FS Fives: Thursday, July 14

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

Replacing core banking systems

First up, after two years in “stealth mode”, a British startup run by a “gaggle of former Google engineers” claims to have solved the greatest challenge in fintech: how to replace core banking systems. “While banks busily build customer-facing technology for the digital era, they are being hampered by underlying software written decades ago which is no longer fit for purpose”, says London-based Thought Machine. The firm cites the Royal Bank of Scotland‘s infamous IT meltdown of 2012 and the words of regulator Andrew Bailey as he later handed the bank a record £56n fine, warning of a “very poor legacy of IT resilience and inadequate management of IT risks“.

Personalised video adverts: helpful or ‘creepy’?

Next, Amazon has revealed it is experimenting with personalised video adverts. The clips feature images and text about products the US retailer has detected the user has shown interest in. Amazon regularly displays customised static ads on third-party sites, but the videos have the potential to be more eye-catching and appear in more places. One expert said the idea had potential but Amazon would have to be careful that its ads did not seem ‘creepy’. “This is something we’ve only experimented with at very small scales,” Graeme Smith, managing director Amazon’s software development centre in Edinburgh, told the BBC.

Rising demand for Big Data experts

Scotland’s innovation centre for data science is set to more than double the number of spaces it sponsors on master’s degree courses amid rising demand in the field of big data. Gillian Docherty, marking her first year as chief executive of the Data Lab, said more than 70% of the initial cohort of MSc students have secured industry placements, and the centre has now received European funding to provide a further 50 places. The MSc courses were launched last year through a collaboration with Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University and Dundee and Stirling universities, with 40 sponsored places available to candidates. Joining them now are Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow University, Strathclyde University’s Business School and the University of the West of Scotland.

Read the latest on DataVita, Denholm Associates, Eureka Solutions and ITWORX.

And finally…at the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley, small teams of anonymous, hardcore music fans race to solve the record industry’s toughest problem.