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Next generation services - an Industrial Strategy Challenge

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Funding, ISCF, Support

A key, unifying factor of the high-value data-driven service sector is that they rely on the knowledge, experience and intuition of people to deliver the services they provide.

Pipeline of data with a persons face looking through it.

Increasingly, the volumes of data and the speed at which it changes, coupled with the reliance on people to understand and interpret it, is a limiting factor in scaling these services.

Understanding patterns offer scale up potential

A large part of service delivery is high touch either through high knowledge individuals (law, consultancy) or through call centres and other direct human interaction. This approach limits the scale of delivery and the degree of personalisation.

By using a combination of digitisation, data and people, and technologies related to AI, it becomes possible for services firms to deliver more personalised services to their customers at scale and on an international level.

AI offers the ability to gain insight from complex data faster and more accurately than humans can by identifying patterns that a human would simply not be able to see.

Three robots sitting at desks with computers.

The UK and global leadership

The UK is in a strong position to extend our global leadership from the current generation of high value services to the next. We can responsibly build on our expertise in these sectors and leadership in AI, coupled with our expertise in data, analysis and digitisation, to achieve a step change in the productivity of our professional and financial services.

This is why next generation services was included in the government’s Industrial Strategy as one of the pioneer opportunities to receive Industrial Strategy Challenge funding.

While I don’t subscribe to the dystopian view of the threat of AI domination, there are clear broader areas of concern around ethics, bias and under-employment. Here again, we have world leading researchers in the social sciences and humanities that we can include to avoid and reduce problems.

Blue sign saying 'Next generation'

By pioneering the next generation of services, we will ensure that the UK remains at the leading edge of this revolution; the benefits will go well beyond the economic growth of the services industry. It will provide our businesses, consumers and citizens with enhanced services, improving in turn their productivity and participation within society.

We are initially limiting the scope of this challenge to legal services, accountancy and insurance which are high-value data-driven services under the broader category of Professional Business Services and Financial Services.

Hand holding up a megaphone with the word 'Funding' coming out of the megaphone.

Funding announcement

This Challenge will receive pioneer funding of up to £20 million, confirmed by government as part of the AI Sector Deal.  This is a challenge with very strong potential, but where we recognise we need to develop even further in partnership with the business, research and innovation communities and stimulate R&D investment in these sectors.

Please keep an eye out on our Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund pages for more details on the first challenge competitions.


You can follow Stephen on Twitter: @StephenBrowning

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