Norfolk County Council’s digital strategy aims to make Norfolk the best-connected rural county in the UK

Digital connectivity, digital funding and innovations in LoRaWan connections across Norfolk are all part of Norfolk County Council’s strategy to make Norfolk the best-connected rural county in the UK.

How can better digital connectivity help your business? This is the question that Norfolk County Council plans to answer with an all-encompassing digital strategy for Norfolk that can help businesses save money, lessen their impact on the environment, achieve business growth and future proof their business.

The digital strategy is in three parts: Making sure that the whole of Norfolk (including rural areas) has digital connectivity with superfast broadband and 5G; the launch of the Go Digital project that helps provide SMEs with funding for digital transformation to increase productivity, recover from the pandemic and grow their business, plus access digital training for their employees; and finally by developing the Norfolk and Suffolk Innovation Network, the largest free-to-use public sector Long Range Wide Area Network (LoRaWAN) in the UK, which delivers dual county connectivity to support Internet of Things (IoT) sensors. The network is an innovation network designed so business, public sector, schools and the general public can all experiment with the technology.

Norfolk businesses are now being asked What could your business do? when it comes to having better digital connectivity and an innovation network of digital sensors that can make almost anything possible.

Businesses who are already seeing what IoT sensors can do for their business include Unitec, Ben Burgess and Gressenhall. The technology network has helped Uniotec kickstart innovation in Norfolk and has helped with their business growth. IoT sensors have also helped Ben Burgess support their Norfolk clients in making cost savings and smart decisions, by helping them monitor crops and livestock. LoRaWAN has also enabled Gressenhall use GPS technology to conduct visitor analysis to improve visitor experience.

Cllr Tom FitzPatrick, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Innovation, Transformations & Performance, said: “It is important that our Strategy is not just for the County Council, so we want to make sure that everyone in Norfolk whether residents, businesses or visitors, is able to be given the opportunity to take full advantage of the opportunities and benefits offered by digital technology.

“Digital technology, accessed through fast data or mobile phones is not just something which is nice to have, but is now vital in keeping our essentially rural county at the forefront in terms of both the wider economy, learning and day to day activities.

“Good digital connection is vital and this Strategy, developed by Norfolk County Council is a step towards making Norfolk prosperous and inclusive. This Strategy will help tackle Digital exclusion in Norfolk.

“Our Innovation Network has gone from nothing to the largest in the UK in less than three years and offers existing businesses, entrepreneurs, the care and educational sectors the opportunity to harness a free to use network, which is growing globally.”

 

The official launch of Norfolk County Council’s digital strategy will take place on 22 September on the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce and Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Knowledge Hub platform. The Norfolk Knowledge Hub is the place for businesses to find resources on how to implement everything from digital, marketing and brand awareness, through to leadership, finance and environmental strategies.

Cllr Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth said: “Norfolk businesses have an invaluable opportunity to use our new Norfolk Knowledge Hub. Curated by the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce, this platform offers a wealth of free information and advice with a wide range of support programmes and learning resources in a secure, virtual environment.

“It’s a great way to exchange and share knowledge and experiences, new ideas and to create new connections. As we recover from the pandemic, this will complement traditional but currently unavailable physical support.  I urge businesses to visit and take advantage of this innovative platform.”

Norfolk businesses who are interested in finding out more about how digital connectivity can benefit their business, including trialing LoRaWAN technology for their business can find more information at: www.norfolk.gov.uk/digital

The official launch of Norfolk County Council’s digital strategy and website will take place on Wednesday 22 September, 2021 online on the Norfolk Chambers of Commerce and Norfolk County Council’s Norfolk Knowledge Hub platform at https://norfolkknowledgehub.co.uk

Businesses can also get involved right now on social media @NorfolkChambers #ArtOfThePossible

 

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