How technology is helping the UK thrive

A critical enabler: How technology is helping the UK thrive

Ed Stainton, Director of Major Government
| BT

The world is transforming at an incredible pace – and even more so since the raft of change the pandemic brought to all our lives. If you’re not able to embrace the latest technology, you’ll either be outcompeted, out of business, or out of luck.

The UK is ranked in the top five countries in the Global Innovation Index 2021, but we must continue to innovate to build a thriving and prosperous country for everyone.

So, what does all this change mean for prosperity, security, and resilience on an organisational and at a national level? With the rising cost of living and a digital skills gap which risks holding back UK productivity, the government must work hard to find solutions to these pressing problems, and the right partners to help tackle them.

A critical enabler

Over several decades, BT has built a strong position underpinning the UK’s critical public services, serving 1.2 million corporate and public sector customers ranging from microbusinesses and SMEs, through to large corporates, central government and local government bodies.

As a critical enabler and the epitome of a trusted partner we provide fast, reliable and secure solutions, including smart bases for the MoD, great connectivity for NHS sites, supporting the country’s 999 service and operating the Emergency Services Network (ESN).

Our new Charter to provide business and public sector customers with a springboard for growth is our way of saying we can go further for the UK. The commitments include a greater focus on purpose-driven goals, innovation, world-class cyber security, a new suite of digital services and customer service improvements.

To accelerate the pace of innovation across the UK, we’re investing almost £100 million over the next three years to develop solutions which integrate technologies like 5G, IoT, Edge Computing, Cloud and AI. This will transform and modernise key industries, making the country stand out on the global stage and fuel the UK economy by driving productivity and business growth.

Connecting for good

Our core purpose – ‘to Connect for Good’, still guides us.

We’re creating a ‘Digital Fabric’ for the UK – powered by the biggest full fibre and 5G public networks – which will deliver a series of hyper-connected ‘Smart Spaces’ across the nation. These will unlock intelligent and immersive experiences for businesses, consumers, and communities alike. This includes rural areas and outside of London, therefore aiding the ‘levelling-up’ agenda.

Almost 600,000 small business owners and employees have received free digital skills training through our Skills for Tomorrow programme, and by March 2023, we’ll reach a further 350,000 small firms.

Our commitment and leadership towards Net Zero includes removing all single use plastics for new business product packaging and devices within the next year, and working with our supply chain to kick-start a device recovery, refurb and reuse scheme. We’re also electrifying our entire fleet (the second largest in the UK) fully by 2025.

We take this responsibility seriously and will continue to play a critical part in enabling a prosperous and resilient UK for today and tomorrow.

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