FS Fives: Friday, July 8

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

First up, a survey of 187 UK councils reveals that many local governments are lacking the budget, leadership and capability to progress smart initiatives and connected technology. The research reveals that smart cities are not deemed a strategic priority for the majority. The councils from across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland were contacted as part of the research, commissioned by street lighting experts Lucy Zodion and conducted by independent research agency DJS Research. A significant gap was identified between those councils leading the way on smart cities and those not yet engaged: while Glasgow is among the former, over 80% had little to no involvement with smart cities and few had named smart city leads or teams managing smart implementation.

Next, the winner of an international  games development competition held in Dundee will walk away with a  £25,000 prize. Channel 4 has announced that it will offer the award to one of the teams taking part in Dare to be Digital 2016 (4-7 August), through its new All 4 Games label launched last year. The annual competition for budding games developers is run by Abertay University with over 80 people across 16 finalist teams taking part this year. The contestants are a diverse bunch and  come from universities in the USA, Belgium, France, India, England, Wales and Scotland. Colin Macdonald, head of All 4 Games said: “We’re pleased and proud to be supporting Dare to be Digital again. Each year, we’ve watched the competition go from strength-to-strength and so it is no surprise that it attracts the most talented games development students from across the world.”

Investigative website The Ferret says that Police Scotland has committed to deleting millions of historic vehicle movement records. Its database is derived from Automatic Number Plate Recognition cameras that are placed throughout the country. A freedom of information request made earlier this year revealed that Police Scotland kept records of every recorded vehicle movement dating back to 2012, even though data protection rules prohibit forces from keeping records that are not linked to criminal activity being kept for longer than two years. “The Ferret can now reveal that senior officers were aware that they may have been breaking data protection rules for most of this time. Police Scotland has responded by confirming for the first time that it intends to delete historical records.”

Amazon Web Services (AWS) will continue with plans to build out a UK region for its cloud services, despite the recent vote by Britain to leave the European Union. Gavin Jackson, the managing director of AWS in the UK and Ireland, made the announcement at the 2016 AWS Summit in London, and urged customers to continue investing in the area as well. Amazon runs research and development hubs in Cambridge, London, and Edinburgh that work on projects ranging from its Amazon Prime Air drone programme to its Alexa Voice Service.

And finally … in the week that Blackberry discontinued its Classic phone (albeit that doesn’t necessarily mean an end to physical keyboards on other models), we offer you this dose of schadenfreude.