The Government’s new digital strategy has outlined key changes it wants to make in 2017, including a heavy focus on AI, data and to create new markets for the UK’s creative industries.
In a speech today (1 March), culture secretary Karen Bradley says the digital sector needs to be taken seriously as it is now worth 7% of the the economy and grew nearly three times faster than comparable sectors in 2015.
“But that does not mean that we can stand still. And just keeping up should not be the limit of our ambitions. The UK must lead the world. Meanwhile, none of our citizens should be left behind,” Bradley explains.
Bradley says it is The Government’s ambition for the digital sector to continue growing and by 2025 for its contribution to the economy to rise to £200bn. In order to do this, it plans to invest heavily in new technology and connectivity, in particular by increasing the level of research and development in the sector.
A greater focus on R&D
The Government will not only focus on developing new technologies but it will ensure citizens and businesses can trust the outcomes of processes that the technology creates/
“Instead of focusing on the type of technology, we will focus on what consumers – households and businesses – need and want as they go about their lives where they live, work and travel in this digital age,” Bradley says.
This innovative technology will be one of the key drivers of the UK’s continued economic growth post-Brexit
Rachel Aldighieri, DMA
This includes a greater focus on connectivity and the roll out of 5G. Bradley says the quality of connection is what matters the most, not the means of delivery.
The government’s Digital Catapult, a space for technologists and creatives, will become more data-driven, with a wider focus on cybersecurity. It will focus on connectivity through the Internet of Things and the role of 5G networks. It also aims to look more into artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented, virtual and mixed reality.
Rachel Aldighieri, MD at the DMA, believes that investing in AI could be the thing the nation needs to recover post-Brexit.
“This innovative technology will be one of the key drivers of the UK’s continued economic growth post-Brexit. To see this success come to fruition we need the Government’s commitment to further develop skills and infrastructure, so we welcome today’s announcement,” she explains.
Data protection and cyber security
The UK will implement the General Data Protection Regulation by May 2018, which will ensure a shared and higher standard of protection for consumers and their data. This follows data breach concerns from brands including Yahoo and Sports Direct.
There will be increased support for businesses in cyber security with new initiatives including two innovation centres, a Cyber 20 programme and programmes to help universities.
Bradley says the government is also working with regulators and the industry to ensure that advertising for broadband is presented more accurately and reflects the actual speeds consumers expect to receive, rather than the headline ‘up to’ speed available.
“There should not be a gap between what is promised by providers and what is experienced by the consumer,” the strategy states.