FS Fives: Thursday, August 4

First up, we bring you news of something we had all long expected, but were perhaps unwilling to admit to ourselves. Yes, we are all (well, most of us) officially addicted to our smartphones.

According to the latest Scottish market report from Ofcom, the communications regulator, six in 10 Scots are ‘hooked’ on their smart devices, and one in four has even had to go on a ‘digital detox’.

After spending time away from our trusty devices it’s perhaps no surprise that we report to feeling less stressed, and able to properly unwind and do the things we enjoy.

Those include activities that our devices are keeping us away from, and spending time with our friends and family. One of the findings in the report even suggests smartphone ownership conspires to making us feeling more stressed at work, because of the feeling of ‘constant connectivity’.

“As Scots get more connected, many admit to feeling hooked,” says Vicki Nash, Ofcom director in Scotland

“Many are beginning to take a fresh look at how we use technology and going on a digital detox to enjoy life beyond the screen.”

Despite that connectedness shows no sign of slowing down; 4G coverage in Scotland has increased by 21pp to 92%, although this is the smallest increase across the UK nations. 4G take-up is also lower than the UK average (40% v. 48%) and the lowest of any nation. So perhaps we are being a bit more restrained than our southerly neighbours, or perhaps the infrastructure is just not keeping pace. More on that as we get it.

How the London Underground is informing Scottish patient flow

Glasgow e-health specialists Nugensis have developed real-time decision-making software to help manage hospital patient traffic based on lessons learned from the London Underground.

As one of the world’s busiest transport systems the Tube uses technology to access real-time information, identify and deal with blockages in the system (such as a passenger taken ill), diagnose performance issues and to help them make more informed decisions, says the firm on its website.

“Finally, when they analyse information, they break information into manageable chunks to help mental mapping and they use clearly identifiable zones such as an interchange zone.”

“Nugensis have developed a decision making tool called InfoView which can display near real-time data from across a hospital or NHS Trust in a similar way. It can help hospital decision makers manage patient flow by showing data without any visual clutter in three distinct zones,” it adds.

Sir Tom Hunter invests in retail tech

Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Sir Tom Hunter has invested in an advanced analytics platform for retailers through his private investment vehicle West Coast Capital.

DynamicAction has secured $15m thanks to investment from the Sports Division founder and management consultants Accenture, as lead investors.

Through the alliance agreement, Accenture will become a reseller and service provider for DynamicAction’s solution.  This complements Accenture’s analytics capabilities, which include the Accenture Insights Platform, a cloud-based, end-to-end analytics solution designed to simplify analytics and deliver real-time, actionable insights to businesses across industries.

“We are delighted to welcome Accenture as an investor in DynamicAction,” said Sir Tom. “Global retail is going through incredible change, and where there is change, there is opportunity. Data analytics will be at the forefront of that change, and DynamicAction’s world class software will help retailers navigate a more profitable path in the face of heightened competition.”

Ransomware on the rise

Ransomware is fast becoming a ubiquitous security threat, with nearly 40% of all businesses experiencing an attack in the past year, according to research from computer security firm Malwarebytes. (reports the Guardian).

The group surveyed IT heads at over 500 companies in four countries and found that more than one-third of the ransomware victims lost revenue as a result of the attack. The figures are even worse in Britain where 54% of surveyed businesses had been targeted with such an attack.

One fifth of British companies who had been hit by ransomware reported being charged more than $10,000 to unlock their files, and 3% of the demands were in excess of $50,000.

And finally…Despite Chicago’s success at predicting which restaurants were likely to violate public health codes, why aren’t such freely available algorithms being taken up elsewhere?


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