FS Fives: Friday, June 17

Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.

First up, a report from Business Insider UK on how the Royal Bank of Scotland has established “technology scouting networks” in Silicon Valley, Israel, London, and Edinburgh to make sure it is up to date with the latest trends. Banks are facing a wave of competition from financial technology startups that “operate and look more like a Facebook or Google” than a traditional lender and established players are “scrambling to keep up with the pace of change”. Kevin Hanley, head of design at RBS, says: “I have a team on the ground in Silicon Valley, it has been there for just over two years now. It is a reasonably small team but massively connected into the innovation ecosystem. This is everyone, the Facebooks and the Apples of the world through to a startup, south of Market Street [an area in San Francisco where Twitter is based].”

The DVLA has won Public Service Innovation of the Year and Overall First Prize at the DL100 Awards, for its Share Driving Licence service. After a public nomination and judging, the DL100 list – which covers projects, organisations and individuals involved in digital transformation – was opened for a public vote in April. Among the top 100 were four from Scotland; COSLA for myjobscotland and the John Wheatley Learning Network (Digital Public Service Innovation of the Year), Digital Participation Scotland (Digital Inclusion and Skills Initiative of the Year) and City of Edinburgh Council (Digital Council of the Year). More than 500 digital pioneers and influencers from both the public, private and non-profit sectors attended the awards ceremony in London on Wednesday where the 10 category winners were announced. The event, which was hosted by former Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude and BBC Click presenter LJ Rich, celebrated some of the greatest achievements in digital leadership in the past year.

Scottish public authorities have been given the option of buying customer service software through a framework contract agreed by the national procurement body Scotland Excel. Four companies have won the right for their solutions to be called off from the framework – Civica UK, Firmstep, Kana Software Ireland and Netcall Telecom – in a deal worth around £15m. As part of the deal they have each made a commitment to providing community benefits, including ICT apprenticeships, school talks about IT careers and support for childrens’ coding clubs. The contract will last for three years with the option to extend for one more, and supersedes the organisation’s CRM system framework. It gives potential buyers, including all of Scotland’s local authorities and regional NHS organisations, the ability to draw on its common terms and conditions in calling off any deals.

Should the NHS prescribe fitness trackers? Heather May Morgan, a social scientist and health services researcher at Aberdeen University working on the integration of new technology into health and social care, says the NHS is already exploring innovative approaches to combatting obesity; financial incentives, free access to dieting clubs or exercise classes. Might it be time to investigate the feasibility of wearable fitness trackers, too?

And finally…in his first interview since LinkedIn’s acquisition by Microsoft, co-founder Reid Hoffman sees artitificial intelligence as being part of the professional network’s future.