FS Fives: Tuesday, June 14

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

First up, ok, you’ve heard it before; email is dead. But email lives long. Now, though, some companies are determined to end the use of a technology which, depending on the date you pick, is nearly 50 years old. French digital services firm Atos is not quite at zero email yet, but it has been on that path for five years now. It has reduced use of email by 60% and instead built its own social network with around 7,500 open communities representing various projects requiring collaboration. Employees can choose to enter the discussion on their terms and their schedule. “Clearing out your email inbox can make you feel like you’re ultra-productive,” says David Burkus, author of Under New Management, “but unless your job description is solely to delete emails, you’re likely just fooling yourself.”

Next, news of a successful initiative aimed at getting school pupils enthusiastic about digital. XP2016, Europe’s leading event for agile developers, teamed up with Digital World for a series of fun and engaging agile and software development workshops open to 120 primary and secondary school pupils in Scotland. The hands-on workshops took place in Edinburgh and were led by Coderdojo Scotland. Each one gave pupils a chance to get to grips with coding using the new BBC micro:bit, which proved to be the most popular part of the sessions. “The feedback was incredibly positive and we feel the sessions helped give pupils a greater understanding of tech jobs like software development,” said Claire Gillespie, key sector manager for ICT and digital technology at Skills Development Scotland.

One of our favourite startups, What3Words, was featured in the launch edition of FutureScot in The Times Scotland (see page 15). It will notch up a world first in July when the national post office of Mongolia begins referring to locations by a series of three-word phrases instead of house numbers and street names. Mongolia is among the world’s most sparsely populated countries, and about a quarter of its population is nomadic. Even in the capital, Ulaanbataar, not all streets are named. Mongolians will be the first to use the system for government mail delivery, but organisations including The United Nations, courier companies and mapping firms already use What3Words’ system.

Wired has a good round-up of the major announcements on the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The company is hoping that many more apps will now be built for the many more devices that it hopes to sell. But, given the politics of America at the moment, we were intriguied by a piece in MIT Technology Review which imagines what would happen if Donald Trump gets his way and Apple decides to make the iPhone in America rather than China (and Brazil, where one of the seven iPhone factories is located). “The iPhone is a symbol of American ingenuity, but it’s also a testament to the inescapable realities of the global economy,” says the magazine.

And finally…from the world of curling (something close to our heart) here’s the physics behind the ‘broomgate’ controversy rocking the sport.