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An update from the North East

It’s been a busy start to the new year in Aberdeen and it is not showing any signs of slowing down. I often find it difficult to switch off from work but have been enjoying the yoga classes at the ONE Tech Hub on a Thursday lunchtime, which provide a great opportunity to take time away from my screen and improve wellbeing at work. Anyone looking to ask me for a favour should try me on a Thursday afternoon!

We started January with a great turnout, and a lively discussion, at the annual ScotlandIS Tech Trends event at Pinsent Masons, with Fiona Capstick from EY sharing her views on the future of tech – looking at key technology and software development trends and how they will impact businesses and society.  It was also fantastic to host the first regional meeting of the ScotlandIS Data Cluster on 4 Feb, where companies with data driven products and services met Katy Guthrie, ScotlandIS’ Head of Data, and found out how the cluster could help their business. The event was run in partnership with the Aberdeen Data Meetup and included speakers from OPEX and the University of Aberdeen. It’s been brilliant to meet so many people from different companies and to hear from speakers working with data in different sectors.

Many businesses in Aberdeen support one sector, such as Energy, but have an offering that is valuable to other areas such as Life Sciences, Tourism, and Food, Drink & Agriculture, all of which are key sectors in the North East.  Through ScotandIS’ partnership with Opportunity North East, I am excited to be working on a  programme to connect local digital tech companies with potential customers in these sectors – both for digital enablement through existing tech products & services and to drive innovation and partnership, developing new solutions to sector problems.  We are kicking off on 11 Feb with a Cyber event for SMEs in the Aberdeenshire Food and Drink network, where local cyber companies will have the opportunity to showcase their products and services. A week later we will host a workshop aimed at rural farming and agri food businesses, raising awareness of current use cases and the potential of tech, and to encourage them to think about how digital might change the way their business works, what their ‘pain points’ are and the data that might be required to understand these better. This workshop will be followed by activity to match businesses with tech companies who can help develop solutions to identified problems.  In developing the programme, I have met with a number of farmers and have been fascinated by the existing tech – from disease identification in crops to facial recognition for pig health, the possibilities are endless. If you are interested in finding out more about my plans and participating in the programme as it develops please get in touch.

ScotlandIS are part of the Aberdeen Digital Ecosystem Forum, which will hold its next event in March, and in addition to the quarterly event we are really pleased to be launching a monthly drop-in clinic at the ONE Tech Hub, where local companies can drop in to meet members of the ecosystem support network – ScotlandIS, Opportunity North East, Scottish Enterprise, CENSIS, Data Lab, OGTC, Interface, Skills Development Scotland, Barclays Eagle Labs and Business Gateway. Information about these, and other events taking place in the North East, will be on the ScotlandIS events page.  There are lots of activities coming up in Aberdeen, but I have to mention Cyber Scotland Week, which takes place from 17-23 Feb.  Two of our local ScotlandIS members, OSP Cyber Academy and RGU, are holding events during that week which might be of interest: Cyber Scotland 2020 Aberdeen, at the ONE Tech Hub, on Thursday 20 Feb, and ‘Practical Cyber Security and Policy Aspects for the UK North Sea’ on Friday 21 Feb at the RGU campus in Garthdee. Ciara Mitchell, ScotlandIS Head of Cyber, and I will be at both events and hope to see you there!

If you’d like to find out more about any of these events or would like to meet for a coffee to introduce your company and be part of the community, please get in touch with me by email.

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