UK Telecoms Ambitions – The UK is investing hugely in the future of telecoms, presenting significant opportunities for Northern Ireland businesses to take advantage of – provided they’re ready.
Earlier this month, the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) announced the UK was joining a telecoms coalition of leading global nations and was set to pump £70 million into the development of future telecoms tech.
Along with Australia, Canada, Japan, and the United States, the UK said it is joining forces to strengthen co-ordination on security, resilience and innovation.
The Global Coalition on Telecommunications (GCOT) as they are calling it will also explore opportunities for closer collaboration in areas such as research and development, information sharing and international outreach.
It’s important because strong telecoms networks are vital to a well-functioning society or as DSIT Secretary Michelle Donelan put it, they’re the “lifeline of global economies”.
All good news, but what really caught my eye was that investment pledge. It’s part of a ‘future telecoms’ programme that will be led through universities to research ways we can boost the development of new tech, particularly through 6G.
Telecoms and technology more generally, is in a continual state of development – the question is, are you and your organisation keeping pace with that change?
Let’s look at 6G. Running around 100-times faster than 5G, with increased bandwidth and lower latency, it will open up an immense world of opportunities.
It will mean virtually instantaneous communication between devices enabling a sea-change in how we interact with consumers and colleagues.
I say ‘virtually’ because 6G will also allow the metaverse to be properly realised providing real-time personalised 3D worlds to be created – think about how your future customer might visit you without even leaving their living room.
It could be the same for workplace or client meetings too, while virtual and augmented reality applications enabled through 6G could transform how we train future generations, allowing them to get ‘hands on’ in a completely controlled environment.
If it sounds like a vision of a distant future, those of us of a certain age may recall when BBC’s Tomorrow’s World broadcast a piece on the possibilities of the “information super highway” which at the time (1994) appeared lightyears away to some.
Of course, it wasn’t, with the internet a staple in businesses and many homes well before the turn of the century.
6G is expected to roll out across the UK in the next five to eight years. Keeping pace with technological advances available to our businesses and the UK telecoms ambitions can ensure we’re ready to hit the ground running.
This article first appeared in The Irish News, Tuesday 17th October 2023.