The fourth strategic focus of the the Hume Digital Strategy is to encourage digitally enabled business. There is a major opportunity in the region to enhance and learn from the success of existing innovative businesses, to attract further sectors that are knowledge driven, smart and green, and to enable local business to find and form global markets and alliances by:
Best-in-class public-private partnering supporting the digital economy, including collaborations between business, governments and TAFE/universities
Ensuring all business support activity is digitally informed
Promoting skills acquisition and knowledge sharing
Creating direct opportunities through procurement
Targeting support by local government to promote the economic opportunities of key sectors in each sub region
Promoting Hume as the region for digitally enabled businesses in Victoria
Strategic focus three of the Hume Digital Economy Strategy is to use new digital media to create smarter, better-designed, more accessible public services with reduced costs and higher impact, tailored to local communities and businesses. There are enormous opportunities in the public sector to utilise these technologies. Examples include:
Use of social media for engagement, services and services
Sharing costs and experiences
Involving residents in service design and delivery
Opening up access to data, and
Using digital platforms to improve emergency services
To achieve the goal of improved services and engagement the region will focus on the following actions:
Review of the design and delivery of services in a digital era by every public sector organisation in the region
Identifying the specific needs in terms of digital infrastructure
Reviewing digital skills of staff and how they can potentially use mobile and social technologies
Reviewing how smart data can be managed and utilised
Finding digital champions within organisations who can promote change
Reviewing how fibre networks can be used to deliver services
Committing to a regional and partner Open Data Policy
Ensuring all not-for-profit organisations, companies and other partners delivering programs for the the public sector have their own digital strategies and digital inclusion policies
Review use of online platforms in the context of improving emergency services
Specific actions for individual partners are included in the Digital Hume action plan.
What do you think of the actions above? Do you have any other suggestions? We’d love to hear from others in the region with ideas and initiatives that are already underway.
The second strategic focus of the Hume Digital Strategy is to get everyone online by 2017. The economic gain from enabling an extra 10 per cent of the population to get online has been estimated by the Federal Government as resulting in a minimum increase of over 0.5 per cent in the areas output or wealth.
Obviously ensuring access for the community is the first step in getting people online which is the first strategic focus of the report. Once the platform is in place we still need to ensure we get region-wide participation and that we develop the skills needed to participate effectively in order to ensure digital readiness. (see Figure below. source: Hume Digital Strategy)
The region as a whole must commit to a “broad campaign and program of projects to raise enthusiasm, skills and digital inclusion”. The specific actions outlined in the strategy are:
To set a bold target for all online by 2017. The aim is to drive and motivate partners and the community towards the goal of a networked region
To develop a tool to assess broadband readiness and the use of digital media
To ensure partners make digital inclusion a priority and are digital champions for their area, client or community group
Ensuring best practice is shared and activities coordinated
Focusing on groups at risk of digital exclusion such as over 60s, the indigenous community, people with a disability, recent migrants and refugees
Focusing on businesses that historically have low take up, such as those in agriculture and hospitality sectors, and small business enterprises
Focusing on re-skilling and/or up-skilling those in work or seeking to enter the workforce
Exploiting libraries and other relevant public infrastructure to act as key digital hubs for access and skills
Driving up community acquisition and use of digital skills and demand for broadband through increased digitisation of services and engagement with residents via online platforms and social media, and
Ensuring public spaces have WI-FI connectivity/availability
The recent Hume Digital strategy emphasised that the region needs to maximise the impact of the NBN in order to enable future success. The report acknowledged that there are some big challenges including:
Supply gaps and unmet needs in the region
Time – it will take up to ten years to roll the NBN out across the region
Not all areas will receive 100Mbps
The RDA Hume Committee dedicated to implementing the strategy have committed to:
Ensuring good working partnerships between the three tiers of government via the Hume strategy partnership group, NBN Co and other broadband and mobile providers
Increasing the use of and access to existing public sector networks
Exploring the creation of regional data centres in and for the Hume Region
Some longer-term actions that the region will examine include:
Generating innovative solutions for improving wireless broadband supply
Aggregating demand for and purchasing of high-speed broadband services to reduce cost and improve quality
Exploring how to aggregate demand for and purchasing of of high speed services to reduce costs and improve quality
CASE STUDY: Public Sector Demand Aggregation – HumeNET The HumeNET fibre, serving the Hume Regional Alliance, formed in 2006 and built on the former HumeNET Ltd and the Hume ICT Alliance, runs HumeNET, a broadband network linking healthcare centres. Service areas encompass acute health, community and primary health, and some local GP network connections. The Hume Rural Health Alliance spans regional hospitals, 14 community health providers and nine health information service providers. One of the local users of HumeNET, the Alexandra District Hospital, is consistently recognised as one of the leaders in the delivery or rural healthcare and has received awards and nominations in the Victorian Healthcare Awards every year since 2006.
As a member of the Hume Rural Health Alliance and long term user of the HumeNET fibre network, the experience of the hospital points to the opportunities associated with high-speed broadband access, but also where there remain important obstacles for further participation and use.
Do you have an opinion on how to maximise the use of the NBN in the region? We’d love to hear your thoughts.
The content from this post was extracted from our Digital Strategy which is available for download here.