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The Isle of Wight is not only renowned for its iconic landscape and rich history. It also boasts of a longstanding tradition in industry and tech innovation: a pioneer in the maritime and marine vessel production sectors, it has also been crucially involved in the British space programme. Now, in line with international developments, the Isle of Wight Council plans to transform England’s largest island into a digital innovation hub.

Isle of Wight Council launches Digital Island Strategy

The Isle of Wight Council has recognised the importance of revamping the area since 2017, when it began developing the Isle of Wight Digital Island Strategy programme. The ambitious plan is to identify and endorse opportunities to harness digital tech in order to boost growth on the island. This will roll out across a range of industries, including tourism, which is a major source of income for the region, along with other key sectors like council services. A crucial aspect of the policy is the potential to provide economic growth while at the same time aiding in environmental protection and reducing the carbon footprint of local entrepreneurship. After all, the Isle of Wight has declared since 2011 that it plans to achieve self-sufficiency in terms of energy and become the first UK region to become carbon neutral.

IW Chamber Business Awards celebrate growth potential

A key part of the digital agenda is the focus on the skills needed by local enterprises and individuals in order to engage with the strategy. It is also expected that the Digital Island plan will reshape the future of the island, help strengthen its identity and aid local businesses in overcoming a sense of isolation from the mainland.

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The 2019 Isle of Wight Chamber Business Awards that took place on October 18th also revealed the diversity and potential of business initiatives on the island and the substantial efforts undertaken to push their industry forward. Gurit, the Newport-based manufacturer that specialises in composite materials and engineering solutions, took home the Technology and Innovation Award, as well as the Green Initiative Award, while The Garlic Farm, a leading name in garlic products that celebrates the island’s agricultural heritage, won the Retailer, Tourism Business, and Marketing & PR Awards.

Using cutting-edge tech to connect people

The efforts made by the Island of Wight to use digital tech to connect with the rest of the world reflect wider developments in global industry sectors. In the entertainment industry, in particular, live streaming technology has been broadly applied to connect people across the globe. Leading online casino developer NetEnt has used streaming tech to provide an immersive live casino experience across popular online games like blackjack or roulette – their portfolio can be found here. And Google now offers Stadia, a brand new gaming experience that is able to stream video games in a resolution that reaches 4K and 60 fps. Thanks to their speed and user-friendly innovation, these entertainment services are now more inclusive than ever. And as 5G, the next phase in cellular network tech, will be gradually launching over the next few months, cutting-edge tech solutions will be able to connect people like never before.

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The Isle of Wight plans to become a regional hub for these global developments – and the Digital Island agenda is the bedrock of this far-reaching plan.

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And with the Isle of Wight Council involved ………. . Well I am certainly not holding my breath.

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