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Digital innovations event sets a high bar for future prospects 

THE EVENT that was attended by industry experts, service providers as well as both Welsh and UK Government representatives, outlined how large investments into digital  innovations and better connectivity will bring continued prosperity to the Swansea Bay City Deal region. 

May 23rd 2024, Swansea – The first event of its kind to be hosted by Swansea Bay City  Deal’s (SBCD) Digital Infrastructure Programme, marked the confirmation of a new digital era for the City Deal region, that spans Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and  Neath Port Talbot.  

Speakers throughout the day reiterated the need for continued collaborations between the private and public sector to maximise the use of technology to enhance the health,  wellbeing and social care outcomes for communities as well as drive the potential growth  of those sectors.  

With plenty of local authority staQ present, the first panel focused on the journey to 5G and beyond, which spoke directly to that audience, with Pete Hollebon from Virgin Media O2 emphasising, “You are the gatekeepers, and we want to connect to you to improve  both the social environment and business prosperity. This is just the start and part of  building a longer relationship to ensure better connectivity.” 

With an array of expert speakers throughout the day, topics were tackled thoroughly. In  particular when discussing 5G health concerns, where Dr. Rob Matthews from Vodafone pointed out, “One of the challenges is getting information out to people to make sure that  they have the full picture on the technology, whilst making sure we talk to stakeholders  and local authorities, so that we ensure that members of the public are continually part  of the process.” 

With a full capacity, remote attendees were actively encouraged to interact with the day’s  discussions and presentations to ensure their voices were heard. Gareth Jones, Chief  Digital OQicer for Carmarthenshire County Council, who led the day’s programme stated,  “it was fantastic to see how many people in the region are taking an interest in the digital  developments around them and learning that they are as much of a part of that  progressive process as anyone else.  

Hearing their thoughts and ideas today was extremely encouraging and I hope that this  will spark an enthusiasm to learn more about the benefits of better digital connectivity,  as this will only allow our region to thrive further, in the coming years.” 

Panellist enthusiastically discussed their thoughts on the development of digital  connectivity, but more importantly how this transforms the lives of people and  businesses within the Swansea Bay region. 

With demonstrated commitment from our regional partners and successful  collaborations between private and public sectors already taking place, the Swansea Bay  City Deal region is well-positioned to reap vast investment rewards that will ensure that  communities become better connected and business prosper in the future.  

Rob Stewart, Leader of Swansea Council and Chair of the Swansea Bay City Deal Joint  Committee, who closed the event with his Vision for a truly digital Swansea said, 

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“Gathering such a variety of industry experts and government representatives to cover  the valuable topics that influence the region’s digital future is a great opportunity. Not  only will it promote healthy collaborations that will drive digital infrastructure projects  forward but ensures that everyone is continuously included in the dialogue of how to  shape digital future in the Swansea Bay City Deal region.” 

The live stream of the day and full speakers lists with presentations will be made available  for everyone to view via their local authority websites in the coming days.

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