How ready are you for the cloud?


Do you lie awake at night, staring at the ceiling and wondering whether or not you’re ready for the cloud? If the cloud turned up tomorrow morning, would you be deeply red-faced, horribly unprepared, hobbling around with your trousers around your ankles like the UK after the Brexit vote?

Well, cheer up: a workshop that addresses this very thing is on the way – and it’s free.

Frequent Socitm collaborator Eduserv, a not-for-profit partner for public and third sector organisations, will hold the special event at no less than Microsoft’s HQ in Reading on Wednesday 17 October.

And what can we expect? According to Eduserv, the workshop will cover: where you need to assess your readiness for cloud; how to effectively assess each of these areas; reviewing what’s discovered; and planning next steps and building a business case. So, you can expect plenty of insightful stuff.

Eduserv says that the interactive event is for IT and business leaders who are currently considering moving to the cloud. The organisation adds that to have a real chance of success, you must have a clear understanding of where you currently are, as this ensures that a realistic plan is put in place, helping to safeguard a smooth transition when the adoption starts.

In the, I say again, FREE workshop, Eduserv’s CTO, Andy Powell, and solutions consultant Colm Blake will teach you how to perform your own cloud adoption assessment within your organisation.

So, if you’re suffering pre-cloud anxieties there seems little reason to miss this special event.

Click here to read more and book your place.


How ready are you for the cloud?

West Midlands to testbed 5G


The next chapter in the exciting ‘G’ series is coming to the West Midlands, along with 50 million quid.

Following on from 4G, itself preceded by 3G, 5G will, it is said, offer even faster connection speeds to the millions of Facebook checkers, Twitter twitterers and LinkedIn posers throughout the UK.

And the lucky old West Midlands is to host the first multi-city 5G test bed, trialling the tech before a future rollout across the country – unless it all goes wrong, of course, in which case I guess they’ll just skip to 6G?

The pilot will see hubs set up in Birmingham, Coventry and Wolverhampton, with the first of a series of projects expected to go live early next year.

The slightly over-excitable Margot James, minister for digital, said: ‘5G has the potential to dramatically transform the way we go about our daily lives, and we want the citizens of the UK to be amongst the first to experience all the opportunities and benefits this new technology will bring. The West Midlands Testbed, which is the first of its kind anywhere in the world, will be instrumental in helping us realise this ambition.’

The Department Culture, Media and Sport’s £50 million in funding for the project is coming from the £200m the government has assigned to develop 5G technologies.

Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, is very pleased with the developments, which have moved him to the following words: ‘This announcement is game-changing for the West Midlands economy. This will be the backbone of our future economy and society.

‘We have been working to put the foundations in place to grow the industries which will create the jobs of the future, particularly around driverless vehicles and life sciences where we have a genuine advantage. To deliver the future of these industries we need the power of 5g.’

West Midlands to testbed 5G

Multi-purpose and library apps prove popular for councils

Blog Bradford app

SA Mathieson, editor of Socitm’s In Our View magazine

Multi-purpose and library-specific apps appear to be the most popular provided by local authorities, according to data from Google’s Play store.

As of mid-August, at least 13 local authority apps had been installed more than 5,000 times through Google, with eight of them library service apps from Scottish technology company Solus.

Bradford City Council’s multi-purpose app, which covers areas including school closures, library renewals and job vacancies, and Glasgow City Council’s iTouch-designed MyGlasgow app for reporting environmental issues, had both been installed more than 10,000 times.

As well as those for libraries, multi-purpose apps designed by Cloud 9 for East Devon District Council and governmentM for Staffordshire County Council, as well as Boxsail’s Recycle for Greater Manchester app, had all been installed more than 5,000 times.

The 127 apps, provided by 105 local authorities, were found through keyword searches in the Google App store for the 50 largest UK local authorities and lists of apps from selected suppliers, so the data is indicative rather than comprehensive.

But many council apps appear to be little-used. Although 68 had been installed more than 1,000 times through Google, 47 had between 100 to 999 installations and 12 had been installed fewer than 100 times.

User ratings for apps varied widely, with five having average scores of less than two stars out of five, but 12 scoring four or above. Cardiff Council’s multi-purpose app, launched in June, was one of the most highly-rated, with an average score of 4.6.

A longer version of this article is in the new issue of Socitm’s In Our View magazine, available for download here.

Multi-purpose and library apps prove popular for councils

Friday roundup: A week in tech


Facebook et al are going to start receiving some eye-watering fines in the post if they don’t start clearing their wretched networks of terror content, pending the European Union’s plans.

Tired of terror-related carnage, the EU wants to force the likes of Twitter, Facebook…um, Geocities if it’s still going, to remove violent mischief within an hour of going live, or be penalised into oblivion.

By my count, this is the 453rdattempt by the authorities to deal with the big social networks’ crummy grip on terror content and other cyber atrocities.

According to Julian King, the UK’s security commissioner in Brussels, people are increasingly getting their instructions for terrorism over the internet – and digital material has had a part to play in every European attack in the past 18 months.

Speaking, rather than tweeting, thankfully, Mr King said: ‘We have got a problem with content; it is not an entirely new problem, we are not starting from scratch, we have agreed to do some voluntary stuff, and we got some good progress – but not enough.’

If the EU gets its legislative way, networks will also have to erect systems that automatically remove terror propaganda.

So, let’s wait and see how all that works out.


Already cuddling up nicely with government bosses in China, Google seems to be extending the goodwill towards the authorities in Moscow.

The search giant has scrubbed YouTube adverts by one Alexei Navalny, a big critic of Russian uber-boss Vladimir Putin.

According to Google, it removed the ads merely to act in accordance with the laws of the land, which decree that political campaigning in a no-no within 24 hours of an election.

My Navalny’s YouTube videos called for people to join protests against the government’s plans to change the age of retirement in Russia.

So, jolly nice of Google to stringently adhere to local rules, and coupled with last month’s news that the firm is building a special government-friendly search engine for China, one wonders what the company might do next. A digital marketplace for the Mexican Juarez drugs cartel? A bespoke photo-sharing hub for ISIS?


Yet again the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned a firm’s broadband adverts for being full of fibs.

Complaints have been upheld that Vodafone’s recent irritating Martin Freeman-fronted campaign has been misleading customers, claiming as it does that the firm’s broadband service doesn’t suffer ‘drop-out’ like other providers.

However, the ASA has ruled that the claims can’t be substantiated and that consumers might interpret the ads as saying that broadband with Vodafone would mean an end to the ongoing curse of internet connections, buffering.

This is where it gets interesting: on its website, Vodafone claimed that its Ultimate Speed Guarantee ‘means you get the best broadband speed available to you, or we’ll give you a discount off your monthly bill until we can get you there’.

However, speed and ‘drop-out’ are two different things, as I can tell you from my own horrible experience at my house, where the internet is nice and fast – when it’s there at all.

Interestingly, one of those that complained about the unreliable ads was BT – and you know you’re doing something wrong as an ISP when they’ve got the moral high ground.

Vodafone has said that it’s ‘disappointed’ with the ruling (specially as they probably paid Mr Freeman £millions to star in their rubbish, now banned adverts) but here’s the rub: the ads ran for ages, so Vodafone got lots of publicity and, I assume, sales from the campaign, but all the ASA has done is prohibited further broadcast, which is what happens every time in these situations.

When are these firms going to start getting fined for lying?

Friday roundup: A week in tech