FS Fives: Thursday, August 18

First up, we bring you news of a company that we have featured extensively before. If you are aware of Troon-based web pioneers MaidSafe, you will know of the company’s plans to create a safe, secure internet, based on a decentralised network.

After 10 years of R&D the company has finally released an ‘alpha’ version of its Safe Network product, which will allow users to communicate directly with each other without the need for third party servers.

Now, after building up a global fanbase of developers and users, as well as raising a few million via a crowdsale, the network has been released to the world.

As David Irvine, Founder, tells TechCrunch: “The reason that this project started was a server based Internet is completely anti-engineering logic.

“If you think that every computer’s virtually connected to everyone else and the resources in everyone’s desktop dwarf all of Yahoo and Google and Apple put together. They would be nothing compared with what exists out there on the desks.

“And what we’re seeing more and more and more is [current Internet structure] falling apart — people being robbed and hacked and stolen from and snooped and all the rest of that. And that to me is all a by-product of the core design is completely illogical and doesn’t work.”

Setting the Standard

Improving the customer experience through data driven ‘decisioning’ is the topic of a meet up next week at The Data Lab in Edinburgh.

The talk will offer a fascinating insight into the Edinburgh finance giant Standard Life, and its work with Comet Global Consultancy to “leverage data, analytics and technology in order to deliver more personalised customer interactions, creating a foundation for omni-channel marketing to improve the customer experience across all touchpoints.”

Speakers include Firas Khnaisser – Head of Decisioning at Standard Life – and David Thomas, a senior consultant at Comet Global Consultancy. Pizza is on offer for the evening event on Thursday, August 25, so we imagine it will be pretty well subscribed!

Digital detection

The private Nuffield Hospital in Glasgow is using a state-of-the-art mole mapping service to help with the early detection of skin cancer, reports the Scotsman.

After a rise in skin cancer cases of 30% in the last decade consultant dermatologists at the hospital are using whole body digital photographs – taken via a digital photo-dermoscopy surveillance service – to help them detect suspicious lesions. Golfers, who are at particular risk of UV exposure, have been targeted as an at-risk group.

Giddy heights

The James Hutton Institute and ‘vertical farming’ entrepreneurs Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS) have agreed on plans to establish a futuristic farming facility at the Institute’s site in Invergowrie near Dundee, reports Horti Daily.

For the uninitiated vertical farming is a practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers by using controlled environments.

Professor Colin Campbell, Chief Executive of the James Hutton Institute, explains: “Vertical farming is an efficient way of growing plants on a small footprint in urban situations with low energy and water inputs.

“We are doing more research with such innovative companies in the private sector and this example combines our knowledge of plant science and specialised infrastructure to work with others whose vision is aligned to help solve the challenges around long-term food security.”

And finally….Ever wondered what an Olympian gets as a reward for their efforts? In a German’s case, it’s apparently a free lifetime supply of beer

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