Some of the actions include a proposed new partnership to deliver investment in digital infrastructure and 5G mobile technology; the roll-out of more than 50,000 iPads to the city’s schoolchildren; the introduction of more ‘Smart City’ infrastructure such as intelligent street lighting; a commitment to open data; and new work to identify digital technology skills gaps and the future digital skills needs of Glasgow’s economy.
This strategy has two main ambitions relating to how digital technology – itself the fastest-growing sector in Glasgow’s economy, and one which underpins many jobs in other sectors – can benefit the city’s residents, businesses and organisations:
- Maximising the contribution that digital technology can make in achieving inclusive economic growth that benefits everyone in Glasgow and establishes the city’s tech sector as a top 20 global digital economy
- Ensuring digital technology plays a transformative and innovative role in how future public services are delivered
Digital technology has already transformed key areas of everyday life and work, with the ‘Digital Revolution’ set to make a similar impact on other sectors, presenting both challenges and opportunities for our economy and society.
These opportunities offer the chance to deliver economic growth, improve the quality of life and the environment for the people of Glasgow, and transform public services by making it easier for citizens to interact with them and redesigning these services around the citizen.
At the same time, the city recognises the need to meet the challenges posed by the impact of digital technology, including disruption to traditional business models and the problem of digital exclusion.
In an increasingly online world, we must ensure people have the access and skills to use digital technology as it becomes more important for financial, employment, healthcare and learning opportunities.
A number of key actions from the Digital Glasgow Strategy – which has been developed collaboratively with a wide range of partner organisations from the public, private, third and academic sectors – will be delivered with the aim of making Glasgow a leader in both the digital economy and digital public services.
The strategy identifies a number of new actions to be taken forward by the council and its partners, including a proposed new partnership to deliver investment in digital infrastructure and 5G mobile technology; collaboration across the public, private and third sector to improve digital inclusion and participation; new work to identify digital technology skills gaps and the future digital skills needs of Glasgow’s economy; better promotion of digital careers and the development of digital clubs for young adults; a commitment to open data; and the development of a ‘Smart City Challenge’ to stimulate collaboration and innovation with businesses.
Also among the strategy’s 74 actions are those reflecting existing activity in the city, including the roll-out of more than 50,000 iPads to the city’s schoolchildren and upgrades to school Wi-Fi; the introduction of more ‘Smart City’ infrastructure such as intelligent street lighting; a programme of work to make more council services accessible online; investment in digital inclusion to support people through the roll-out of Universal Credit; and the development of a 3D strategy to develop 3D building models to support planning and regeneration in Glasgow.
Councillor Angus Millar, depute city convener for Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council, said: “We are living in a time of huge and accelerating technological change, and we need to ensure that Glasgow is ready to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges that the Digital Revolution will bring for our economy and the future of our public services.
“While Glasgow is already recognised as an innovative smart city with a strong and diverse digital tech sector, the Digital Glasgow Strategy and the partnership working across the city that it underpins will help us take the next steps in becoming a digital global leader – and it will guide the city in taking advantage of the opportunities digital technology offers to improve our public services and create inclusive economic growth that people across Glasgow can benefit from.”
Glasgow’s digital tech sector is the largest in Scotland, and the city has achieved global recognition as a leading smart city with notable innovations in data analytics and big data.
In 2013, Glasgow won a £24 million award – beating 30 other UK cities – to develop Future City Demonstrator programmes in areas such as smart infrastructure and smart energy that have acted as a catalyst for the digital transformation of public services and in turn attracting further investment in smart city innovation.
Glasgow is also home to two Innovation Districts – one in the city centre and one in the West End – and the Centre for Civic Innovation, based at the Tontine.