Our Digital Series has shone a searching light across the multiple dimensions that make up CCR’s highly diverse digital domain. Many successes have been illuminated, many challenges have been revealed – and one thing is clear. Southeast Wales possesses the foundation, framework, potential and prowess to build a digital economy equipped to excel nationally and compete globally …
Powering our Priority Sectors
From our Compound Semiconductor cluster to the Artificial Intelligence that’s transforming every enterprise across the region, we have discovered how digital is powering our Priority Sectors. The results are already quite astonishing, with digital unleashing game-changers that include major MedTech breakthroughs such as Creo Medical’s COVID-19 Cool Plasma Sterilisation Technology, as well as winning the financial technology industry plaudits currently being received by Yoello and their fellow Fintech Wales cohort – and making possible the South Wales Industrial Cluster’s Decarbonisation programme that will lead our race to zero.
Creating a Cyber centre of excellence
Amongst our campaign features, we have celebrated CCR’s world-class credentials in the digital-enabling discipline of Cybersecurity, where Wolfberry (voted the UK’s most innovative Cybersecurity company), Alert Logic, Awen Collective and Thales stand tall – and where key figures such as Professor Pete Burnap of Cardiff University are developing world standard R&D-led Cyber & AI collaborations such as Airbus’ global Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Analytics, based in the CCR. It’s a kaleidoscope that’s created a unique cyber testbed – something that even London, New York and San Francisco doesn’t possess – right here in our region.
Driving the data revolution
In every sense imaginable, the digitalisation of data generation, manipulation and transmission has changed just about every facet of our lives, not least in the public sector – with our series showcasing innovations that include Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen Councils’ collaboration with Neath Port Talbot Council on a pioneering project to improve people’s experience of accessing adult social care services online, as well as celebrating Caerphilly County Borough Council’s digital automation of applications for free school meals, resulting in school children being able to enjoy a nutritious meal on the day of their application.
On a more macro level, we also scoped NHS Wales’ truly revolutionary Digital Services for Patients programme – the world-first single log-in platform that will democratise the flow of information between patients and ‘The System’. Developed here in Southeast Wales, such ground breaking innovation is inspiring CCR to investigate the concept of a ‘smart region’ operations centre for digital data – consolidating key data from across CCR, to inform better decision-making, measure the success of our interventions; and continually enable us to adapt and improve.
A catalyst for collaboration
Our digital series has also shown how a voracious appetite for collaboration and co-production has driven the growth of the digital economy across Southeast Wales – evidencing a phenomenal capacity for sharing knowledge, resources and opportunities throughout our region, perhaps most tellingly in the co-working communities that are a key characteristic of digital SME success throughout the CCR. From the remarkable community built by Tramshed Tech, to the inspirational digital ‘homes’ provided by Barclays Eagle Labs, Gloworks, Hackspace, Meanwhile House, Rabble Studio, Tec Marina, The Arcade Vaults, The Sustainable Studio and Welsh ICE, it’s incredibly encouraging to see CCR’s collaborative communities growing year by year, across the region.
Transforming our talent pool
Perhaps most pertinently of all, we have detailed how our educational framework gives us great hope for nurturing the human capital that’s so essential for a digitalised future. We live in a region that is giving ‘digital’ the same emphasis as literacy and numeracy – through the Welsh Government’s Digital Competence Framework (which sets out how digital competence is integrated into the curriculum) and CCR’s ‘Future Ready’ Skills Framework that will help everyone develop their digital skills at the earliest possible opportunity, building a foundation for life-long digital skills learning.
The foundation is already strong. We have seen how four of the UK’s 11 ‘Gold’ CyberFirst providers are schools and colleges in our region, how collaborations such as the Cyber College Cymru partnership between Bridgend College, Coleg Gwent and the University of South Wales are creating new routes into tech careers for a new generation of digital learners – and how radically innovative new learning initiatives such as the National Digital Exploitation Centre, the National Software Academy and the people-centric digital philosophy practised at Cardiff Metropolitan University are all nurturing employable skills: key competencies that will enable our working population to adapt as our increasingly digitised economy and society shapes and reshapes.
Framing our future success
Ultimately, of course, this series has shown how our digital ecosystem is already producing stellar performing enterprises: from the potential unicorns of AMPLYFI and Sonovate, to the digital evolution services of Box UK – and the Oscar-winning post production houses that have put CCR’s creative industries centre stage as a global leader in Film & TV.
As 2021 draws to a close and we take our next steps in this fourth industrial age, we’re quietly confident that CCR stands on the cusp of something special – a digitally driven era that promises sustainable prosperity and great opportunity to those who can continually innovate and consistently deliver on their digital-enabled visions and ambitions.
Let’s make sure we grasp those opportunities – and realise those ambitions.