IT is being called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the push for digital connectivity for our cities and citizens. In recent days we have unveiled our vision to ensure that not only are we not left behind but that Glasgow is at the forefront of it.

The Glasgow Digital Strategy is our blueprint for the city to make that transformative leap we need to make. It’s not just about the economy, about inclusion or social justice, or about skills and employment or delivering modern, high-quality public services. It’s about all of these things, how they are connected and how they impact upon each other.

The benefits to us of doing this properly and the risks of failing to do it properly are made clear when you look at the range of areas this strategy impacts upon. There are 74 actions in total, demonstrating the breadth, importance and the impact we anticipate the strategy will have.

It brings together much of the work already underway or which will continue to take. For example, Evening Times readers will have seen yesterday that we are beginning the roll-out of 54,000 iPads as part of one of the biggest digital learning initiatives in Europe.

It will continue our efforts to bridge the digital divide, which is a growing and real barrier to the economic, social and civic life of the city. As part of our approach to digital and financial inclusion priority is being given to targeting Universal Credit applicants.

And it builds on research into the digital needs for our economy, how we can assist and develop our tech clusters and what we can do to further the SMART City agenda.

The wider public sector approach to digital has a history of taking place within silos, of failing to deliver on its potential and, in the worst case scenarios, simply failing. That’s obviously something we need to avoid.

So a strategic is absolutely essential, it can’t happen in isolation or in the wrong order and must delivered in a way which ensures maximum effectiveness.

This is quite radical step for the council and will see us move into the first wave of cities within the UK to enter into a partnership with the market. We need the digital industry to put in place the infrastructure to allow 5G connectivity but it must be the council which takes the lead on this.

In doing a partnership like that which we intend there will be multiple benefits, in terms of efficiency, of not needing to dig up roads numerous times by numerous firms putting in different infrastructure.

Not only will we coordinate the approach but, crucially, there will be a proper geographic spread as to where the infrastructure goes. If this was left up solely to the market there is no question that parts of the city simply would not be connected because they would not be seen as having the commercial viability which the market looks for.

Instead, the council determine where the infrastructure is put in place, that all our assets, schools and community centres are connected, meaning the entire city is covered. There is nowhere which doesn’t have council-owned facilities and assets.

And most importantly that means there will be inclusion and that we can tackle the digital divide which exists significantly within Glasgow right now.

The strategy and the partnerships it seeks are the first major steps in taking us to where Glasgow currently lags behind in digital connectivity. (Anyone who has attempted to get WiFi in the City Chambers can testify to that.)

I’d like to pay credit to my colleague, Councillor Angus Millar, who has chaired the Glasgow Digital Board and is our Digital Champion and led on the strategy. But its been very satisfying that strategy is the result of a collaborative cross-party partnership.

This strategy really puts us at the vanguard of the first wave of cities looking to the future and bringing the future to now and ensuring that we are as well placed as we can possibly be to equip us for the digital revolution.