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Digital Britain: BIG things are happening

August 4, 2011 at 2:00 am PST

My wife was shopping online this past week. While she was watching the rich-media cat walk feature on asos.com, which is now the norm for clothing retailer websites, it occurred to me how things have changed. Moreover, how our expectations have dramatically evolved.

On a regular basis I hear friends, colleagues and business partners complain about the perceived speed of their internet connection – web pages not loading fast enough, unable to reach a particular website, or a poor user experience on Skype. Consumers are demanding more – more broadband speed, better applications and abundant availability.

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Great Expectations: Onward and Upward

As a young man growing up in the East End of London during the 1970s, I recall that some parents had low expectations for their children. Their thinking, our child probably won’t amount to much, given their environment. Why? Prolonged poverty can deplete the human spirit of any hope for a better future.

Throughout its history, the area was known as an affordable haven for poor people and immigrants. East London had developed rapidly during the 19th century. The neighborhoods surrounding the West India Docks the East India Docks and Mill Wall Dock — along the banks of the river Thames — were once thriving communities of tradesmen and merchants.

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Digital Britain: Creative and Tech Talent Landscape

July 12, 2011 at 1:30 am PST

Right in the middle of Shoreditch, and a landmark for the Silicon Roundabout community, TechHub has turned one year old.  With the captivating Elizabeth Varley and the Helm, supported by Mike Butcher and Mike Marcus (plus many others), TechHub is ready to celebrate its second year of operations.

I attended part of their celebrations this past week, and I was most definitely filled with a refreshing optimism for the future of this blossoming tech cluster within the East End of London.

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Digital Britain: Reports from the heart of Shoreditch

June 24, 2011 at 1:07 am PST

As a new contributor to the Connected Life Exchange, I have been thinking — there’s so much that is happening in the realm of technology and telecoms , not just in the UK, but globally — it is difficult to know where to start.

So let’s go on a journey, with the starting point being East London – my home town.

In November 2010 David Cameron pledged ‘that the East London Tech City will rival the Silicon Valley’.  This got me thinking, how do you create something like Silicon Valley, when Silicon Valley, really just happened? So what did David Cameron really mean when he said this and more to the point, how on earth is it going to be achieved?

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Creating a Digital Business Ecosystem

Most informed people tend to agree, broadband services can be applied as an enabler of socioeconomic advancement. However, while high-speed internet access is an important ingredient for gaining entry into the global networked economy, its application is most effective when used as part of a concerted effort to empower the members of a local community.

Howard’s recent story about the role of broadband in rural development attracted some interesting commentary — both on the blog post and within the LinkedIn groups where I shared a summary. Most of the comments were about infrastructure investment, but some of the other insights reminded me of the observations that I made during my recent trip to London, England.

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