As part of this strategy, the public will increasingly be “nudged” into using the gov.uk portal to access government services rather than the phone or via face-to-face meetings. This, in theory, will save the taxpayer a heap of money, as call-centre and branch staff salary bills are slashed as a result.
By March, all 24 ministerial departments should have made the switch to gov.uk portal, which has been designed to make it quicker and easier to find and use government services. Over 300 other departments and public bodies are expected to make the join the website before the end of 2013.
The government talked up the success of G-Cloud throughout 2012, though admitted improvements need to be made. This year will see the rollout of more services onto the government’s cloud-based procurement network, with local authorities increasingly encouraged to sign up in order to save costs.
This year is likely to see more councils turn to outsourcing as a way to reduce costs, sometimes in the face of vociferous public opposition. Indeed, residents in Barnet have pledged to continue campaigning against their council’s decision in late December to outsource IT services to Capita.
By the end of 2013, BT should have reached its target of rolling out fibre-to-the-cabinet (FTTC) broadband to two-thirds of the UK’s premises.
But what of fibre to the home (FTTH)? Many believe the UK needs FTTH to be able to compete with the likes of South Korea and Japan, but a nationwide rollout would be costly, with former culture secretary Jeremy Hunt saying it would cost taxpayers £28bn if the government had to foot the bill.
BT has always insisted that demand for FTTH is patchy at best. We should have a better idea of how accurate that view is by the end of 2013. BT recently announced that it will slash the wholesale price of its fastest FTTH product (330Mbit/s downstream) from £60 a month to £38 in June 2013. BT’s on-demand FTTH package will only be available in FTTC areas and will require payment of an installation fee of £500. The services will be available to consumers from spring 2013.
The European Commission will in 2013 finally grant permission for £530m of state-aid to be invested into broadband to bring faster broadband speeds to 90 per cent of UK homes, with rural areas set to benefit the most.
Another new technology, coming this year from BT, is vectoring. This is similar to noise cancellation technology used in the headphones passengers receive on planes - but applied to copper wires.
Windows 8 should start to carve a niche into enterprise mobility after the Surface Pro launches in January. Microsoft really needs this hybrid tablet and its Modern UI interface to win over business users if it is to make any impression on a BYOD ecosystem that is dominated by Apple and Android.
With many apps developers - including important and prolific firms like Google - yet to commit to Windows 8, Microsoft may have to rely on a new generation of innovative ultrabooks to drive sales of its latest OS. Lenovo and HP in particular have come up with some interesting enterprise hybrid solutions that may give Windows 8 the push it needs.
IT leaders will be hoping that this year will see the emergence of security solutions that will let them devise BYOD strategies that are not overly proscriptive. Mobile application management rather than device management seems to be the most promising avenue in this respect, allowing companies to target their security measures at individual applications rather than across a whole fleet of tablet or smartphone.
These then are the broad trends we’re likely to see in 2013. To keep abreast of these and other developments, stay tuned