as governments seek savings via consolidated procurement.
  • Internet of Things – Governments, as well as most enterprises and technology vendors, have yet to explore the possibilities of an expanded Internet and are not operationally or organizationally ready.
  • Cross Domain Interoperability – Smart government initiatives depend on interoperable information, data obtained from external as well as internal sources, and processing and delivery networks that effectively integrate planning, performance analysis and business operations.
  • Business Process management (BPM)  for Case Management - There isn’t one market for case management because all cases are not the same.
  •  Gamification for Engagement – Gamification can be used by government to motivate interactions with citizens or to achieve more meaningful levels of engagement with employees.

Elsewhere our Government is seeking to smarten more of us up via their Digital Inclusion Strategy  aiming to reduce the number of people who are offline by 25% by 2016.

We hope they achieve, or in fact exceed, their target.

Keep an I on our Week, Masters Marathon edition

Our top articles this week were:

We’ll leave you with a flyover of the Augusta National Golf Club Course – probably the best …..

The Internet of Everything Reinvents the Wheel

Cisco in the form of their UK & Ireland CEO Phil Smith at the launch of their “The Internet of Everything: Bringing the future to life” report yesterday said ” With just 1% of the physical world connected at this time, this is just the beginning of an amazing future.”

They reckon that by 2020  50 billion “things” will be connected globally. So that’s 7 for every one of us!

The report itself looks at the UK situation in 5 main areas:

  1. Healthcare: The innovations anticipated are almost endless and range from wearable video cameras for emergency response units through connected asthma inhalers to smart pill boxes.
  1. Retail: Not only will the high street be smarter they think it will be intelligent as well. “For example, as a consumer moves through the high street and into different shops, an integrated Internet of Everything strategy can see them receive different location-specific content. Marketing tools will enable retailers to provide offers through push notifications, while time-related promotions will encourage consumer spend. Done right, cross-promotion based on immediate location will drive visitors from one retailer to visit others locally. All the while, consumer analytics based on demographic information and activity, such as dwell time conversion rates, and retailers also visited, will provide an intelligence service to improve the customer offer.”
  1. Transport: We can look forward to “Stations-as-a-Service” smart cities smart parking an numerous other evolutions as we reinvent the wheel!
  1. Energy: We will be connecting to conserve.
  1. Manufacturing: “Today, just 4% of devices in that space (the manufacturing floor) are connected to a network of any kind; connecting more could help to dramatically reduce wastage and error.” Consumers’ relationships with purchases are being transformed as sensors and monitoring devices are built into not only the production process but also products themselves. “Cradle-to-grave” strategies tracking product lifecycles from the raw materials in the field through to refurbishment and renewal present manufacturers with major opportunities in the face of spiralling costs and dwindling resources.

The future’s bright the future’s connected.

Twitter’s Something Old Something New and a whole new you

Twitter yesterday released their latest updates for their web features and display format.

In their words the main new features are:

  • Best Tweets: Tweets that have received more engagement will appear slightly larger, so your best content is easy to find.
  • Pinned Tweet: Pin one of your Tweets to the top of your page, so it’s easy for your followers to see what you’re all about.
  • Filtered Tweets: Now you can choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles. Select from these options: Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, or Tweets and replies.

A select few at this stage have already been converted as well as the new format and features applying to any new accounts. The rollout to the rest of the world will start “… In the coming weeks,”

One of the select few already updated is Michelle Obama or to be absolutely accurate the First Lady of the United States @flotus as her other, arguably main, account (measured on followers) of @michelleobama  will, like the rest of us have to wait a little longer!

Dashing amazon

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The “Dash” has appeared!

Amazonfresh  their, somewhat embryonic, US based (Seattle, San Francisco & Los Angeles areas only at present) food store delivery service announced the (limited) availability of this new device last week. It’s by invitation only following application.

The trial we think is only available to Amazon Prime Fresh members (who subscribe to an annual membership fee costing  $299 – the standard prime membership is now $99). Prime Fresh membership is currently available only in the Southern California and San Francisco, CA Metro areas. It sort of gives you the usual prime membership benefits plus free (next day) grocery delivery on orders over $35 ish.

Following the introduction of the TV set top streaming box last week the Fire TV with “voice search” this is the next device including this ability. In addition to the voice search for items it also has a scanning function for barcodes.

As ever via your WI-fi setup the device transfers your spoken and scanned items in this case to your amazonfresh account which can then be edited and submitted for order from your desktop/laptop or mobile app.

Seems to make a lot of sense to us although it does, sort of, introduce yet another remote to the household.

Here’s their promo video.

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Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

Keep an I on our Week, Grand Boat edition

Our top three articles this week were:

  1. New gTLD Registrations running at 200k a month 
  2. Streaming’s on fire
  3. A Certain Welcome for CERT-UK

 We’ll leave you with The Earth Prelude by Ludovico Einaudi

Around the world in 22 days

Google’s Project Loon has just had one of their balloons circumnavigate the world (sort of) in 22 days.

The balloon I-167 is part of the project to set up a “ network in the sky” to bring internet access to, in particular, the billions in the southern hemisphere who are not connected.

The 500 square metre balloon set off from New Zealand and circled Antarctica crossing South America before going some way south of Australia.  

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As it started the second lap balloon I-167 clocked up the half millionth kilometre mark in terms of the projects total balloon travel.

Since mid last year a couple of major  improvements have helped the navigation of the balloons:

  • “we’ve been using the wind data we’ve collected during flights to refine our prediction models and are now able to forecast balloon trajectories twice as far in advance.
  • In addition, the pump that moves air in or out of the balloon has become three times more efficient, making it possible to change altitudes more rapidly to quickly catch winds going in different directions.”

We prefer balloons to drones and are fascinated by this project which can be followed on Google+

Here’s Googles video of the making of their balloons and why they last so long.

Streaming’s on fire

Amazon yesterday announced the launch of their set top TV box amazon fire TV.

Whilst it can be bought for $99 now in the US unfortunately UK availability is yet to be confirmed and, based on their previous hardware releases (particularly kindle Fire tablets), it may be a while coming.

As ever it does have a virtually unique facility, “voice search” which, if their video is anything to go by, is their USP. As Jeff Bezos says “The old way of searching with a TV remote—scrolling and clicking one letter at a time on an alphabet grid—is painful. With Fire TV you simply speak the title, actor, or genre into the remote and you’re done.”

There is also a game controller available (at an extra $39.99) which could well open up the games market for them although “the controller” has had few, if any, positive reviews from gamers!

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The box itself is small 4.5 inches square and 0.7in deep.

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Aimed at both Google’s Chromecast and other set top boxes from the likes of Apple & Roku it is a welcome addition over there! We look forward to a UK introduction hopefully later this year

Here’s amazons impressive promotional video. We also like the popcorn!

Disclosure: We have marketing affiliate arrangements with Amazon

New gTLD registrations running at 200k a month

Some rather fascinating statistics on the new gTLD registrations over at nTLDStats.

Obviously it’s very early days and any conclusions would be inappropriate at this stage.

As one would expect it looks as if on initial launch there is a month one surge in registrations but beyond that we are sure there is much more to look forward to!

For .london .scot .cymru and .wales it will be interesting to see how the geographic gTLD’s evolve. We have a hunch that they may be amongst the winners.

As one would expect Go Daddy is the leading registrar followed by 1&1 Internet, Enom and united-domains.

In terms of the original applicants for the new gTLD this is of course dominated by Donuts.

There’s a brief interview with the founder of  nTLDStats (Stefan Meinecke) of GreenSec over at The Domains.

We will likely report back on a monthly basis as the situation develops.

Incidentally the 200k a month level is roughly what .uk registrations used to run at back earlier this decade when regular stats were released by nominet!

Great info from nTLDStats -  long may it continue.