Doing the same thing differently will not be good enough in the future. “Organisations will need to do different things,” says Hayden Edwards, senior manager for business development and major deals in Scotland for BT Enterprise.

“Ubiquitous connectivity, converging fixed and mobile networks with the highest capacity and availability of network will be key to underpinning these ambitions to deliver new digital services,” he adds.

The approach being taken by BT Enterprise in Scotland is to “Connect Scotland for Good”.

With its role in providing services to support corporate and public sector businesses, Edwards believes BT Enterprise is well placed in these turbulent times. 

“The war in Ukraine, a recovering economy post Covid and spiralling inflation – it has been some 2022: it is only natural that as a company, we understand the impacts on our customers and are there for them in whatever capacity we can be.  

“BT has always had a strong sense of purpose within the communities it operates and right now Scotland needs us to stand up and support the country,” he adds.

Edwards explains that for BT Enterprise, Connecting Scotland for Good has two meanings. “First, it is more important than ever that we keep people, organisations, their assets and our joint ambitions securely connected at all levels. We can do immense good by achieving this for the benefit of the nation.”  

He adds it is also about doing those “different” innovative things. “It is about giving organisations the confidence and resilience to make that move to future-proof solutions and not to have to keep revisiting the same infrastructure year after year with tactical upgrades. Let’s do it once but properly and let’s do it for good.”

BT’s approach is in line with the Scottish Government’s own National Strategy for Economic Transformation which sees the transition to net zero as not just an environmental imperative but an economic opportunity. 

To implement its key actions, the strategy includes promoting Scotland as an innovative test bed for new technologies and markets. 

Edwards points to the partnership announced with ScottishPower (see case study) which is an example of BT’s approach.

“It is all about getting them to move to high-speed, ubiquitous connectivity, particularly in rural areas for wind or solar farms and green hydrogen production – all those great things which underpin the ‘good’ which is net zero carbon emissions. 

“It will give them access to huge amounts of real-time management information over that future-proofed infrastructure and allow them to make better business decisions. 

“So taking the meaning of Connecting Scotland for Good, it’s good that we’re doing this because it’s good for the nation and good for the environment. 

“It’s also saying if we do this move now, we can start to actually realise their ambitions today and not in five years’ time. Organisations can’t wait to transform their services – they are in a hurry and so we are here to help them, now. So we make the leap once, and we get it done for good.”

That tie-up with ScottishPower looks into the future, but there are already examples of connecting for good where BT has collaborated with the Scottish public sector on innovation.

“Building on the success of our recently delivered immersive classrooms experience with a council, we are now working on other immersive experiences across Scotland, in both urban and rural communities,” says Edwards. 

“We know that technology can help to make education richer and more accessible for young people and deliver new and inclusive opportunities. This is powered by our award-winning EE 5G network.” 

Another example of using this state-of-the-art connectivity for innovation is the partnership with Stirling University which is building a model for green recovery in the Forth valley as part of the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. 

The Forth Environmental Resilience Array (ERA) monitoring system gives researchers a “living laboratory”, providing real-time access to environmental data and analytics. 

Sensors, satellite data and artificial intelligence provides information on water quality and quantity, for instance, giving insights into flood risks or harmful algae blooms. 

The data collected allows the scientists to expand their research and will lead to intelligent data-driven environmental management. 

The project aims to create a thriving and sustainable economy in the region and support Scotland’s commitment to being a net zero society by 2045. 

The key to all these projects is partnership and Edwards believes collaboration is the way to Connect Scotland for Good. 

“There’s always a reticence to collaborate,” says Edwards. “We find a lot of customers talk about innovation – trying those different things – but very few have the confidence to do it.

“So we examine the barriers to collaboration and help customers overcome these – whether they be capacity, capability, investment or policy. 

“BT loves to co-create and support a customer’s ambitions and show what is possible.

“Right now in Scotland, we need to remove any barriers to collaboration, to help Connect Scotland for Good. 

“Come to us with the innovations you want to achieve and we can match the connectivity, solutions, innovation and investment to help you make these a reality.”

Driving a green future – case study

BT announced in September 2022 that it had been awarded a multi-million pound contract by ScottishPower to strengthen the connectivity throughout its network of wind farms and offices.

The partnership will see BT deliver a wide range of innovative connectivity solutions to ScottishPower, by securely connecting its isolated green energy sites.

The contract, which will provide integrated and bespoke telecommunications services to about 100 locations across the UK, France, and Germany, will enable ScottishPower to future-proof its IT network. 

This will help it to increase its capacity to provide clean, green energy to facilitate the UK’s progress to net zero.

BT’s connectivity will aid ScottishPower’s operational technology on its wind farms allowing controllers to monitor areas like turbine temperature, operating efficiency and the amount of electricity being produced by the site, helping manage the wind farm and the assets on it more efficiently. 

ScottishPower’s ambitious growth plans include expansion of its existing onshore wind portfolio, investment in new, large-scale solar projects and innovative battery storage systems. The strategic partnership between BT and ScottishPower will facilitate that growth in capacity.

Alan Lees, director for BT’s Enterprise business in Scotland, said: “As a critical enabler and as one of the largest employers in Scotland, BT offers unparalleled networks for people, businesses and public services here.

“We understand critical national services and like ScottishPower, we also want to power Scotland’s green economic growth. 

“At BT, we pride ourselves on offering unrivalled, robust and reliable network solutions for our customers including ubiquitous connectivity in hard-to-reach rural sites.  

“We look forward to providing integrated solutions to meet the needs of ScottishPower and its customers as we work together to help to support the growth of renewable energy.”

Partner Content in association with BT Enterprise 

Hayden Edwards, BT Enterprise, Corporate & Public Sector, will be speaking at #DigitalScotland2022