|Community Study Tours 2013 Edition|
|Written by David Brunnen|
|Tuesday, 11 December 2012 10:02|
“Believing the Bigger Picture”
With the continued search for economic revitalization and societal development, where best might we look for inspiration, policies and market models that will inform investors and developers in the UK?
The supposedly world-leading digital market environments that may exist in the Far East seem far too culturally different - their translation into actions here in the UK might be seen as too impractical and their starting points have been so very different.
For 2013 we have selected a choice of two study locations – a distant venture scheduled for early June and one closer to home in early September. Apart from their 'translatable' social, political and economic environments they both demonstrate the power of places with visionary leadership.
Our earlier Study Tours focused attention directly on the deployment of digital infrastructure – notably the provision of ‘Fibre to the Home’ and the management of local networks – by visiting exemplars in Sweden and The Netherlands. It became apparent that these advanced network deployments and their sustained growth must be understood in the context of a wider set of digital application factors – all contributing necessary preconditions for success.
But rising above the complexity of integrating departmentalized responsibilities into a clear plan for action is a single goal that has not yet been fully articulated.
The entire point of digital investment and all that it enables is Revitalisation of the Economy. The elimination of the infrastructural ‘digital deficit’ is an essential step towards building sustainable communities and resolving all other deficits – fiscal, housing, energy, health – across every sector and every aspect of the way we work and live.
For those charged with designing and developing ‘smart communities’ the underlying objectives – the motivating factors behind digital deployments – are far removed from the day-to-day concerns of the networking industry and technologists. Community and eco-system developers are energized by the needs of many economic sectors.
In local digital infrastructure investment there is a common ground that enables many of those objectives to be satisfied but it is mistaken to see the networking platforms as the simple sole solution for successful economic revitalization and societal development. In the UK we are fortunate that our environments for working and living are now sufficiently ‘digitally-informed’ that questions about the need for infrastructure investment are far less contentious. This sharper view of adequacy and ambition occurs at a time when the transformational needs are starkly evident – particularly in the reorientation of public sector services.
We do not therefore despair at the ‘litany of lags’ – the league tables that chart the UK’s relative digital deficits – but are emboldened to better understand the experiences of pioneering communities and adapt these to regional, city and societal policy development in the UK.
The 4/5-day June 2013 Study Tour will visit the USA and include part of the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) annual summit in New York City. The Autumn Study Tour will visit Stockholm and a small town in central Sweden – both will inform delegates about municipal management of their local economies and the growing fusion of investment from many sectors in connectivity infrastructure.
Study Tours 2013 are intended for utility providers, network builders and operators, community champions, business leaders and (local) government officials tasked with building stronger economies and healthier communities.
A Groupe Intellex and Marit Hendriks production