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16-22 August 2011 | computerweekly.


Opportunities in IT
IntroducIng It Works: A neW resource from computer Weekly for It educAtIon, trAInIng And cAreer development pAge 4

NHS IT contracts under scrutiny

4.3bn of heAlth servIce It contrActs to be revIeWed by cAbInet offIce After AccusAtIons of conceAlment pAge 6


Technologys role in policing

An exclusIve IntervIeW WIth AIlsA beAton, dIrector of InformAtIon At the metropolItAn polIce pAge 7

Highlights from

the week online

moSt popular photo Story premium content

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Lightning takes out Amazon and Microsoft cloud services Amazon customers consider on-premise servers The London riots: technology updates Blackberry co-operates with police over riots Hacker group threatens Blackberry for helping police Top technology companies hit by stock market sell-off US standards body issues warning to energy suppliers Computacenter gags Bristol Council over open source SAP success leads to job losses at Premier Foods Amazon outage: Software bug deletes AWS data

> Transferring learning in the workplace Organisations are still missing some fundamental steps to ensure the transfer of training, including the development of an overall learning transfer plan, a strategy for re-enforcing the application of learning post-training and a clear way to measure if and to what extent learning is applied on the job.

> 20 years of websites - the defining moments of the web

Tim Berners-Lee (pictured) published the first ever website on 6 August 1991. Computer Weekly looks back at some of the key milestones of the past 20 years that have helped to make the web such a ubiquitous part of everyday life.

photo Story

photo Story

> Ovum: The transition from desktop to mobile The mobile technology market is evolving rapidly. Devices are becoming more powerful, wireless transmission speeds are increasing, network coverage is improving and applications are delivering more functionality. However, as with any business case, enterprises must carefully examine their own particular business requirements before deciding which devices, networks and applications they should invest in.

> ROI case study IBM SPSS

10 Get the latest it news via rSS feed

> Blackberrys new smartphones

BlackBerry has unveiled five smartphones to combat Apple and HTCs dominance in the smartphone market.

> Visual Studio Lightswitch

A review of Visual Studio Lightswitch, Microsofts simplified self-service development tool.

In 2004 and 2005, the Memphis Police Department (MPD) saw a sharp increase in crime. The FBIs 2005 report on crime in the US showed that violent crimes on a national level increased 2.3% from 2004 to 2005, and in Memphis that increase was 2.5%. MPD recognised it needed to move beyond traditional policing approaches.



> Data breaches: The steps firms

must take to protect data It is a tough time for IT managers, writes Garry Sidaway, director of security strategy at Integralis. Not a week goes by without news of another data breach. The EU is discussing new regulations on data breach notification. When even security companies get hacked, what hope is there for everyone else?

> Matt Scott: The Acer Iconia A500 Tab how far from becoming iconic is this tablet?

I had no preconceptions when I picked up this tablet for the first time. Acer currently has two lines of tablets available, the Iconia W series, which is a little bit pricier, and the Iconia A series. The W stands for Windows 7 and the A stands for Android, which makes sense when you think about it really.

> Karl Flinders: Is economic misfortune of some an opportunity for overseas IT suppliers?

Could the double-dip recession provide the straw that breaks the camels back in IT offshoring? The Indian IT services sector thinks so. An article in the Economic Times of India displays confidence in the face of economic turmoil in the US, despite a large part of Indian IT revenues coming from the US.

> Interview with John Prehn, an

> Cliff Saran: Do the recent riots make a new business case for cloud computing?

18-year-old mainframe engineer From a very early age John Prehn wanted to work with computers. The 18-year-old has recently completed training on mainframe computer systems and works for Danish IT company KMD. He spoke to Cliff Saran about his path into IT.
2 | 16-22 AUGUST 2011

The torching of businesses by rioters has opened up a new business case for cloud computing. Whether the smoking wreckage was a small business in a city centre or a superstore in a retail park, the case for off-site data processing and storage has suddenly become much stronger.

> Jenny Williams: FDM offers free training to female graduates to encourage IT careers

FDM is hosting a free Women in IT Advantage Session event for female graduates to encourage more women to work within the IT industry. The event, which will take place on 17 August at FDMs London Bridge offices, aims to provide IT career options and support.
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the week in IT
Cisco shares up 13% on betterthan-expected financial results
Cisco Systems reported fourth fiscal quarter sales of $11.2bn, net income of $2.2bn, and earnings per share of 40 cents, beating estimates and driving the share price up 13% in afterhours trading. CEO John Chambers has ordered massive cuts in operating expenses, which includes cutting 6,500 jobs and shutting down Ciscos Flip video camera unit to concentrate on switches and routers.
sipA press/rex feAtures

Windows 7 deployments delayed by economic uncertainties

Economic uncertainty may cause a slowdown in Windows 7 operating system deployments in Western Europe despite companies in the US and Asia-Pacific accelerating migrations, according to research firm Gartner. It said Windows 7 will account for 42% of PC operating systems by the end of the year, with 94% of new PCs being shipped with Windows 7 in 2011.

Intel Capital launches $300m war chest to develop Ultrabooks

Intel Capital, the investment arm of microchip company Intel, has announced a $300m (185m) war chest to develop the mobile technology of its Ultrabooks, intended for ultra-thin portable PCs and designed to compete in the mobile computing market. Ultrabooks are intended to compete with the mobile chips of Intels rival ARM used in smartphones and tablets.

Amazon customers consider other options after cloud service outage

Amazon cloud customers are considering deploying their own servers after a second Amazon Web Services (AWS) outage within four months brought their websites down. A lightning strike caused power failures at datacentres in Dublin, taking out the main power supply and affecting part of the phase control system that synchronises the back-up generator plant, causing a disruption to service of Amazons Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) cloud computing platform for the second time this year, as well as affecting Microsofts Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS). Paul Johnston, CEO of mobile apps agency Padajo, uses Amazons Simple Storage Service (S3), EC2 and Relational Database Server (RDS) to run a mobile communication application. The outage stopped the application working completely, and the company is now considering introducing its own database server as the complexity of Amazons service has made it more difficult to get back online. Authority ranking website PeerIndex also suffered from the outage, and game-selling platform IndieCity said its site was down for 12 hours.

Toxic NHS IT contracts to be housed under a single body

Billions of pounds of toxic IT contract exposures at the Department for Health could be housed under one central unit, according to reports. Health minister Andrew Lansley is understood to be in the process of drawing up plans to contain the failed contracts from the National Programme for IT, as the liabilities are too large to rest with individual trusts once the NHSs 10 strategic health authorities are abolished.

Lush escapes ICO monetary penalty following data breach

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) has decided not to punish cosmetics group Lush for a major hack of its online trading site which exposed the payment details of 5,000 customers. The ICO found the company guilty of breaching the Data Protection Act by failing to keep customer data safe, but stopped short of imposing a monetary penalty. Instead, Lush has signed an undertaking to prevent further data breaches.

Surrey Council sets out plans for shared network service

Surrey County Council has issued a tender for a managed network service that will be shared between public sector organisations within the council as well as neighbouring Berkshire. The supplier will be tasked with providing services, including managed wide and local area networking and IP voice services, to public sector organisations.

Smartphone OS share worldwide

Android Symbian iOS RIM Bada Microsoft Others
1.9% 0.9% 1.6% 4.9% 1% 3.2% Q2 2011 Q2 2010
Source: Gartner

43.4% 17.2% 22.1% 18.2% 14.1% 11.7% 18.7% 40.9%

Oracle uses Facebook and Twitter to recruit 1,700 employees

Oracle has announced plans to use Facebook and Twitter to recruit 1,700 employees across Europe. Oracle said it wants to boost its workforce to meet demands for technologies such as cloud computing. The recruitment drive is thought to comprise part of a strategy to accelerate growth as Oracle has temporarily stopped considering acquisitions.

Worldwide smartphone sales grow 74% in second quarter 2011

Global smartphone shipments increased 74% year-on-year, with Googles Android operating system (OS) accounting for almost half of the mobile OS market, according to research firm Gartner. Worldwide sales of mobile devices reached 428.7 million units in Q2 2011, a 16.5% increase on the same period in 2010. Android grew market share to 43.4%.

reaction to riots

Seven Scottish councils join forces to save 30m per year

As many as seven Scottish councils are joining up services in a move that is expected to save around 30m a year. Staff numbers under the new shared services model are expected to decrease by around 25%, which could see more than 100 IT roles go. IT is the most expensive function across the councils with a total cost of 58m per year.
3 | 16-22 August 2011

Mr Speaker, everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organised via social media
Prime Minister David Cameron

NPIAs National Police Procurement Hub goes live

The National Police Improvement Agency (NPIA) has launched an online procurement process to allow police forces to buy specified goods and services. The National Police Procurement Hub will provide a range of approved goods, such as IT, from 500 suppliers online. The NPIA estimates the hub will save forces 30m over six years.

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staffing &training

IT Works: the resource for IT training, education and career development

Recognising the need to nurture, develop and reskill individuals to support the digital economy, Computer Weekly's IT Works programme provides a resource for those wishing to build a career in IT. Cliff Saran and Jenny Williams report
nformation technology is integral to modern life, and it is essential that the UK supports and grows a digital economy, which will generate hundreds of thousands of new jobs in coming years. IT is the hidden force that makes a smartphone useful, keeps aircraft in the skies, puts products on shelves and is behind everything from the Olympics to the tax office. Recognising the need to nurture, develop and reskill individuals to support the digital economy, Computer Weekly is embarking on a programme of content called IT Works to provide a resource for anyone wishing to understand and build a career within IT.
School leavers As the IT skills gap widens and organisations increasingly outsource IT processes to offshore service providers, the future for the UKs IT industry and economy looks bleak. The reduced number of A-level and GCSE IT qualifications awarded last year raised industry fears that young people will be unable to pro-

vide the IT skills needed in the sector. Some 4,065 students were awarded A-levels in computing in 2010, compared with 4,710 the previous

year a drop of 13.7%. The number of students taking a GCSE in ICT dropped 17% from 73,519 in 2009 to 61,022 in 2010.

As 2011s GCSE and A-level students receive their exam results this month, the IT industry is prepared for another drop in students studying

Government must give businesses more flexibility, says Microsoft UK chief

Government legislation needs to allow businesses to hire and fire to stimulate the jobs market, according to Microsofts UK managing director. Gordon Frazer believes the government should make it easier for small businesses to hire and fire to encourage more organisations to recruit to counter UK unemployment. In an interview with Computer Weekly, Frazer said the government has driven higher apprenticeships to provide alternative qualifications. However, some regulations could be streamlined to eliminate a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and improve job opportunities. It is difficult for businesses to hire if they cannot reduce headcount when the economic situation changes. It is difficult to be elastic in terms of resources, he said. The government is looking at this under the broad bucket of labour regulations. No one plans to start firing people when they hire, but businesses need appropriate flexibility, he added. Frazer said unemployment became a particular problem in 2009 when the economy was in a tough place, but the problem continues to grow. He said thousands of Microsofts customers are facing an IT skills shortage: Four out of five jobs require IT skills. Unemployment is rising and yet there is still an IT skills shortage. Frazer said youth unemployment is a specific concern and IT education is partly to blame. The quality of IT training at school level is not great and does not put the IT industry in a good light, he said. Microsoft started the Britain Works programme with the aim of helping half a million people over three years to gain new IT skills to move into IT careers, retrain or start new businesses. The initiative has already helped 250,000 people into different jobs, ranging from graduates to start-ups, as well as reskilling people from construction and manufacturing with IT skills. Frazer believes every company can find a way to recruit fresh talent, whether through internships, work experience, apprenticeships or graduate programmes. Internships and work experience programmes can help break the Catch-22 cycle and get young people onto the job ladder, he said. Frazer said hiring young people into IT roles is beneficial for businesses as well as individuals. Bringing fresh DNA into the organisation brings a new perspective and wonderful naivety. Graduates can provide great insights of what young people want out of a technology company. Fresh enthusiasm and nave ideas keep us on our toes and make our company better, he said. But as well as training the younger generation, Frazer says it is important for IT professionals to continually upskill and adapt to new technologies. In IT youve got to stay current on the latest and greatest. If you stick with one technology, youll become as obsolete as the technology itself. Modern technology of new software releases and paradigms of changes that cloud computing brings to the IT department can make people nervous, but it can be seen as a huge opportunity, he said.

4 | 16-22 August 2011

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for IT-related courses , in line with the ongoing trend. The IT industry has been vocal about IT education and the declining number of young people taking IT-related A-levels and GCSEs. The Royal Society has launched an investigation into the way computing is taught in schools, while IT industry trade association Intellect has advised government to scrap IT lessons. Karen Price, chief executive at IT sector skills council E-skills, warned that the mismatch between supply and demand threatens to undermine the future productivity and prosperity of the UK. E-Skills predicts that more than half a million new IT and telecoms professionals will be needed in the next five years. There has been increased interest among CIOs about setting up apprenticeship schemes in their own organisation as companies start to realise the benefits of hiring school leavers and graduates. Large firms such as Capgemini, British Gas, BT, IBM, Microsoft, Visa Europe, Cooperative Group and Sky have all recently launched apprenticeships.
Developing wider skills Organisations such as the Open University (OU) are beginning to map alternative career paths. An OU study in February 2011 found that 43% of employers reported a lack of suitable candidates for IT and telecoms roles due to a lack of business knowledge surrounding relationship management, business process analysis and design, and project and programme management. As a result, the Open University recently introduced a new BSc in computing and IT, aimed at providing students with a combination of technical and business skills. Kevin Streater, executive director for IT and telecoms at the OU, said more than 1,000 students have already signed up for an October start. He added that the OU is currently conducting weekly apprenticeship briefings as a result of high demand from employers to introduce higher apprenticeship schemes, which include a degree programme. The information technology revolution is firmly established as part of modern life. Anyone with IT skills is likely to have strong career prospects given that effective use of IT will enable the UK to remain competitive in the global economy.
it Works: Career and skills development follow it Works on facebook Join the #it-works debate on twitter
5 | 16-22 August 2011

The mainframe engineer: John Prehn

From a very early age John Prehn wanted to work with computers. The 18-year-old has recently completed training on mainframe computer systems and works for Danish IT company KMD. He spoke to Computer Weekly about his path into IT. me that KMD was looking for a trainee in the mainframe department. Why do you think mainframe skills are important? I believe it is very important to be knowledgeable about mainframes, because they serve such an important job in the IT industry. Most people dont realise it, but many of the most important workloads are handled by mainframes, with great success. Banks and financial companies are extremely reliant on their high stability and extremely fast processing times. Many people are blind to the fact that mainframes even exist, and I believe this is because server farms have had a great boom in media coverage, simply making them overshadow the superior mainframes. How do you hope to use these skills in the future? Last year, I attended the mainframe school, hosted by CA Technologies. The purpose of the school was to give people, entirely new to the mainframe, a starting point in their career. I hope to be able to stay working in KMD. Over time, Id like to become an administrator. I have no plans to return to Windows, thats over for good! Where do you see your career progressing over the next 10 years? Currently, Im participating in the Mainframe Academy, hosted by CA Technologies, which is really helping me develop my skills needed for my career. What advice would you give to school children about working in IT? I would definitely suggest that you try to think out of the box, not just taking the same work as everybody else. Try to find an area of IT that you enjoy working with and where there is room to develop and become very talented. It was mostly luck, and being at the right place, the right moment, that led me to my job, but I would suggest that you try to pursue just exactly the thing you want. You dont always find happiness in doing the same as everybody else.

When did you first take an interest in computers? My interest in computers started at a very early age, I believe I was six years old. At that time my family had just bought a home computer. When I was around eight years old a classmate figured out a way to alter some computer games, making them easier. I thought that was very interesting. I think thats what started my interest in knowing whats behind the scenes of computers. What was the first program you wrote (or first serious project you did yourself)? I read a book called Getting started with Visual Basic when I was 12, which had several examples of small programs. I believe my first project was to make an address book. The first useful program I wrote changed the background on Windows, at certain intervals. I believe Windows XP didnt have that feature at the time. How did you end up with a job in IT? I was so certain that I was going to work with computers that I started at a technical school to become a data technician (working with maintenance and operation of Windows servers, primarily). I applied for the apprenticeship at KMD and after some interviews KMD agreed to let me continue my training, once I had completed school. After a year at KMD, my boss told

The IT apprentice: Valentina Zanardi

Valentina Zanardi completed a three-year PhD at University College, London, after studying Computer Science at Bologna University. Her thesis was on recommended systems, which covers the techniques used on e-commerce sites such as Amazon to suggest items for users to buy. Her research involved developing new algorithms to make buying recommendations and she has presented her findings at several global conferences, including the 33rd International Conference on Software Engineering, which took place in Hawaii in May 2011. While completing her thesis, Zanardi joined CA Technologies Associate Services Consultant Programme (ASCP), which trains future IT consultants. She said working while completing her PhD was hard and admitted spending a lot of time in front of a computer or with my nose in a book. Due to the way the education system in Italy is organised, Zanardi took an interest in IT when she was 17, studying science and maths, as well as literature, history and the classics. At 18, she decided to take IT seriously. IT is so important today as it fits into all other spheres, she said. Programming skills change over time, and while Zanardi began programming in Java, she has since been trained to configure CA Technologys Clarity system. It is more important to [understand] things which you can apply to a different environment, she said. Her current job involves working alongside customers to help them get the most from the Clarity system.

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Government it

4.3bn of health service IT contracts to be reviewed by Cabinet Office

NHS IT contracts under fire as MPs accuse Department of Health of "deliberate concealment", writes Kathleen Hall

he remaining 4.3bn earmarked to spend on the troubled NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT) contracts is to be reviewed by the Cabinet Offices Major Projects Authority (MPA), after MPs said the contracts do not provide value for money. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has released a report criticising the progress of the care records system, the central part of the National Programme, and in particular the relationship with key supplier CSC. We consider it essential that the governments Major Projects Authority now closely scrutinises the departments continuing negotiations with CSC, which has so far delivered very few of the systems it was contracted to supply, said Margaret Hodge MP, chair of the PAC. She hit out against the departments failure to inform the PAC about its advance payment of 200m to CSC in April. We are surprised that, after our hearing, in a memorandum to us of 7 June 2011 which specifically mentioned advance payments, the department made no mention of a 200m advance pay-

ment to CSC in April 2011. This is unacceptable, Hodge said.

Hiding the facts Speaking to Computer Weekly, Richard Bacon MP, a member of the PAC, said: This was an act of deliberate concealment. Could it be that given the departments philosophy that it only pays for results, this advanced payment was highly embarrassing? The only good thing from this whole fiasco is that the Cabinet Office is now involved, as the Department of Health [DoH] clearly cannot be trusted. MPs heard in May that cancelling contracts with CSC could be more costly than completing them. But Bacon said the question of whether it would cost more to cancel the contract than to keep going is moot. The Department of Health wanted us to believe it would cost more to cancel. But in a filing to the SEC in the US, CSC stated that it might actually get materially less than the value of the contract. Bacon also expressed concerns over CSCs recent acquisition of key subcontractor iSoft. I strongly hope CSC will not be allowed to supply products other than those it is con-

Under investigation: Is the NHS throwing money away on overpriced IT contracts? tractually obliged to. CSC must be forced to compete for new business. It is important that CSC will not be rewarded for its failure and obtain a monopoly, he said.
Benefits unclear The PAC report said the DoH has been unable to demonstrate what benefits have been delivered from

NHS trust forced to adopt National Programme patient records system or face 8.8m penalty
An NHS trust was forced to buy software through the National Programme for IT (NPfIT) or face the threat of an 8.8m fine, even though a small supplier had already been supplying its electronic care records (ECR) system since 1998 for a fraction of the price, writes Mark Ballard. Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Mental Health Trust (OBMH) was forced to accept a business plan that forecast a 350,000-a-year starting cost to use BTs RiO ECR system, replacing an existing system that cost 91,000 per year to run. The RiO software was considered so unsuitable that the trust expected it would incur inestimable additional costs to develop the system after central funding for the NPfIT is cut in 2014. The trust also anticipated the system would remain so deficient and BT fees so prohibitive that it would have to buy secondary systems to fill in the gaps, according to the Full Business Case report produced by OBMH in April 2010 and obtained by Computer Weekly under Freedom of Information. The trusts existing ECR, supplied by Beckenham-based Maracis Solutions, was already operational and the report said that switching it off would free up only 91,000 per year. However, OBMH had been obliged in 2008 to sign a statement of intent to buy the RiO system supplied by BT under central NPfIT contracts. That statement had mandated OBMH to use the system or incur a fine. The report said the trust would be held to these terms even though NPfIT changed the agreement. Implementing the mandated system is the only option to avoid the potential direct or indirect circa 8.8m exit penalty, said the Full Business Case document, when weighing up the options. This may elevate this choice above other solutions which could deliver more benefits. The trust found RiO would be one of the most expensive options it could take, unless it took the fine into account then it was the most favourable. That was without including additional costs the trust would incur because RiO would not meet its business needs. read the full article online:

the 2.7bn spent on the project so far, with an updated statement now expected in September. The department came under fire for not providing timely and reliable information to the committee. Information provided has frequently been late, has contained inconsistencies and has contradicted other evidence. This has hampered our ability to scrutinise the programme on behalf of Parliament, said the report. The committee also criticised the DoH for not explaining the impact of health reforms on the management and governance of the care records system. It needs to make clear how the programme will be managed in future given the fundamental NHS restructuring that is expected over coming years, it said.

more online
News: CSC closes acquisition of iSoft ahead of renegotiations

Analysis: Five key challenges to be tackled by the next NHS CIO

Blog: Agile in the NHS: 10 years, 5bn and still not finished

6 | 16-22 August 2011

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it leadership

Policing the cost and delivery of IT

Ailsa Beaton, director of information at the Met Police, talks to Kathleen Hall about technology's role in the force
The NPIA currently holds 600m a year in contracts and it is not yet clear who will foot the bill once it is wound down. There is an issue of the centre putting more costs on forces, which will make the overall reductions they have to find much larger, says Beaton. One of those contracts is the recent roll-out of the Police National Database (PND), which connects all local intelligence databases on one system. With the PND we have a whole raft of capabilities we didnt have before, she says. Although access is provided through a bureau due to confidentiality issues, Beaton says she would not rule out the idea of officers being able to access the PND remotely.
Cost cutting with IT Despite 3,000 jobs estimated to be lost at the Met Police within four years which will include 1,907 officers as well as special constables and back-office staff the Mets IT budget of 300m per year is set to remain intact. But Scotland Yard will be expected to do more with IT for the same amount as previous years, says Beaton. This has pushed IT operations in new directions. In areas where we could save significant amounts of money we have been forced to become bleeding edge, as we dont have time to see if these things [such as the cloud] work, we have to just go ahead and find savings, she says. The Met is also moving towards more shared services, working with the Greater London Authority and Transport for London on voice and data networks, when a public services network-compliant network for London goes to market. The force has also undergone a renegotiation with its main outsourcing supplier Capgemini, which holds 81% of all the departments contracts in a deal originally signed in 2005. The new agreement was signed last year and is expected to save 43m over five years.

etropolitan Police CIO Ailsa Beaton has a lot to keep her busy. Between security preparations for the London Olympics and the Queens Diamond Jubilee celebrations next year, leading technology counter-terrorism operations, and being on the board responsible for creating an IT body to replace the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), Beaton found time to talk exclusively to Computer Weekly about her IT challenges. On the way to meet Ailsa Beaton, there was a telling exchange between two police officers in the lift. Whats the latest news on the NPIA? asked one officer. I dont think anyone knows at the moment, came the reply. It was a conversation that reflects a sense of uncertainty about the co-ordination of IT functions across the UKs police forces. As IT lead at the Association of Chief Police Officers, Beaton has the difficult task of helping to create a strategy for replacing the NPIA with a police-led private company, a move announced by home secretary Teresa May in July. Due to her position, Beaton says she cannot comment on whether closing the NPIA was the right decision, but agrees the NPIA had matured into a well-regarded body for providing IT projects across forces. Its closure was a political decision, and my role is to make sure whatever happens next succeeds. The expectation is that the IT functions will move to one body. It will decide how to get the balance right through a mixture of internally sourced and outsourced IT functions. It will also look at the benefits of delivering more IT centrally, she says.

All IT functions below confidential level are outsourced. It was the Mets choice not to outsource top secret functions following previous government drives for public sector bodies to outsource all non-core functions, says Beaton. Outsourcing at the time was still seen as a still relatively immature model. That said, [some] government departments are moving [confidential] functions to an outsourcing model. And we are now starting to think about the next generation of outsourcing, she says. Higher-level, confidential work could be outsourced once the Capgemini contract ends in 2015 and the new IT policeled company is up and running. Conversely, we may look at moving more things in house, but I doubt that is a feasible option, as we are more geared toward outsourcing, having done so for a number of years now, says Beaton. There are pluses and minuses to having one provider take the lions share of all contracts, she says. Having a single supplier means the responsibility lies with them, so there is at least someone you can hold by the throat. But the drawback is that to some extent you are putting all your eggs in one basket. Im sure when we look at the next-generation outsourcing we will be looking at the pros and cons.
Modernising the force IT has moved to take a more central role in the force over the last 10 years, says Beaton. One striking example of how technology has had a direct impact on the way police operate is the recent issuing of handheld computers, enabling officers to spend more time on the beat. Another is the use of the Mets intranet, which has become a critical business function as a portal through which officers receive their daily briefings. The next big change will be a new command and control system for the force, says Beaton. I am very much aware that my P45 could be on the line with this. It is important because it is the system that coordinates someone calling for help and the police officer turning up, she says. At the moment the system is 30 years old. So we are deciding whether to buy a brand new one or keep the

Beaton: We dont have time to see if things [such as the cloud] work, we have to just go ahead and find savings system but upgrade it to make it more modern. New functionality will include an ability to map and transmit video feeds, she adds. So once the various security preparations and IT restructurings are over, whats next in Beatons career path? I would like to go back to the private sector at some point. I think there is a lot I could bring with all my experience, she says. But having said that my experience of the public sector hasnt been so bad that I wouldnt consider working in another public sector organisation.
read the full interview online:

more online
News: Police routinely breach Data Protection Act, says watchdog

The NPIA closure was a political decision, and my role is to make sure whatever happens next succeeds
7 | 16-22 August 2011

News: Systems integrators could take stake in police agency

Analysis: Shared services: An old concept excites new interest

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clIff saran leader

IT offers great employment opportunities

ith A-Level and gCsE results coming out this month, students will be contemplating whether further education and spending 50,000 on an undergraduate course is worthwhile. It is hard to see how they will ever get a return on that investment or even pay back the loan. the number of new recruits in It has been in decline for some years and there is no indication this year will be any different. But in the uK, one in 20 people work in It and unemployment for It staff has now dropped to 3.1% compared with 8.3% for the overall workforce. Four out of five jobs require It skills. unemployment is rising and yet there is still an It skills shortage, so why not consider a career in It? It both empowers and is itself a stimulus for innovation. Cost of entry is low, so there are plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurship through innovative use of technology. You only have to look at the mobile apps marketplaces and the myriad website businesses to experience entrepreneurship empowered by It. You do not need much capital to get started, says Fiona timothy, chairman of the Princes trust technology Leadership group. Moreover, It is no longer just about getting your hands dirty with programming. she recalls how a young man, from a less advantaged background, taught himself It and is now running a company with eight staff specialising in building e-commerce websites. Formal It training is not always necessary or desirable to secure a job. Business leaders, frustrated by the lack of business nous and practical skills of school leavers, are running internships and apprenticeship programmes. For instance, Computer repair company D&J Henry says business has grown five-fold after hiring apprentices to give recruits on-the-job training. such programmes fill the void left by what critics describe as an inadequate education system that fails to inspire or prepare young people for work. Over the coming months Computer Weekly will be looking at all aspects of It training, development and job prospects. It is a great career and we believe It will fuel the uKs future economic growth.
enterprise blog
8 | 16-22 August 2011

Mark Taylor opinion

Time has come for new IT suppliers to government

he report on the Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) inquiry into government IT pulls no punches. The theme of an oligopoly of giant systems integrators ruling the roost runs through the report all the way. In fact, you could summarise the 65 pages like this: Government IT is ill-conceived, rarely works as planned, and costs far too much taxpayer money; the cause is an entrenched oligopoly exploiting poorly informed, dimly comprehending and half-asleep civil servants. The solution is: smarter procurement government needs to become a smarter and better informed buyer; transparency and openness open standards, open source, open data; and to open up the market, break the oligopoly and bring in SMEs. The theme of innovative new SME players being the solution runs through the report as the counterpoint to the oligopoly of major suppliers, with their entrenched practices being the problem. Much of this would be obvious to a first year economics student, but after more than a decades centralisation around preferred suppliers with cosy relationships with government departments, it has taken a committee of the standing of the PASC to bring this state of affairs to light.

There should be an investigation into the public sector IT oligopoly

The call for an investigation into the cartel caught my attention, and is something I wholeheartedly support. I have experienced, shall we say, sharp practices from members of the oligopoly ranging from being made to wait half a year for payment, to being wheeled in to win a contract, then being summarily kicked off once the ink dries on the contract for them. I was present at the PASC inquiry SME day and witnessed the fear of coming forward with the truth first hand fear of reprisals and fear of being denied the tiny crumbs from the oligopolists table. There should be an investigation

into the public sector IT oligopoly and appropriate remedies handed out if the allegations prove true. Even more importantly the government must act at last, break the oligopoly and open up the market in the way it has promised. Initiatives like those brought by the Cabinet Office such as innovation launchpad, Contracts Finder, SME Panel, and departmental business plans are a great start, but the entrenched interests must be confronted and the existing procurement regime dismantled it is rotten. One of my biggest concerns is the implicit tension between Philip Greens report into government purchasing last year, with its emphasis on centralisation and squeezing the supply chain, and the recommendations from PASC about relying heavily on new suppliers to government. It is not clear to me that the two can be reconciled. Focusing on squeezing out costs from an existing system may make the existing system more efficient and cost less, but will not fix the obviously broken system brought to light by the PASC report, and will most likely drive government IT further into the hands of the very oligopoly that gave rise to this mess in the first place. Innovative new suppliers and a sea-change in government IT practice, or some short-term cost savings from squeezing the supply chain the government must decide which. If the PASC report simply serves to increase our understanding of the problem, it will have failed. I do not believe this will be the case, the report is well researched, well written, and lays bare the state of affairs that currently stands for all to see. Amazingly, it really looks as if this obscure, even esoteric, subject is getting the attention it deserves. I consider the PASC report a very useful piece of ordnance for my New Suppliers to Government working group, and we will be pushing for exactly what the Cabinet Office has called us new suppliers to government. It is clear that the old suppliers to government are not doing the job the taxpayer needs them to do.
Mark taylor leads the Cabinet Office New suppliers to government working group, and is chief executive of open source specialist sirius.

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cloud any day now, and how business structures must change to cope. Yes, online computing is the way everything is going, but I think its much more probable that hybrid models will prevail. This still involves a huge shift in the business IT paradigm, but not necessarily in the direction the cloud service providers are expecting/hoping for. Theres a huge commercial opportunity here for those with the right model.
stuart B Joan Nieuwenhuis

Paranoid hackers miss the point

Readers respond to: Hacker group threatens Blackberry for helping police investigate UK riots
The story that hackers calling themselves Team Poison had defaced Blackberrys website and threatened further action over the companys co-operation with the police drew a reaction from readers. Read some of the comments below. Read the full story and more comments online.

Innocent members of the public who were at the wrong place at the wrong time and owned a Blackberry will get charged for no reason at all claim the hacker group. How do they figure out that then? Do they seriously believe that the police are going to arrest people based on location data and that it would go all the way through the court system with no proof of an actual crime? Its going to be the message contents theyll go on. These guys are watching too many dodgy movies and theyre paranoid as well.

Also Richard, adding insult to injury was a software glitch, leaving many of us without access to our data. It took three days for Amazon to provide us with a snapshot of our EBS volumes. We have our data stored offsite, but the disaster recovery plan cost our company 12 man days in total, and at what cost was that to us? If an electrical problem hit a normal datacentre, your servers would be back online as soon as power was restored, not stuck, or detaching, or error for three days. This highlights the place that cloud has - as a non-critical business platform, or as a way to scale quickly, but you must ensure you have full real-time backups in another non-cloud location, or with another provider, and an easy switch-over system.

We developed our own website and every time we put some new stuff on it is a pain to check the compatibility of all those different web browsers - Apples Safari, Opera, Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome and of course Internet Explorer 9. We just added an iframe which worked nicely, but we just discovered that these are not shown in IE9. This will take, again, a lot of searching for the right solution why this object does not show. We hope web browsers will start being more careful when putting new versions out, because many websites are crippled in their new versions.

Readers respond to: IT managers find IE 9 fails to render websites and web applications
That IT managers had found Internet Explorer 9 was failing to render web applications also elicited a good deal of response. Read some of the comments below. Read the full story and more comments online.
Nicholas Ball

The other problem is how Microsoft is pushing users to upgrade even though many of these site incompatibilities have not been fixed - all for the sake of trying to regain market share in the browser market. I for one find many more irregularities in IE9 and websites that the Compatibility View does not fix. My advice for anyone needing to stay with IE is to keep IE8 if you are on Vista or Windows 7 because you cant install IE7. Or if you absolutely like IE9 so much then go into Compatibility View setting and select View all sites in Compatibility view. At least do this for a while until sites catch up.
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These fools should be prosecuted as accessories after the fact. Everyone who lost loved ones and property during the riots should take every member of Team Poison to the cleaners in court. Bankrupt them and take everything they have too. Let them feel what its like to lose everything.

These blackhats make it clear that theyre not part of the mainstream hacker movement. With their motive to bring anyone down, even Anonymous, it is unclear what the future holds. These arent script kiddies, more like professional terrorists.

Readers respond to: Amazon customers consider on-premise servers after cloud service outage
A story concerning the effect of a cloud service outage on Amazon customers drew considerable response. Read some of the comments below. Read the full story and more comments online.
Richard Bishop

Bill Maslen

While the Amazon and Microsoft outages over the weekend were awkward for the affected cloud providers, can disaffected customers be sure that they could respond as quickly to a major electrical problem with their own on-premise systems?
9 | 16-22 august 2011

No, of course they couldnt, Richard - but when you run your own server, you do know exactly how hard youre working to resolve a problem and you (usually) have a reasonable idea of the timeframe involved. Waiting desperately for news from a broken datacentre administrated by somebody else in another country is not my idea of fun. Its a major reason for small-business reluctance to commit resources to the cloud without reliable offline redundancy/backup, and a good reason for the peals of laughter in our office when some earnest analyst pontificates on how everybody is moving over to apps in the

I installed IE9. It has taken three hours to regain control of my computer from Dell/Google. I lost all toolbars and BBC home page, only Google remained dominating my machine. Even after uninstalling all Dell/Google software Google had control of my machine as all the defaults were set to Google. It has taken me three hours to regain control and reset all my settings and defaults. Why did this happen? I have emailed my friends to say, whatever you do, dont install IE9! I am just an ordinary user, not an IT nerd. Regaining control of my machine was really hard work when I wanted to be using my time and machine for other things.
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buyers guide

Big data: Making sense of information

Clive Longbottom looks at how businesses can manage growing volumes of data to make it meaningful to users

CW Buyers guide
Big data
part 2 of 4

long with the increasing ubiquity of technology comes an increase in the amount of electronic data. Just a few years ago, corporate databases tended to be measured in the range of tens to hundreds of gigabytes. Now, multi-terabyte (TB) or even petabyte (PB) databases are quite normal. The World Data Center for Climate (WDDC) stores over 6PB of data overall, although all but around 220TB of this is held in archive on tape, and the National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) has over 2.8PB of available data around atomic energy research, physics projects and so on. Even companies such as Amazon are running with databases in the tens of terabytes, and companies that most would expect not to have to worry about such massive systems such as ChoicePoint, a US company that tracks data about the whole of the US population and has one of the largest databases in the world are dealing with databases in the hundreds of terabytes. Others, where it is not surprising that large databases are in place, include telecoms companies and service providers. Just dealing with log files of all the events happening across such technology estates can easily build up database sizes. Others include social media sites, where even those that are text-only or primarily text, such as Twitter or Facebook, have big enough problems, and the likes of YouTube have to deal with massively expanding datasets.
Changing data requirements Yet the biggest problem is not simply the sheer volume of data, but the fact that the type of data companies must deal with is changing. When it was rows and columns of figures held in a standard database, life was (relatively) simple. It all came down to the speed of the database and the hardware it was running on. Now, more and more binary large objects (BLOBs) are appearing in databases, which require a different approach to
11 | 16-22 August 2011


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buyers guide
identifying and reporting on what the content actually is and in identifying patterns and making sense out of what this means to the user. Even worse is the fact that less information is making it into standard databases. An increasing amount of numerical and textual data being created still resides within a database, but this is being outstripped by the amount of information being created in a more ad hoc manner, with files that lie directly in a filing system. At the formal data level, suppliers initially used various approaches, such as data warehouses, data marts and data cubes, to provide a fast and effective means of analysing and reporting on very large data sets. When this started to creak, master data management, data federation and other techniques such as in-memory databases and sip of the ocean indicative analysis were brought in to try to keep ahead of the curve. What has become apparent, however, is that such approaches were just stop gaps and database suppliers have really been struggling to keep up.
Is big data the answer? To deal with the increasing amount of information being held within databases, an approach termed big data has come to the fore. Originally aimed at companies within markets such as oil and gas exploration, pharmaceuticals and others dealing with massive data sets, big data looked at how to move away from overly complex and relatively slow systems to one that could provide much greater visibility of what is happening at a data level, enabling those in highly data-centric environments to deal with massive data sets in the fastest time possible. But it has evolved into an idea being presented to the comthinkstock

Data is still regarded by most organisations as rows and columns of numbers that can be turned into a graph using analytical tools mercial world as a means of dealing with their own complex data systems, and also, in some cases, to deal with information being held outside of formal databases. The Apache Hadoop system is one such approach. This system utilises a proprietary file system to create a massively scalable and highly performant platform for dealing with different sorts of data, which can include textual or other data that has been brought into the Hadoop system through, for example, web crawlers or search engines. Another approach was demonstrated by IBM with its Watson computer system, which gained fame by winning US quiz programme Jeopardy. The Watson system uses a mix of database technology and search systems, along with advanced analytic technologies, to enable a computer to appear to be thinking in the same way a human does, working backwards from a natural language answer to be able to predict what the question associated with that answer would have been. Now being developed into a range of applications that can be sold commercially, Watson is not some highlyproprietary system built just for one purpose. IBM purposefully designed it on commercially available hardware and software (such as DB2, WebSphere and InfoStreams) so it could be useful to the general user in as short a time as possible.
User-oriented data The problem remains that most organisations still regard data as rows and columns of numbers that can be mined and reported on using analytical tools that will end up with a graph of some sort. This is why Quocirca prefers the term unbounded data the capability to pull together data and information from a range of disparate sources and to make sense of it in a way that a user needs. Therefore, when looking for a solution to big data, Quocirca recommends that organisations look for the following characteristics: l Can this solution deal with different data types, including text, image, video and sound? l Can this solution deal with disparate data sources, both within and outside of my organisations environment? l Will the solution create a new, massive data warehouse that will

Multiples of bytes
SI decimal prefixes Name (Symbol) kilobyte (kB) megabyte (MB) gigabyte (GB) terabyte (TB) petabyte (PB) exabyte (EB) zettabyte (ZB) yottabyte (YB) Value 103 106 109 1012 1015 1018 1021 1024 Binary Usage 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280 IEC binary prefixes Name (Symbol) kibibyte (KiB) mebibyte (MiB) gibibyte (GiB) tebibyte (TiB) pebibyte (PiB) exbibyte (EiB) zebibyte (ZiB) yobibyte (YiB) Value 210 220 230 240 250 260 270 280

only make my problems worse, or will it use metadata and pointers to minimise data replication and redundancy? l Will the solution present findings back to me, and how? Will this only be based on what has already happened, or can it predict with some degree of certainty what may happen in the future? l How will the solution deal with back-up and restore of data, is it inherently fault tolerant and can I apply more resource easily to the system as required? With the massive growth of data volumes that is occurring, it is necessary to ensure that whatever solution is chosen, it can deal with such growth for a reasonable amount of time at least five years. Therefore, flexibility is key, and a pure formal data focus based around rows and columns of data will not provide this.
clive Longbottom is a director of analyst firm Quocirca.

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What is big data and how can it be used for competitive advantage?

Whitepaper: Seven trends that will change business intelligence

Opinion: Can in-memory computing answer questions about big data?

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Taking healthcare IT into the home

At a Computer Weekly roundtable debate, in association with Vodafone, healthcare and IT professionals discussed the future of telehealth, the challenges it faces and what must happen to broaden its adoption. Lisa Kelly reports

he benefits of telehealth are widely recognised by patients and medical professionals alike. Patients undergoing long-term treatment can receive medication at home, improving their quality of life and reducing their need to travel, while the technology frees up time and hospital resources for the medical profession. But despite these advantages and the maturity of the technology, telehealth is not as widespread as might be expected. At a recent Computer Weekly roundtable debate, in association with Vodafone, healthcare and IT professionals discussed the future of telehealth, the challenges it faces and what must happen to broaden its adoption.

Patient participation Amanda Woodall, a specialist nurse at Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre, uses telehealth to provide a choice for patients as part of a pilot
13 | 16-22 august 2011

scheme run by Baxter Healthcare and Vodafone (see box, page 14). We are dipping a toe in the water, but telehealth has a profound effect on patients quality of life as it reduces travelling to and from the centre where they have six to eight hours of treatment, she said. But Paul Rice, associate director of care partnerships and long-term conditions lead at the Yorkshire & Humber Health Innovation and Education Cluster (YHHIEC), questioned whether patients missed the comfort of face-to-face treatment, even if technology enables the same care principles to be delivered. Woodall acknowledged that patients worry that moving from intensive care to high dependency is a step down as they are used to a high level of monitoring, but she said although telehealth will not suit everyone, many patients recognise the benefits of receiving treatment at home instead of going to hospital.

Both patients and clinicians believe that responsibility for treatment needs to be clearly determined. It should be a joint process with the patient, said Robert Johnstone, a trustee for patient group National Voices. This is the future for healthcare, but it needs participating patients who are often in a better position to analyse and make decisions about their own healthcare, and there needs to be a change in culture so there is the opportunity to move in this direction with everyone working together.
Drivers for change The complexity of the NHS makes it difficult to have a widespread driver for introducing telehealth across the UK, so pilots such as that by Baxter/ Vodafone are important in proving the financial benefits. Telehealth saves one hospital day per month per patient, or 12 per year, Woodall said.

Even where it is difficult to measure return on investment, there are many benefits. Self-care isnt no care, said Yvonne Bennett, secretary of the patient participation group at Haughton Thornley Medical Centre. We will never get it 100% right, but if we get 80% treated at home through telehealth, then the 20% who it is not appropriate for can have more time dedicated to them. Patients can be offered a choice, and every telehealth patient helps the clinical environment, said Woodall. Following initial training, time is saved for clinicians. We also get the appropriate patients in the beds, she said.
Barriers to adoption Paul Shannon, consultant anaesthetist at Doncaster & Bassetlaw Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said pilots in telehealth are successful, but they rarely expand out to a bigger scale. It can take seven to 10 years

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to see the socio-economic benefit from telehealth, and most finance directors want to see a benefit in 18 months, he said. Feng Li, chair of e-business development at Newcastle University Business School, said there needs to be more discussion on how successful pilots can be scaled up and taken to market. Questions about whether the private sector can make money are not being asked. Where will the money come from and who will pay for what and when? If we dont answer these questions, we will still be talking about pilot projects a few years down the line, he said. Alison Mlot, collaboration manager at Alvolution and Medilink West Midlands, and a representative of the Healthcare Technologies and Medicine Knowledge Transfer Network, said large-scale success will not happen until the integration between health, social and primary care improves because the area that needs to make the investment might not make the savings. Rice said there is an issue around allocation of benefits, but that does not mean people are not experimenting. More and more service models are becoming better understood, but turning that into a cost benefit is difficult, he said. Johnstone said patients may drive the change, as more and more budget is coming down to patients and potentially they will have an income to participate in the process.
Patient data security Steve Lane, UK head of homecare at Baxter Healthcare, worked on the telehealth pilot project at Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre. He said the trial took into account data security, where patients log in using a unique ID so their information stays secure and goes straight to a specialised nurse to monitor dosage. The barrier perceived initially was in not monitoring patients in case the condition dips or improves, but it is possible to monitor within a secure environment. There is a consent form that patients sign surrounding monitoring and data ethics, he said. Janet Burton from Baxter Healthcare, who also worked on the pilot, emphasised that information was not shared with anyone beyond the consultant and nurse who would have had that information anyway. The information shared is the same; the speed in sharing it is the difference, she said. Mlot said the sharing of patient data is a much-discussed issue. The simplistic mind says it is great to
14 | 16-22 august 2011

share data to see the whole picture, but how far can you cross boundaries to truly integrate care? The next generation will have greater expectations about the efficient sharing of information, she said. Donna Roberts, relationship manager at North Mersey Health Informatics Service, said patient consent is fundamental in the process of information sharing. Consent at the beginning of any data sharing needs to be clear or you will hit hurdles, she said.
Telehealth expansion YHHIECs Rice said sharing of information needs to improve. One thing the NHS doesnt do well is share learning with peers. It is about time for us to push this, he said. Rice added there is no single answer to making telehealth more widely used and there needs to be careful thought about the technology and a change in the balance of power between patient and clinician, but it is important not to set the bar too high. He warned there is a danger in making lots of short-term stabs at telehealth, which make it difficult to show how wider benefits can be achieved. Shannon of Doncaster & Bassetlaw Trust said the impetus has to come from the medical profession: We have antibodies against politicians telling us what to do. A demand-led solution is most likely to be successful and solutions that integrate easily with everyday life will win. Patients need to be aware of the possibility and knock on doors and push, push, push. It is an education process, said National Voices Johnstone. Make telehealth as inclusive as possible and dont design a new bit of kit which is specific and excludes us from mainstream society. Design solutions that work on existing kit, such as mobile technology which is intuitive and easy to use. Telehealth equipment needs to reflect modern technology for example, dont rely on using phone lines, because lots of people only have a mobile. There is no need for old-fashioned 1970s boxes when we can use existing technology such as iPads and mobile phones, said Drew Provan, senior lecturer in haematology at Barts and the London NHS Trust. A shift in attitudes is needed too. Rice said that many medical professionals still believe they cannot make a decision unless they can see you, smell you, and touch you. Burton said teaching patients is key, but it demands an upfront time investment. To succeed, telehealth requires one-to-one nursing time. While working as a clinical nurse

Case study: Telehealth on trial at Greater Manchester Neuroscience Centre

Baxter Healthcare has been working with Vodafone to provide a patientreported treatment outcome system for users of its intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatments. We support highly complex patients and have a long history of doing homecare. Telehealth helps keep patients out of a hospital setting, said Steve Lane, UK head of homecare at Baxter Healthcare. He added that patients requiring such treatment can spend 20% of their lives on an infusion chair, so the telehealth pilot was directed at improving their comfort by treating them at home, while simultaneously satisfying clinicians that the disease was being properly treated and monitored. This is a catastrophic disease if it is not well managed and the question I posed was, Can we give a monitoring device to get people home?. That was our starting point, which led to us piloting HTC smartphones with Vodafone, said Lane. Vodafone provides a managed service based on a mobile web-based patient diary which allows patients to complete questionnaires about their treatment on a mobile phone with results feeding into a secure online database accessed by clinicians. Lane said the pilot worked on three levels: providing an ongoing assessment of the disease so that patients and clinical nurse specialists were reassured about the monitoring process; asking essential questions before infusion as a safety check; and identifying what products were used in the batch numbers to provide clinical governance and peace of mind. The technology gave us unexpected further benefits. It not only allowed patients to be treated at home, but it also delivered improvements around clinical governance and management, he said. The pilot has received positive feedback from patients and has proved itself to be economically viable. Telehealth can be about a box of something that sits in someones home and costs a lot to set up, but the HTC mobile solution is based on HTML so people can easily log on and it has minimum impact. The pilot has not been running that long, but we are so confident that we will launch in the autumn, said Lane. The risk of losing paper-based diaries has been removed by completing diaries electronically, and there are huge gains in cutting bureaucracy. There is a national immunoglobulin database as it is valuable and it is necessary to know who has what and where it is going. The technology will benefit pharmacists as it will streamline data capture, said Lane. As telehealth rolls into more therapies, its benefits will increase. The upfront investment has already been made by the telecoms companies, so cost is not a barrier and over time more and more applications will be developed, said Lane.

specialist at the John Radcliffe hospital, we found that of the 150 patients on homecare only two chose to come back, but significant one-toone nursing time had to be invested, she said. Vodafones head of healthcare marketing Nicola McLaughlin said: We are not sure what the mobile technology should look like, but it is important we develop the solutions together, in conjunction with NHS trusts. Patient choice and a bottom-up approach are driving how the trusts have to change.

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News: Walsall council embarks on public sector network project

News: 4.3bn of NHS IT contracts to be reviewed after MP accusations

NHS Scotland signs 1.8m deal for single sign-on system

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I predict a riot of misjudged press releases
As any journalist knows, sometimes its not what you include in a press release but what you dont that counts in a story. For the sake of clarity, less is often more. So hats off to PRs across the board last week for showing uncharacteristic restraint in not using the riots as a peg for their clients services. Usually whatever story is currently gripping our collective imagination, be it the collusion of political and media elites or our preoccupation with Pippa Middletons rear, someone somewhere will spot an angle for double-sided printing or pen holders. Obviously, journalists can get it very wrong too (think Amy Winehouses untimely death is a wake-up call for small business owners, courtesy of the Huffington Post). But in the absence of any riot hooks we came up with a few of our own: l Crazed looters running wild on the streets demonstrates the importance of mobile working. l Blazing buildings and breakdown of civilisation sparks interest in data back-up. l Absent politicians holidaying in Tuscany use videoconferencing to communicate with the masses. l Surge in online sales of baseball bats, bazookas and armoured

Heard something amusing or exasperating on the industry grapevine? E-mail

tanks accelerate growth of digital economy. l Boris Johnsons efforts to calm city boost interest in Robot Mayor 2012 (blond wig included).

Hersheys hit by chocolate connoisseur hacker?

Security professionals largely agree that the biggest motive for hacking into company IT systems these days is to steal information for financial gain.

Blackberry smartphone to take the blame for lawless England

People are blaming a smartphone for the riots in London. Forget a lack of opportunities for millions of underprivileged people, or the pure idiocy. Yes, the Blackberry is to blame. A tool that helps people communicate is to blame. A survey in the Daily Mail even reveals that 57% of readers think the Blackberry Messenger service should be banned. Well, that would be much easier than increasing opportunities for the masses Soon people will be blaming the internet for future riots, which will happen when the current rioters lives get even worse when food dries up as well as the opportunities. Well, thats if one of the latest e-petitions becomes law. The e-petition is: Convicted London rioters should loose [sic] all benefits. The e-petition says: Any persons convicted of criminal acts during the current London riots should have all financial benefits removed. No taxpayer should have to contribute to those who have destroyed property, stolen from their community and shown a disregard for the country that provides for them. It has more than 75,000 votes. If it gets over 100,000 it will be debated in a committee. Yeah, that will stop people rioting.

That is probably true for most hackers, except perhaps for chocolate connoisseurs who feel they can improve on a suppliers product. US chocolate maker Hersheys may have been targeted by such a hacker who broke into one of its servers to change a single chocolate recipe. The hacker made straight for the recipe file and left without attempting to access any personal data of consumers stored on the same server. If not a desperate attempt by a dissatisfied connoisseur, another explanation Downtime can think of is that the hacker was acting on behalf of a competitor trying to sabotage a Hersheys classic. Security experts have suggested a far more prosaic explanation, which is that the hacker was merely testing the effectiveness of Hershey's intrusion detection and prevention systems. Hersheys has issued a statement saying it has taken steps to close the security hole to thwart future attempts at recipe alterations. Perhaps it should also survey customers to find out if they have any suggestions for recipe improvements. It may just find that current versions are no longer hitting the spot.

mirror and subscribe to the OnStar service, is that location checking |is not yet available for mobile devices. Once the app goes mobile, there will be no place for errant teens to hide. The system can send text or e-mail alerts set for specific times, and OnStar is planning to expand this to include alerts when a driver arrives at a destination, if a predetermined speed limit is broken, or when a navigation boundary is crossed. GM is to decide in September whether or not to launch the service across the US. The fate and happiness of millions of US teens rests on the decision.

Microsofts Data Furnace warms businesses to cloud computing

Picture the scene. Indoors on a cold winter's night, hot cocoa in hand, warming your feet by a roaring... server. A Microsoft research report, titled The Data Furnace, has proposed cloud computing servers could be sent to homes and office buildings to be used as a primary heat source. Downtime has heard a lot of hype, but is Microsoft pushing the limits on cloud computing hot air? Cloud computing is hot, literally, says the report. Connotations of report title The Data Furnace may fail to completely quell data security concerns, but nevertheless, an in-house server could go a long way to familiarise businesses with components of cloud computing. Perhaps the next phase of the project could be giving out iPads as cushions to make companies more comfortable supporting new mobile technologies?
Read more on the Downtime blog

GM vehicle tracking pilot unlikely to be popular with teen drivers

General Motors is testing a vehicle tracking system in the US, which may be a great way of tracking stolen vehicles and giving peace of mind, but it also provides a way of keeping tabs on family members. Likely to be less popular with teen drivers in a family, GMs OnStar Family Link enables users to check the vehicle location on a web-based map, according to US reports. The only respite from the system, which requires vehicle owners to install a custom OnStar rearview

15 | 16-22 August 2011

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