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Article
Publication date: 14 May 2018

Edward J. Oughton, Zoraida Frias, Mischa Dohler, Jason Whalley, Douglas Sicker, Jim W. Hall, Jon Crowcroft and David D. Cleevely

Public policy requires effective identification of the current and emerging issues being faced in industry and beyond. This paper aims to identify a set of key issues…

Abstract

Purpose

Public policy requires effective identification of the current and emerging issues being faced in industry and beyond. This paper aims to identify a set of key issues currently facing digital communications and reviews their relevance for the strategic provision of infrastructure, particularly within the UK context.

Design/methodology/approach

The methodology focusses on taking a horizon-scanning approach to obtaining current information from a range of authoritative decision makers across industry, government and academia. After structuring the issues identified, these areas are explored by a multi-disciplinary research team covering engineering, economics and computer science.

Findings

Five key categories were identified including future demand; coverage and capacity; policy and regulation; economics and business models; and technology. The results are reported for both fixed and wireless networks. Shared issues affecting the wider digital ecosystem are also identified including Brexit, connecting remote areas and the degree to which the economics of infrastructure allows for building multiple overlapping infrastructures. The authors find that future demand uncertainty is one of the major issues affecting the digital communications sector driven by rigid willingness-to-pay, weak revenue and an increasing shift from fixed to wireless technologies. Policy must create the market conditions that encourage the entry of new competitors with innovative thinking and disruptive business models.

Research limitations/implications

A limitation of the analysis is that it is quite UK-focussed; hence, further research could broaden this analysis to assessing issues at a continental or global scale.

Originality/value

The value of this paper originates from the breadth of the expert elicitation exercise carried out to gather the initial set of issues, followed by the analysis of this data by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers. The results direct a future research agenda, as many issues are indicative of a lack of existing evidence to support effective decision-making.

Details

Digital Policy, Regulation and Governance, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2398-5038

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 19 December 2019

Tashfeen Ahmad

The world of work and education is changing at a rapid pace, driven by continued technological disruption and automation. The future is uncertain and difficult to…

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Abstract

Purpose

The world of work and education is changing at a rapid pace, driven by continued technological disruption and automation. The future is uncertain and difficult to envisage. A futures thinking scenario planning approach is used in exploring and guiding education policy makers on how best to respond to the range of possible futures. The paper aims to discuss this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

This study utilizes elements of prior scenario planning methodologies to devise a practical model of preferred and plausible likely scenarios in the context of rapid and continuing technology disruption. Based on the notion of “impact and uncertainty,” two possible future alternatives of work and learning were developed. Incorporating elements of the possibility space scenario framework and a vignette approach of current emergent technologies, this paper assessed the usefulness of the preferred and likely outcomes.

Findings

While preferred future scenarios entailing collaborative styles such as human–machine cooperation, smart virtual active learning campuses and living knowledge learning environments may produce more desirable benefits for education stakeholders, the more likely plausible scenario is one based on continued disruptive technologies. Automation, artificial intelligence and the advent of 5G network technologies will drive customization and personalization in higher education delivery and revolutionize the work landscape in the immediate future. Universities will need to embrace and respond to these changes.

Originality/value

The paper gives insights into how universities can prepare their students for future of work and improve their employability. In addition, this author recommends ways in which HEIs can leverage these newer technologies to drive educational services and commercial value.

Details

Higher Education, Skills and Work-Based Learning, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2042-3896

Keywords

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