Monthly Archives: August 2013

Encouraging Digital Business

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

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Transforming Public Services and Community Engagement using Digital Media

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
  • Tele-working
  • 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.

How to get everyone in the Hume Region online by 2017

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)

Digital readiness requires access, participation and skills

Digital readiness

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 full Digital Strategy documents can be downloaded here.

Are you involved in getting people online in the region? We’d love to hear your story via our comments and Twitter and Facebook pages.

 

Maximising the impact of the NBN in the Hume Region

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.

Hume Region Digital Strategy

RDA Hume recently released the Digital Strategy for the Hume Region. Over the coming weeks we will be blogging about the five key strategy focus areas which are:

  1. Maximising the impact of the NBN
  2. Striving to get “all online by 2017″
  3. Working towards transforming public services and community engagement
  4. Encouraging digitally enabled business
  5. Marketing Digital Hume

Please join the conversation via Facebook and Twitter.

In the meantime the strategy can be downloaded on our Digital Strategy page.