Ipswich Central and All About Ipswich, the town centre and destination management organisations for Suffolk’s county town, have announced the launch of a Digital Taskforce for the town centre.
The new group will be chaired by Chris Pont, Chief Executive and Co-founder of IJYI, a software development company with headquarters at the Connexions building in Princes Street, Ipswich. The formation of the company in 2014 resulted from Chris’ obsession with problem-solving and delivering technical solutions from a young age. He gained extensive knowledge in IT consultancy for companies such as Aviva, Willis Group and BT. IJYI’s success combines a focus on technology with processes to deliver customer value and results from Chris’ passion for software delivery, cloud platforms and an ambition for expertise for tooling, process and culture. Since its launch, IJYI has grown to a team of 20 project managers, solution architects, developers, quality engineers and support analysts, with clients based both in Ipswich and across the UK.
The Digital Taskforce will bring together leading experts in digital technology from Ipswich and the surrounding area. Working collaboratively, they will assess the current digital performance and potential of the town centre, as well as identifying the best international examples and emerging trends. The result will be an ambitious plan to invest over £2million in Ipswich’s digital infrastructure, allocated from the government’s recently awarded Town Deal funding for the town.
Commenting, Chair of Ipswich Central Chairman, Terry Baxter: “Working with our Town Deal partners, we recognised the huge potential of a digital programme and Chris will help us to bring together the brightest IT brains in the area to help us to work up our ambitious investment plans. This announcement coincides with our launch of the ‘connected town centre’ concept which will mean more people living, working and socialising centrally and the digital programme will be essential to that.”
Chris Pont said: “I am Ipswich born and bred, feel incredibly lucky to have an historic Waterfront with some unique venues and a number of picturesque parks with excellent facilities. Fatherhood has made me appreciate my hometown more and more. Digital Ipswich will help to knit all of this together, keep people updated on what’s happening, help businesses increase their customer base, and generate a much greater sense of community and pride for our town, with innovative use of technology and data.”
As part of its submission to government, the Town Deal Board evidenced that 84% of Ipswich’s population catchment use smart devices, which increases to 99% for the under 35’s. 9 out of 10 visits to the town, including bookings such as theatre and cinema tickets or restaurant tables, are arranged digitally. The Town Deal investment will embrace these trends.
Commenting on the formation of the new Taskforce, Tom Hunt MP said: “Our investment in digital is absolutely vital for the town. In Chris Pont, we have found someone to lead the project who brings with them a blend of ground-breaking IT expertise and a real passion for Ipswich. I have committed that I will work closely with Chris and all members of the new Taskforce to deliver improvements that embrace new technologies and have the potential to transform peoples’ lives and protect the future of local businesses.”
Chris Pont also announced: “As well as a Taskforce of local and regional IT experts, we will form a Digital Network, made up of local digital users. They will meet virtually throughout the project to help us ensure that we are scoping outputs that meet the needs of the local community.”