By the London Technology Team
Hey Big Spending Review!
Better than expected economic forecasts enabled Osborne to avoid making unpopular cuts- but what did the Spending Review mean for tech?
Whilst it was by no means the focus of the Chancellor’s speech, investment in new tech permeated many of the announcements. Amidst a 26% cut to the Cabinet Office budget, an extra £450m was found for the Government Digital Service to support the delivery of £1.8bn of investment in “digital technology and transformation projects”.
Other notable announcements included a £1bn investment in the Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme; £1.3bn to turn HMRC into a digital tax administration; and £700m to help digitise the courts by moving to an online system.V3 suggests that the stronger emphasis on tech (compared to the relatively ‘tech-lite’ Summer Budget) is evidence of Government’s desire to accelerate the digital agenda established alongside their Coalition partners in the last Parliament.
Read our take on the ‘magic’ Chancellor’s speech & McDonnell’s ‘Little Red Book’ response here, with our run-down of measures affecting tech, energy, health & transport.
Mobile firms consider adblockalypse
O2 waded into the ad-blocking debate by announcing plans to block adverts at network level, saying excessive advertising interferes with their infrastructure and compromises the mobile broadband user experience. EE are also considering whether to do this and the O2 decision reflects the upsurge of people choosing to limit the ads they get served.
Ad-blocking has become increasingly common among Internet users (especially after Apple allowed ad-blockers on the App store) and the Internet Advertising Bureau has said industry only has itself to blame with ads becoming more intrusive and annoying for customers. Publishers are worried as they need advertising revenue to stay in business, with some popular websites (such as 4oD, CityAM and Yahoo) limiting access to people using ad blockers, but blocking adverts at network level would be a major step to take.
Pardon the disruption
Ex Barclay’s Chief, Anthony Jenkins, has predicted that within the next ten years fintech will significantly disrupt traditional banking systems and the banking industry as a whole. Jenkins is convinced that the number of branches and people employed in the financial services sector may decline by as much as 50% in the next ten years.
These disruptions, or Uber moments as he called them, will transform the way banking is done, due to massive pressure on incumbent banks, who will struggle to implement new technologies at the same pace as their new rivals, according to him.
Other leaders in the financial sector have been slightly more pessimistic about the future of fintech with JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon recently dismissing Bitcoin as ‘a waste of time.’ Only time will tell however if the banking sector will choose to put their money where their mouse is.
This story was covered in full by Cryptocoin News.