Glasgow City Council today (19 November) learned of progress on its Digital Glasgow Strategy.
This is a comprehensive digital strategy that was developed with public, private, academic and voluntary sector partners across the city, and launched in November 2018. Today’s update was the first full report on the implementation of the strategy, and how this implementation has brought benefits to the residents, businesses, organisations and services in Glasgow.
The report also reflected on the fundamental impacts – and the future challenges it presents – that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the use of digital technology in society, the economy, and public services.
The strategy has 73 actions to deliver in its five-year life, and of these, 12 are complete; 43 are in development; seven are currently being planned; and 11 are yet to begin.
There are many examples of how the strategy has helped businesses and residents in Glasgow, including:
- 67 businesses in the city received additional support through the Digital Boost programme;
- Glasgow Life coordinated the delivery of 780 devices to vulnerable people in the city as part of Scottish Government’s Connected Scotland programme;
- The Glasgow Telecoms Unit has been developed to attract investment in Glasgow’s digital infrastructure;
- Initial trials of the NHS Near Me video conferencing service for social work services such as alcohol addictions, mental health and learning disabilities;
- An open innovation challenge delivered by the Centre for Civic Innovation and the Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership that is working with SMEs to explore the use of digital telecare for enabling more preventative care services;
- The scaling up of the city’s intelligent street lights network to a total of 3,500 intelligent street lights across the whole of the city centre; and
- A new MyGlasgow online service that provides new (responsive) online forms for stray dogs, bus shelters, noise, anti-social behaviour, and food safety, and integration with the MyGov.scot MyAccount service.
With specific regard to the actions taken by the council in response to the pandemic, this included the rapid scaling up of infrastructure to support homeworking; a rapid adoption of Microsoft Teams to enable staff; the 3D printing of face visors for care staff; and the deployment of a customer relationship management (CRM) system to support the Shielding operation.
In Glasgow’s schools, there has been a major upgrade of connectivity to all primary and secondary schools telecommunications infrastructure, with over 25,000 iPads now delivered to Glasgow school children through the Connected Learning programme, with plans for the delivery of the remaining 25,000 being accelerated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 3,600 Wi-Fi hotspots have now been installed in schools, and Apple TV has been fitted in classrooms, allowing teachers and pupils to project wirelessly to digital screens.
The council’s own digital infrastructure has undergone a major upgrade, including the migration to a new secure and resilient data centre, and the installation of 250km of optical fibre providing gigabit connectivity to 650 council and school buildings.
In addition, Glasgow became one of the first cities outside of the USA to join the MetroLab Network which fosters city/university collaboration to drive smart city innovation.
Looking forward, some of the next steps and priority for the Digital Glasgow Strategy include the focusing of digital investment to support economic and social recovery and renewal; improving digital skills and tackling digital exclusion; supporting and developing the city’s tech cluster, and renewing a focus on open data, data analytics and open innovation.
Councillor Angus Millar, Chair of the Digital Glasgow Board, said: “We have made great progress in delivering on our Digital Glasgow Strategy, with action and investment utilising digital technology to improve lives and services and provide opportunities for people and businesses. The importance of the digital agenda has been as clear as ever during the pandemic, with more Glaswegians relying on technology to work and connect, and our Digital Glasgow Strategy has enabled the city to provide a swift response to the needs of care workers and people being shielded. The next three years of the strategy will see further progress as we work to tackle the digital divide, promote greater connectivity and support improved and more accessible public services.”
More information on the Digital Glasgow Strategy can be found at: https://www.glasgow.gov.uk/