Just do something…….

Mark Gibson at The 2019 Digital Leaders Awards

Written by Mark Gibson , Digital & Smart Places Business Development Director, BT Enterprise and Digital Leaders Local Champion 2019

Whilst we have all experienced projects that just seem to flow with ease and precision like a contactless payment for a long-needed coffee (and cake), most projects are a rambunctious mix of highs and lows, carefully guided and adjusted to deliver a good outcome, and a few, with skilful tending might even develop into greatness. However there are some projects that seem to take the long road to nowhere, some for good reason (but somehow managed to limp along for far longer than was necessary) and others that are clearly missed opportunities that just became too difficult, or we became bored, tired, disillusioned and just gave up or moved onto something more exciting (and easier).

Sometimes we are just no good at making choices or decisions, or we are unable too because we are not empowered to do so. We thought we were empowered, but when you add in all the bureaucracy, red tape and most importantly people it all goes south for winter and stays there.We need to be more compelling, relevant and not afraid to change course. So kill it, revive it or re-invent it. Be a Leader, we have plenty of good managers.

At other times larger transformation projects can be overwhelming, hard to get off the ground and take an in-ordinate amount of time, effort and money to really get down to business. In “real” life we all love “try before you buy”, “free Samples”,” test drives”, “demos” etc but don’t apply this as much to “testing” our direction of travel and vision before we commit all (or nothing or somewhere in between). This is a key part of our approach – prove value early and build on it, adapt or move on.

Some of the best results we have achieved are the things that deliver real usability benefits, anticipate user needs and are just plain simple and easy. Clever security, data interoperability and service integration are just expected to happen seamlessly and will increasingly become the cornerstone of future “connected everything” service delivery.

Sometimes you just have to do something, and if it is something, do something that people really value, get started and see if it’s still worth continuing with – doesn’t have to be a big or costly start and you’ll learn a lot from the experience.

Mobility will change everything!

Most of us take our phones everywhere and feel a bit “naked” if we forget to bring it. Oh no – disaster awaits if I’m not connected to my life which is not actually right here, right now. There is a lot of talk about 5G and smart places, where everything talks to everything else and you can access this on the move and in near real-time and be served up data and information that is relevant to where you are and what you are doing…..time to move on from social interactions to service interactions (and more than just HD Video). A good example is Birmingham where they have connected a clinician to the paramedics in the ambulance to improve diagnosis and primary care on the way.

Birmingham University Hospital became the first in the country to trial 5G in a clinical setting. A remote-controlled ultrasound scan is performed by a paramedic wearing a special haptic glove. The glove is controlled by hospital staff who use a machine to guide the glove to certain areas of the body by using vibrations. The images are sent back to the hospital in real time using the 5G network.

The superfast speeds of 5G ensure sharper and more reliable imagery for the clinician than could previously be achieved.

The new technology is expected to save lives and reduce waiting times, inside an ambulance as it races to the hospital, or inside a care home to avoid unnecessary transfers to a hospital for diagnostics, when the patient can be diagnosed and treated in their own bedroom.

Where do we go now…?

As a young lad in the 70’s life was very uncomplicated – if you missed one episode of your favourite TV show it was gone forever and you learnt to accept that. Nowadays it’s not much fun tracking multiple social media conversations and media libraries across multiple tools and remembering 300 hundred increasingly complex and unique passwords (there are some good password management tools to be said). Convergence is not quite yet ubiquitous.

In the “Digital Transformation” world, getting things online is pretty much sorted or progressing in the right direction, the next wave is upon us already – how do we connect people and places with relevant and intuitive services (across agency boundaries) at the point of need, which requires reliable access, data sharing and interoperability services. Not only do we need to transform our services end-to-end (no digital veneers please), we need to make them more relevant for citizens, customers and intermediaries, when and how they need to interact and in a more SYNCHRONOUS manner. Chatbots, Webchat, AI and Instant messaging can go a long way to helping that happen, however anticipating user needs before they even know what they are is liquid gold.

Fundamentally if we If we are to build a truly “digital” nation for future generations we need to accelerate the joining up of core services (identity, security, data sharing, messaging and personalisation) in a more collaborative and standardised manner. Most of the time we don’t know what others are doing around us, what data they have or that “widget” that might just be what we needed. Joining it all together seamlessly and securely will be our biggest challenges going forward.

I want one window on my world, not 50 different views, so can we just do something, like starting to talk about what we need to do to support real converged, seamless and easy to use services?


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