Good morning. I am David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board, and over the next 20 minutes I’d like to explain our part in helping to deliver on the Digital Britain policy. We all know that we live in a changing, challenging world - and one of the fastest and most pervasive changes is the way our world is increasingly becoming digital. This digital environment is full of both challenge and opportunity, both for society and for business. The Technology Strategy Board works with businesses to promote innovation; we want to help UK business make the most of those opportunities. Let me explain a bit more about what we are doing to help the digital economy become a reality.
We’ve already heard this morning some inspiring vision statements Consumers, government and social services can all be accelerated and amplified by digital media and the internet. Broadband growth is now equated around the world with economic growth. But the UK has some work to do. The Government’s promise of investment in innovation is a great opportunity to grow UK business and consumer benefits – across the spectrum from the creative industries to social and health care
So who are we and why are we involved? We are a national body, set up by the government in 2007, specifically to invest in business innovation. We understand business – in fact most of our people are not career civil servants but people from a business background, with over 650 years of business experience between them. We have a leadership role in technology innovation, working across government and business - and we are responsible for public sector investment of around £1bn over the current three-year period.
The world is changing. The economy is changing. Markets are changing. Our strategies are founded on the realisation that businesses need to innovate to keep up with these trends. [And government too!] Here are a few of our favourite trends… […Extemporise!]
Realising the Digital Britain vision will not be possible without innovation. We do not have the answers today; we are trying to look ten years into the future. One of the challenges is how fast the environment is changing. We all know this. But just how fast is it changing? Let’s just look back ten years. In 1999, computers and mobile phones looked like this. Most internet users were on dialup. The iPod was still two years away; this first MP3 players looked like this. iTunes and Sky Digital were brand new services. There was no YouTube or iPlayer. Google had 8 employees…
…and the Matrix had just been released. And to reflect on how business fares in such an environment, in 1999 the dot.com bubble was near its peak and about to burst – but nobody knew.
The words of Dandridge Cole, who was an American aerospace engineer and futurist, may help: “We cannot predict the future, but we can invent it.”
So what are the big changes driving Digital Britain? As this picture shows, Internet traffic is doubling every two years - and the infrastructure is creaking. The vast bulk of this information ( the red, green and dark blue bars) is free to the end user, whether it is file-sharing between computers, services such as YouTube, or internet TV. A 2007 report put file-sharing at 37% of all internet traffic! (If asked the scale is PetaBytes per month)
What we are seeing now is that for many of those involved the basic business models do not work; and the business dynamic is changing fast. In the first half of 2009, advertising revenues declined 16.6% year on year but internet Advertising grew by 4.6%. The music industry cannot rely on copy sales any more. Search engines are providing direct access to online news. And trust is at risk as online fraud expands all the time.
Collaboration will be vital to get to grips with this. Yet the parties concerned often have inter-related interests and, in many cases, conflicts. There is currently no safe way to try out new technologies, ideas or services and study their impacts. One of our main advantages is that we are impartial. We can take a holistic approach, promoting innovation links across the entire industry including copyright owners, media companies, Internet Service Providers, network owners and providers of public services.
Digital engagement means getting people connected, which is an expensive business. We’re hoping to encourage investment by finding new and cheaper ways to install infrastructure, especially to the less connected communities. (LHS: laying a fibre conduit across the causeway to Holy Island: a plough is much cheaper than a trench) Digital engagement also means getting people interested, and offering them something that will make them take notice. A service like Tesco’s home delivery – enabled by the internet – may have a greater impact on social inclusion, and offer greater incentive to participate in Digital Britain, than anything else we can think of.
Digital engagement also means realising that access to digital services may not be through one of these…
… but more likely one of these. There’s a lot of UK innovation in these products. Digital Britain and digital inclusion means encouraging this market and the innovators that make it happen. And we need to understand how users really want to get their services. What they like. What they’ll use.
This is the strategy that defines our £30M investment programme The first £2M, for feasibility studies, is just about to hit the streets. So what are we trying to help businesses towards?
We view this challenge from three interdependent perspectives. First the networks. Here we have twin aims: to seed the market with new technologies for faster and more responsive network operation, and to build confidence for investment in new infrastructure, by looking for new ways to deploy and operate the network. Over our ten-year horizon, we are therefore working to extend the UK’s communications capabilities both upwards, towards ultra-fast, ubiquitous and reliable connectivity, and outwards, to ensure that this reaches into all corners of the country and society. Secondly, we turn to those offering services over the networks, whether these be founded on digital content, on business tools or on public services. Successful and sustainable models in this rapidly evolving landscape will come through cooperation between groups of businesses with complementary expertise, founded on a group of enabling technologies and standards in areas such as microtransactions, revenue sharing, agile networks, and smart interfaces. We’re working to bring these groups together, and to seed these enabling technologies. The third focus for our work is on people. We need to help industry to provide users with a trusted, secure, robust relationship with the network and the services on it, and to offer a consistent good experience as a wider variety of people link to services in a wider variety of ways. In this vision people will be both protected, and enabled to do new things safely online.
That’s why we’re putting together a UK digital test bed. We’ve learned that testing out new technologies with real people tell us what works, what doesn’t work, and what could work better. It also gives us an early indication of how business might use these new technologies and what business models would work We expect this test-bed to involve thousands of people, and we’ve allocated up to £10m to invest in it over the next 2 years.
This is what it will look like. By creating a widely accessible platform on which real consumers can try out real services in real numbers, we are going to encourage a range of providers to offer new services which the incumbents might not have come up with – or which might be too risky to try out in the open market. We hope that this will give the UK’s most innovative content and services companies the opportunity to leapfrog existing ways of doing business and come up with new products and services that will entice the consumer back into the legitimate market.
So to summarise, these are our investment plans. Across the top is a programme of support for innovation and technology development, to help businesses bring forwards enabling technologies and new business models. There are points of entry for new projectsalong this pipeline, and we have just passed the first with a £2M competition for feasibility studies, where we have received some 560 proposals from small companies with great ideas. These projects will then give rise to demonstrators and new collaborations, getting ready to build confidence to invest towards a market launch. We will help with this by providing an environment where they can showcase, experiment and fine-tune their propositions with controlled trials in front of a group of real customers. We will create this environment, our digital test bed, by assembling the industry’s most advanced capabilities and technical enablers, into a microcosm of the internet of the future. Procurement is now underway for the actual test bed platform, and we’re in detailed discussion with a range of premiere content providers to try to see how much really high quality content we can get some of our top companies to contribute. If we can be successful there, then there is an opportunity to encourage all kinds of innovators and create some really exciting trials.
Innovation and Digital Britain
Director of Innovation Programmes,
Technology Strategy Board
Innovation and engagement
• Broadband growth = economic growth
• Cisco study of global state of broadband put UK
25th out of 66 countries
• Government investment can aid innovation
• Innovation opens the opportunity for private
• …business growth…
• …and consumer benefit
Technology Strategy Board
• The UK innovation agency
investing in business innovation
• Team drawn from business and
• Working across business,
universities and government
• Investment of £1bn over
the current 3 years
Not “business as usual”
• In 2009/2010 we are focussing
• Low Carbon Economy
– Energy Generation and Supply – Renewables and CAT
– Low Carbon Vehicles – Demonstrator
– Low Impact Buildings – Retrofit
– Regenerative Medicine
• Digital Economy
– That’s you!
• What might a technology strategy for digital
engagement look like?
– Three big opportunity areas
• Democracy and government
• Social services and health care
• More inclusive – more sustainable
“For all participants in Digital Britain to benefit fairly from
creation, distribution and consumption of digital content”
Enabling experiment – reducing risk
access to the
Access, protection & empowerment
Security, privacy, trust and usability
for the consumer
and tools to
The Digital Britain Testbed
• A controlled experiment
– for business, technology and consumer
• Real consumers try out new products and
services at scale
– testing new technology, studying new behaviour
• New ways to run the business of the internet -
and business on the internet - over next ten
Test Bed Users
Jan Apr Jul Oct
Test Bed Operation
Trials & Demos
on Test Bed
Our Investment Plan
• Digital is coming
• It will change our society
• It will offer many opportunities, but require a
• The Technology Strategy Board is part of the