Danish tech giant Netcompany is on course to win a contract to deliver a nationwide digital postal service to Scottish households.

The system will be designed for those who ‘wish’ to receive official government and public sector communications online – securely, and in one place.

The news was announced today in the latest CivTech ‘challenge’ round – the Scottish Government’s flagship IT procurement scheme.

The move to digital post would bring Scotland into line with leading e-government nations Estonia and Denmark.

Thirteen companies were unveiled today as the winners of the ninth CivTech accelerator challenge round, which aims to connect public services with digital innovators.

They have won the opportunity to create a minimum viable product (MVP), up to a value of £1.3 million during an accelerator process, after which there will be a decision to award a formal contract.

Winners included technology solutions to help women deal with menopause symptoms in the workplace, satellite monitoring to limit the spread of disease in trees, and cutting-edge drone and thermal imaging systems to manage deer populations.

Innovation Minister Richard Lochhead said: “Solutions being developed through the latest CivTech Accelerator promise to have a positive and meaningful impact on Scotland’s society and people. Using the very latest technology, including artificial intelligence, we are tackling real world challenges to help build a stronger and fairer economy.

“Our investment in the CivTech programme is creating tangible and accessible solutions. This shows the tech sector’s appetite to use advances in areas such as AI, machine learning, satellite and drone technology to make people’s lives easier and better.

“Our focus is on creating opportunities for a highly productive, competitive economy, providing new jobs, embedding innovation and boosting skills.”

Thomas Rysgaard Christiansen, partner in Netcompany, said: “We are thrilled about the Scottish Government giving Netcompany the opportunity to develop a Scottish digital post service. We look forward to utilising our valuable experience from the nationwide next generation digital post service we have developed in Denmark. Here, we have demonstrated that safe digital communication between the government and the citizens is key to a more efficient society. We aim to do the same in Scotland.”

For the digital post solution, it will be expected to connect with the ScotAccount digital identity and payment services. It’s designed for anyone needing to access Scottish Government and public sector services, whether residing in or outside of Scotland.

The CivTech challenge stated: “The Scottish public sector including the government, local authorities, agencies and other organisations produce, process, and post paper letters to people.

“This requires significant time and effort due to the manual processes involved, and is less than efficient. The use of traditional post can result in delayed communications, and while delivery is not often an issue, engagement with the communication cannot be guaranteed, and responses [if required] can be problematic and involve extra effort on the part of the citizen. Furthermore, traditional systems present additional challenges for those without fixed abodes, and can pose risks to confidentiality for those living in shared accommodation.”

The winning companies will spend the next few months working closely with their Challenge Sponsors to develop their solutions with a view to developing a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

Full list of Challenge winners and Sponsors:

9.1 – How can technology help us rapidly and accurately gather and analyse stress, pests and disease data in trees and wild plants to aid early detection at national levels?

Sponsored by: ​​Scottish Forestry, Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Challenge Winners: 2Excel Aviation and AAC Clyde: aerospace technologies to deliver early warning on stress, pests and disease in trees and wild plants across the country.

9.2 – How can technology help empower women to better understand menopause and access the right support for their individual needs at the right time?

Sponsored by: Scottish Government’s Chief Scientists Office

Winners: Adora Digital Health, Lumino, and Cohesion:empowering women to better understand menopause and access the right support for their individual needs.

9.3 – How can we help Wildlife Rangers identify the exact location of every animal larger than 5 kilograms in a specified area in real time, to improve forest management and ecological restoration?

Sponsored by: Forestry and Land Scotland

Winners: 2Excel Aviation and BH Wildlife Consultancy: tracking the exact location of deer in real time identification to improve forest management and ecological restoration.

9.4 – Challenge did not progress.

9.5 – How can we use technology to create the most efficient and secure supply chain for public sector procurements?

Sponsored by: Scottish Government Directorate for Digital, Cyber Security Unit and Digital Transformation Division

Winner: AR-SQ Limited: creating the most efficient and secure supply chains for public sector procurements.

9.6 – How can technology help Scotland’s public sector protect against ransomware and other forms of cyber-crime, and should they occur, mitigate, and recover from their effects, including data loss?

Sponsored by: Scottish Government Directorate for Safer Communities: Defence, Security and Cyber Resilience Division

Winners: Lupovis and Swordbreaker: protecting against, and mitigating and recovering from ransomware and cyber-crime attacks.

9.7 – How can technology help increase access to public services and products by making use of the trusted relationships people already have? 

Sponsored by: Scottish Government Directorate for Digital, Cloud and Digital Services Division

Winner: Interrobang: developing approaches to make access to public services and products easier for every person in Scotland.

9.8 – How can technology offer everyone an individualised communications channel that is endlessly adaptable, never goes out of date and interacts with public sector services securely and in a timely way?

Sponsored by: Scottish Government Directorate for Digital, Cloud and Digital Services Division

Winner: Netcompany: building a secure communications channel so every individual can interact with public sector services in the best way possible.

9.9 – How can technology and data create a streamlined experience to help people and businesses across Scotland get access to training, guidance, support, and approval for the licences they need, starting with tobacco products?

Sponsored by: Scottish Government Directorate for Population Health and Scottish Government Directorate for Safer Communities

Winner: Zudu: making licence training, guidance, support and approval as fast, secure and effective as possible.