FS Fives: Wednesday, July 6

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

First up, we bring you news of an EU warning from one of Scotland’s foremost health data analytics companies. Chris Roche, CEO of Aridhia, has warned that the Brexit vote has triggered uncertainty in the pan-European health research field. Whilst he said companies like his will ‘evolve and adapt’ to the market conditions, he raised fears that the leave vote has created a hostile climate for health research and that whilst funding from sources such as the €80bn Horizon 2020 programme that have already been agreed are not under threat, there needs to be clarity in the short term for any new projects that are hoping to get off the ground.

All of Scotland’s local authority data will soon be available to the public through a ‘spatial hub’. The Improvement Service has taken information submitted by individual local authorities, standardised disparate formats and then published it as a complete national dataset. The initial datasets include information on Scottish green belt areas, local nature conversation sites, school catchments, vacant and derelict land and town centre air quality management areas. It should mean that that councils will not need to develop portals themselves, as required by law. The Improvement Service said it should also reduce the resources required to answer Freedom of Information requests regarding spatial data, while for the public and other organisations it will provide easy access to all Scotland’s local authority data in one, consistent format.

‘People seem to think that for virtual reality to be a high-impact performance it has to be a really dark story – you have to be in a war zone, et cetera. Actually you can do it in a much more subtle way. That was the idea behind In My Shoes – this is who I am. I’m quite like you. This could be you.’ Jane Gauntlett was violently mugged in 2007, and fell into a coma for three weeks. She suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack, and now lives with a neurological condition that encompasses short-term memory problems, as well as epileptic seizures. Now she has turned the experience into a piece of participative, immersive theatre. Gauntlett will be talking about her work at the Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival next month.

If you don’t have time to digest the entire body of Mary Meeker’s 213-page Internet Trends report – presented recently at the Code Conference in California, Dundee-based tech firm Waracle has helpfully put together an abridged version of the five key ‘takeaway’ messages from the most-eagerly awaited annual tech guide (in Silicon Valley at least).
Number one on the trends list is that internet growth has now plateaued and so have smartphone shipments because of cost and accessibility in developing countries and saturated broadband penetration in developed nations. The second point is that advertisers (in the US) are still behind the curve on mobile advertising and are not spending enough on that channel even though people spend 25% of their media consumption time on their phones. Third is the impact on the SEO market given that by 2020 we will all be conducting internet searches by voice command or images rather than keywords. Fourthly, the next generation of mobile services will be delivered directly through messenger apps like What’s App – the idea of a ‘home screen’ may soon become redundant. And fifth, cars are the next ‘connected device’ that will change the way we work and travel.
Thanks to Waracle for doing all the hard work!

And finally… To many it was the quickest way of accessing email and for years the work device of choice. But finally, after sticking with its clicky little keys for so long, the Blackberry is no more. Farewell, friend.