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Welsh government plans digital pilots in the Valleys

As part of its digital vision for the Valleys, the government looks to pilot Uber-style transport app for NHS patients, a community Wi-Fi scheme and better use of data mapping tool

The Welsh government’s ministerial taskforce for the South Wales Valleys is planning a series of digital pilots in the region.

The projects are part of the taskforce’s plan to develop a digital vision for the Valleys, looking at how technology can improve the lives of people living and working in the area.

One of the pilots is an Uber-style transport app for NHS patients travelling to and from hospital, aiming to bring together local providers of community transport, while another is a community Wi-Fi scheme where existing community hubs will be encourages to open up their Wi-Fi to local residents. 

Ann Beynon, the delivery lead for the digital elements of the delivery plan for the Valleys, said they are “supremely aware of the rapid advancement of digital technology across the globe and how it is transforming the ways in which we live, work and socialise”.

“South Wales has a vibrant digital sector which is growing in strength. It is supported by digital skills and training plans developed by the Learning and Skills Council working with local employers and training providers and by significant investment in digital infrastructure,” she said.

“We are determined to tap into the wealth of knowledge available to us and to exploit that investment as we develop the vision for a future digital Valleys.”

The government will also investigate “better use” of an online data mapping tool called Lle.

Earlier in April 2018, the NHS Wales Informatics Service and Life Sciences Hub Wales joined forces to create an ecosystem aiming to deliver better care through digital applications and services.  

Commenting on these latest pilots in the Valleys, leader of the house and chief whip Julie James, who is also the Welsh Government lead on digital infrastructure and inclusion, said: “Wales has always punched above its weight on the world stage in terms of digital innovation.

“The South Wales region in particular has a high concentration of successful digital companies, as well as university expertise in the sector. The taskforce has a really important role to play in ensuring these successes benefit Valleys communities.

“I look forward to seeing how the schemes we’ve agreed to pilot in the Valleys – which have been developed in response to local feedback – can improve the lives of people living and working here, as well as the economic prosperity of the area,” she added.

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