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Ambition North Wales work as a partnership to deliver on our ambition - identifying and delivering opportunities to develop our economy.


My Ask of SMEs – Be Curious About New Technologies


GUEST COLUMN:

Stuart Whitfield
Digital Programme Manager
Ambition North Wales

Carving out time for horizon-scanning isn’t always easy when you’re running an SME.

Demands are many and time is always tight. But at the same time, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for efficiency, innovation, and long-term success.

At Ambition North Wales, we believe that now is the time for SMEs to explore the possibilities that new technologies offer, even if the benefits aren't immediately clear to leaders who are working flat out on business as usual.

Ambition North Wales is currently running a scheme aimed at SMEs in Conwy, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Gwynedd, and the Isle of Anglesey. Through this initiative, 25 selected SMEs will receive one-to-one consultations to evaluate their current technology use and provide guidance on advancements in digital connectivity. Those not selected will still benefit from signposting to other useful resources and support.

Our goal is to spark a sense of curiosity among businesses. We want SMEs to invest a little time in exploring technological advancements, understanding that the digital landscape evolves rapidly. Without proactive engagement, there's sometimes a risk of being left behind.

So why should busy SMEs take time out to focus on technology? The answer lies in the significant improvements that can be made to efficiency, product development, and service delivery. For example, leveraging the power of digital tools can streamline operations, reduce costs, and potentially enhance customer satisfaction.

Technologies such as AI, Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced wireless networks like 5G offer a plethora of opportunities for businesses to innovate.

LoRaWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) is a good example of a technology with relatively low complexity but high impact. It enables remote monitoring of assets, property, equipment, and environments. This can greatly reduce the need for manual checks, saving time and money, and also enhance the collection of data over time to enable the identification of trends. The applications are vast, ranging from ensuring food safety by monitoring refrigeration units to maintaining water hygiene, improving energy efficiency, even monitoring the fertility of farmland. The key advantage of LoRaWAN is the rich data it can generate, which businesses can use to make informed decisions.

On the other end of the spectrum, 5G technology offers high-speed, low-latency connectivity, supporting complex applications like augmented reality (AR) in manufacturing. AR can help workers visualise tasks in real-time, control multiple machines simultaneously, and ensure seamless communication between devices. This kind of connectivity is vital for industries looking to stay competitive and efficient.

The project is about more than just providing immediate support; it's about building a stronger evidence base for the demand for these technologies in North Wales. We aim to ensure our region is well-equipped to take advantage of technological advancements, ultimately fostering a more innovative and competitive business environment.

The digital revolution is not a distant future; it's happening now. SMEs that embrace these changes will find themselves better positioned to adapt, grow, and thrive. We encourage all eligible SMEs to apply for our scheme and take this opportunity to explore the untapped potential of new technologies.

By fostering curiosity and a willingness to innovate, we can ensure that North Wales remains a vibrant and forward-thinking region, ready to take the opportunities of the digital age.

To express an interest in a consultation, SMEs should email: info@bic-innovation.com by 19 July 2024.

Further details are also available at https://ambitionnorth.wales/regional-working/shared-prosperity-fund-projects/small-and-medium-sized-enterprises-sme-connectivity-assessments/


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