Posted Friday 3rd February 2017 by Tony Moretta
2016 - A Fast Moving Year for Digital Jersey
2016 was the year of collaboration for Digital Jersey, and I’m going to be brave enough to make 5 bold statements about our achievements.
1. Digital Jersey is now the epicentre for the digital community.
We’ve fast tracked the Hub’s important role as a valued space for the tech community. We now have double the capacity for people to start businesses, meet likeminded people and…we hope… to outgrow the Hub and find new premises, just as many did during 2016.
We’ve created a Digital Skills Zone to develop skills and share knowledge. Last year we had over 2600 attendees across 100+ seminars; we also signed-up five times the number of tech members taking us over 260.
This year’s TechFair was also a great success. Over 4000 people attended the 2-day event, which hosted a wide selection of tech exhibitors and panel talks.
2. We’re removing barriers to building a digital business.
We challenged ourselves to listen to industry’s concerns and to overcome barriers – such as getting work Licences or Visas to bring in off-island expertise when it can’t be found locally.
And we’re starting to see results; in the second half of 2016 we worked with the Population Office to endorse 17 new high paying jobs, helped 2 businesses relocate and 1 gain permissions for 3 international students; the so-what factor is the tax-take of these jobs alone is nearly £200,000. Furthermore, these highly skilled workers will be building new teams and plans are in place to create a further 23 local jobs.
Working with Jersey Business we’ve collated information on all available funding services; companies will soon be able to answer an online questionnaire to point them towards the best options for them. We also helped solve the long running problem of Apple ID not recognising Jersey post-codes, and Google’s next!
3. We know the sectors where we can be successful, and we’re geared up to tackling them.
Our work in Health has grown leaps and bounds this year and I can honestly say our Digital Strategy is a game-changer. The outcomes will improve health services to Islanders and provide commercial opportunities to local businesses; it’ll also save the Government money through running a more efficient healthcare system.
In fintech, we have been analysing opportunities in Wealth Management, Regulatory Technology and Blockchain. We worked with Jersey Finance, JFSC and Government to deliver Legislation of virtual currencies – one of the first places in the world to do this.
Our Internet of Things work finished 2016 with a great result, as JT is building the next generation of internet technology on-island. A Long-Range Wide Area Network will allow devices to access the internet without using 3G/4G or Wi-Fi. This year we’ll be demonstrating exactly how businesses can take advantage of this innovation.
4. For the first time – we know how the industry is growing
We now know that over the past five years, the digital sector has seen significant growth, currently employing 2,650 professionals. Major change has been in the Digital Creative industry, Enterprise Solutions (including App and Software Development) and in Telecoms and Networks. Further details available here.
We’ll keep tracking these developments and have set a target within the Government’s Digital Policy Framework, of creating 1,000 additional jobs in the sector by 2025.
5. Digital Jersey is a place where people come together and make Jersey better.
Our role as a facilitator and trusted adviser across Government and the private sector is something I feel strongly about. If you did a stop motion film of the Hub over a year you’d see: techies, fintech enthusiasts, regulators, people from the Department for Education, Infrastructure, Health, eGov, Estonian digital experts, small businesses, students and more.
Enough from me… let’s go build our digital economy!