Dan JellinekEditorMonday 29 December 2014

In brief... Internet of Things "to have greater impact than first digital revolution"; Royal Opera House tech chief to lead Parliament Digital Service; "Verify" digital identity framework provider bid period extended

Internet of Things "to have greater impact than first digital revolution"

Front cover of the new report.A review on how the UK government and businesses can make best use of the "Internet of things" (IoT), including how IoT applications could help maintain national infrastructure and provide more efficient public services, has been published by the government's chief scientific adviser Professor Sir Mark Walport. "There is a danger of trivialising the importance of the Internet of Things through examples that are used to stereotype it - for example, the 'fridge that orders fresh milk'... [but it] has the potential to have a greater impact on society than the first digital revolution", the report says. It recommends 10 actions for government to maximise the opportunities and reduce the risks of these new technologies. These include urging the government to make effective use of its role as a major commissioner of technology products and services by using its buying power to define best practice and to commission technology that uses open standards, is interoperable and secure. "Departments should recognise that the market for Internet of Things applications will be shaped by disruptive small enterprises, as well as by large companies," the review says. It says a Milton Keynes smart city project, funded by Innovate UK, is a good example of this approach. "Government could explore opening up this, and similar pilots, to enable companies and individuals to develop applications or deploy devices", the review says. "There is a powerful opportunity for crowd-sourced innovation. The NHS, in particular, should facilitate improvement in health and social care provision, efficiency and accountability by expert commissioning and rewarding innovative health and social care providers. Other sectors offer similarly attractive opportunities [including] energy and transport." The review also says that while the UK government has made important progress on open data policy, much of the data released to date is only enabled to be human-readable, not machine-readable. "Government should ensure that all public bodies and regulated industries are mandated to publish reliable machine-readable data through open application programming interfaces, subject to appropriate data protection safeguards. Data held by the Office for National Statistics could be an important test case", it says.
Pictured: Front cover of the new report.

Chief scientific adviser review of Internet of things: www.gov.uk/government/publications/internet-of-things-blackett-review

Royal Opera House tech chief to lead Parliament Digital Service

Rob Greig, chief technology officer at the Royal Opera House in London, has been appointed to head a new Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) from 1 April, according to a report on tech news website CIO.co.uk. As noted on UKAuthority.com in March, the new UK Parliamentary "Digital Office" is harmonising the management of all online and ICT services in the Palace of Westminster into a single organisation. The management boards of the House of Commons and House of Lords agreed to the move following a review of Parliament's online services commissioned from the digital democracy charity mySociety. This urged that a new "Head of Digital" - the post now set to be taken by Greig - should be "publicly accountable for delivering measurably rising levels of satisfaction with Parliament's digital services from members, staff and the public." According to the CIO report, the new service will have 300 staff and a budget of £30 million.Greig himself will be paid a salary of about £110,000 and will sit on the management boards of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the report says. One of his first tasks will be to draw up and implement a new digital strategy for both Houses of Parliament, it says.
Rob Greig to lead Parliament Digital Service: ow.ly/G6hkP
UK Parliament Strategic Review of Online Services (from March): www.parliament.uk/business/news/2014/march/review-of-parliaments-online-services-report

"Verify" digital identity framework provider bid period extended

A European contract notice for the next framework for companies to bid to become identity providers under the government's federated online identity scheme "GOV.UK Verify" has been extended from 6 February to 16 February 2015 following supplier feedback, the government has announced. The government is holding a briefing event for prospective bidders in London on 8 January. Participants must register by 6 January, and potential bidders can also ask questions online. Earlier this month the government announced that Digidentity has become the second secure online identity provider to join the public beta testing service for Verify, following Experian which joined in October. The service entered public beta in October, which means any government service can test the system. The project has signed initial supplier contracts with five companies, of which the remaining three - Mydex, The Post Office and Verizon - have yet to join the public beta. The public beta includes a document checking service to allow identity providers to validate people's driver licence and passport details, according to the Government Digital Service.
GOV.UK Verify Procurement Notice: http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:428146-2014:TEXT:EN:HTML&tabId=1