Welcome to the latest FS Fives – FutureScot’s lunchtime round-up of Scottish digital news.
First up, we bring you news of the Rookie Oven in Glasgow – arguably Scotland’s second best known tech incubator (after CodeBase) – and its incredible internet speeds. The tech hub, located in the former shipbuilding quarter in Govan, has a staggering fibre optic connection speed of 450MB/s, supported by its provider Telcom. The path to superfast broadband has not been easy for founder Michael Hayes (it took almost a year to jack the Fairfield office space up from its previous 12MB/s speeds), but the wait has been worth it.
“Internet connection speeds are like electricity for us,” explains Hayes. “It’s essential that we have the fastest possible connection to be able to function as a viable grassroots digital community.” Hayes is keen to remind digital tech companies in Glasgow of Rookie Oven’s bandwidth capability after the unveiling of the new council-backed Tontine Building innovation hub in the Merchant City, which has a 30MB/s broadband connection. Hayes said he would have liked to have seen more engagement from the council over the new facility and hopes the offering won’t “dilute” the city’s attempts to create a recognisable ‘cluster’ for digital tech activity, as highlighted in the influential Tech Nation report published earlier this year.
Software has topped the table for foreign direct investment (FDI) into Scotland, according to a report issued by EY (formerly Ernst & Young).
According to new data released by the audit firm, Scotland achieved record levels of inward investment last year, a 51 per cent increase on 2014. Of the 119 FDI projects secured, 19 were for software, 12 for business services and 10 for utilities. On a list of UK cities attracting foreign investment Edinburgh was placed at third behind London (1) and Manchester (2), whilst Glasgow was in 6th place.
Mark Harvey, EY senior partner, Scotland, said: “Scotland had a truly spectacular year for FDI in 2015, making some significant strides in key areas, resulting in a major step change in performance.
“Importantly, the majority of FDI projects for Scotland in 2015 were new rather than expansions.”
A new smart cities strategy has been unveiled for Aberdeen featuring driverless buses and cars, traffic light sensors to monitor congestion, and street lamps which turn on when they detect motion. According to a report in the Press & Journal the Granite city will embrace a raft of new technologies over the next five years, which will also see the adoption of wifi-enabled park benches and roads with built-in pothole warnings. The ‘Smarter Aberdeen’ programme hopes to attract 90 per cent of its funding from the EU, Scottish Government and private sector.
“This will ensure Aberdeen is of the smartest cities in the UK, if not Europe, and transform the lives of the people who live and work in the city,” said Aberdeen City Council leader Jenny Laing. “Aberdeen will be the first in the queue for inward investment and attracting top talent to the city.”
A programme has been launched to help Scottish entrepreneurs ‘scale-up’ their business with the help of world-leading experts from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Business School. The ‘Scotland Can Do Scale’ project is inviting applicants to complete an online training course by May 31, which will allow them to qualify for a free place at summer school in August. Bill Aulet, the Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship at MIT, and Noam Wasserman, Professor at Harvard Business School, will run an “intensive four-day course”, according to the programme’s website. Applicants will learn new techniques to take a ‘disciplined approach to entrepreneurship’ and how to address the ‘challenges’ faced by aspirant business leaders.
And finally, when you think of the architects of the worldwide web most people think of Tim Berners-Lee. But, according to Edinburgh Napier’s cryptographer-in-residence, Professor Bill Buchanan, much credit is also due to the lesser-known internet pioneer Jon Postel. In his ‘Ode to RFCs (Request for Comment), Professor Buchanan outlines the significant contribution from Postel (since deceased) to the evolution of the standards protocols which underpin the way the internet works.