A Year of Digital Adventure: building our digital estate

For Wales, 2016 is the Year of Adventure. In this fledgling digital world of ours though, every year is full of digital adventures, where new technologies, services, apps, ideas and people come to the fore.

The prologue to the digital adventure is about the idea that there will be a time after technological development to having an impact, to change the world; a time when Nanotechnology Meets Local History, a time when a global brand can be created through social media, and a time where technology is easy to choose, use, deploy and benefit from.

Some of these things are here and now. Some of these things take more time and more effort than most of us would like. Deciding what commercial technology to use in an ever changing market, and for ever changing users, is very hard. With open source, free, software, the time and resources required to deploy can still be a challenge – and even making a simple choice, which particular piece of software to use, can be a minefield.

Our digital estate is a key aspect of everything that will come next. An organisation or an individual’s digital estate is their digital world and it is no less important than physical buildings and architecture or, in a personal sense, the fashions we choose to wear.

The digital estate can and does apply to cultures and countries – and what a fantastic challenge and opportunity it is to build on, and maybe beyond, Andrew Green’s and the National Library of Wales’ Theatre of Memory and create a truly Digital Wales.

Recently, two fantastic events at Swansea University brought some of this home. Last week the CHERISH-DE launch talked about how the project will develop innovative approaches to digital economy themes relating to humans, society and industry. The range of academics, from Swansea, Newcastle, Bath and others, and the commercial partners including local and global names, was broad and uplifting.

An Adventure in Big Data

Today, at the Swansea University School of Management, Tourism professionals, data scientists and others met to discuss An Adventure in Big Data. This event covered areas such as big data, smarter cities, tourism, and what can happen when viral marketing turns political, turns around, and bites you. With visitors from Spain, Flanders, Denmark, the US and more, this was one of those meetings that had a distinct digital buzz about it. If Swansea University’s School of Management can make discussions like this happen across the public and private sectors, then it might just hit on a winning formula.

As a number of the talks at both these events highlighted – the digital world is already here, ignore it at your peril.