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Brits Mean Business

Jenny Gardner, director of UK Trade and Investment in Stockholm, blogs about Britain, Sweden and doing business.

Archive for November, 2011

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Cyberspace

Friday, November 25th, 2011

I always liked the word cyberspace. Growing up in the 1970´s and 1980´s I was completely bred on TV-shows like Star Trek, Space:1999 and V and movies like Star Wars and Alien. For a solid part of my youth I wanted to grow up and become an astronaut. Somewhere down the road I changed my mind. Growing up and becoming a teenager was sobering. I began to fully understand the fiction in the science fiction. And being a true teenager the lack of cool clothes and interesting people with pointy ears in space travel didn´t impress me much. The gear was way to clunky and the shuttles not really filled with the galactic travellers I had been promised on TV. And now this year when nearly 8000 people working on the space shuttles in the US lost their jobs I was proven lucky to have left my moon aspirations behind. Space travel did not turn out to be the career of the future.

But haven chosen a non-astronaut line of work I still feel very excited about things named space, virtual and cyber. So happily enough I today have the opportunity to work with this ‘closer to earth’ kind of science and technology. At UK Trade and Investment as a whole, an integral part of our work is information technology of different kinds. This is very much in evidence in our organisation and support of major events such as TechWorld, which I’m attending this week

Regarding our work at UKTI Sweden, there are two main reasons for our technological focus. The most important one is because information technology these days is really a part of most things. We do not see IT as a certain sub-sector but rather a cross-sector that effects all different kind of activities. Healthcare, construction, production industry – they all contain a heavy element of information technology. Another reason for us to focus on this area is the maturity of this market in the UK and Sweden. Both countries have a very developed IT industry and we see an immediate fit between the companies in Sweden and the Tech-market in the UK and vice versa with plenty of opportunities for collaboration, investment and trade.

But were there are opportunities there are also people trying to take unfair advantages of the new developments. Security, both for wired and wireless technology, are big challenges for the future. When we are starting to integrate information technology solutions into everything, we do put ourselves in a risky situation if we’re not adequately secured. We open our businesses and other activities to hackers, viruses, bots or other actions with malicious intent.

So it is not only the information technology that is big business in the future. The security around it is going to take a lot of hard work and there are certainly lots of business opportunities in this area as IT keeps maturing. So some of our heroes in cyberspace in the future are going to be companies providing security services. Even without pointy ears and blue spandex sweaters – these are the people I will be following with great attention.

Because we need a secure IT infrastructure as well as safe applications and solutions so information technology and cyberspace can continue being an integral part of our future. And to quote Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars “In my experience, there´s no such thing as luck.” In this case it is true – we should focus on being safe rather than sorry.

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