A digital future is possible for the coast

Peter Watson, MD of Distract, a marketing agency based in Lincoln, explains why the coast is ripe for digitalisation given recent developments concerning 5G, COVID-19 and more.

The acceleration of digitalisation they say is one of the only positives to come out of the frankly challenging year we’ve all been experiencing. The meaning of the word can be convoluted, meaning anything from internet connectivity to getting people literate with the use of technology.

As we’ve all no doubt encountered during the lockdown period of the pandemic, technology has become all the more essential to our daily lives, whether that is keeping up with friends and family, organising meetings, and in a few of our clients’ cases, delivering conferences and interactive content.

The coast, of course, faces its own challenges. One of the key factors which run through everything we are striving for with the Connected Coast programme and ultimately, the Towns Fund for Mablethorpe and Skegness is the access and subsequent adoption of technology. A business community exists in the area and with relaxations across the board when it comes to flexible working arrangements, more and more people will undoubtedly want to come to the area and work from home. 

To achieve this, internet speeds need to be centre stage. The facilitation of working from home demands file transfers, reliable connections and access for all. To create a more desirable place to settle and set up shop is to marry the aesthetic natural beauty of the coast with the means to support entrepreneurs or even established SMEs and brands to venture into what is to some an undiscovered gem. Those of us in the know obviously can see the potential, but there may be a disconnect between what we know to be the case and what the rest of the world thinks about the potential for progress.

It’s not just the challenges of work that could be met by technology and faster internet speeds in a rural area such as this. Healthcare can also benefit hugely. Think of the advances made in recent years, such as remote consultations, the use of artificial intelligence when it comes to diagnosis, care and medication and much more. The technology is there, but only a combination of investment and the right equipment for the job will yield results.

The fact remains that the adoption of technology has skyrocketed in recent months. The progress made has been phenomenal. Those opposed to working from home have become adept at Zoom meetings, file-sharing software and much more without too much of a barrier in the way. 

Perhaps this onus on technology as even more essential will drive more focus towards projects that will hold up this area as a place where tech businesses can be confident of success. This, combined with integration into upcoming developments such as the Campus for Future Living will mean that there will be at least a base to build upon.

My hope is that technology will be accessible, affordable and seamlessly integrated into all aspects of life on the coast, bringing together tourism, conservation, business and education so that we might all progress together. It’s a steep hill we have to climb, but one that’s worth embarking on.