I just got back from a trip to Glyndwr University in Wrexham where I gave a keynote talk “Communicating in Wales: design and architecture for mobile applications over poor connectivity” at the Internet Technology and Applications conference (ITA17).
This was primarily about the ways that developers can design applications so that they avoid some of the worst user experience problems in areas of low or broken connectivity … which includes most of the coast of Wales, and indeed remote, or poor areas across the country.
Reliability over speed? Getting online in Wales under focus at ITA17 with keynote speaker @alanwalkswales this morning pic.twitter.com/h1k6glnAZn
— Glyndwr University (@GlyndwrUni) September 14, 2017
However, this is only necessary because there is poor connectivity in the first place, a situation visitors from many other countries cannot understand. In the UK we have decided that mobile and land-based internet access is largely a matter of market forces, with token gestures at helping rural areas. Even though things have improved over the years, the gap between the access available in major urban areas vs that available in rural areas, or even poorer parts of cities is still large.
As I was quoted in a press release:
“It is unbelievable that in a country whose future success in the world depends on being a high-value knowledge economy, we regard internet access as a privilege of the rich.”
This key public policy issue was picked up in the press (Daily Post and The Leader):
I was also interviewed for BBC Radio Wales on the Good Morning Wales programme:
and there is an article based on this on BBC News website:
It wasn’t all academic talks and media interviews! The conference included social events in order to better get to know the delegates that came from as far afield as the US, Pakistan, Russia and Kurdistan. The social programme included a walking tour around Chester with its unique double-decker streets – sort of 16th century shopping mall; and an amazing Mediaeval banquet at Ruthin Castle, were I got to preside as Baron Alan!