Since I’ve been in post I’ve been on a whirlwind tour of companies, conferences and partner organisations. One of my favourite bits of the job so far is meeting directly with companies and finding out about some of the cool and innovative products which are “made in Scotland” – this covers everything from predictive maintenance in sub-sea pipelines to ethical online advertising to companies providing impressive levels of analysis from geospatial data. No two conversations are the same.
There is a huge range in sophistication – some companies work with customers who need help to take the first steps in basic data management; others are capitalising on double sided markets, providing a service to customers and then augmenting and monetising the data they collect. It also covers a huge range in size from start-ups, SMEs, up to global companies. It’s tangible proof of the vibrancy and depth of the data sector here in Scotland.
We have produced a capability directory to map out the companies providing data driven products and services in Scotland. This directory is now available on our website, but it will continue to evolve, and will also need to be kept up to date, as companies launch and develop new capabilities. So please let us know if you should be included or have moved into new areas.
In recent weeks, I’ve participated in the steering group for the development of AI strategy for Scotland. This work is being led by The Data Lab on behalf of the Scottish Government, and is about creating social and economic value for Scotland through AI. The next steps will be the formation of a number of working groups to help shape the strategy. This will likely include looking at topics such skills, ethics, support for commercialisation and more, and I’m expecting some of you might have an interest in participating in these. This is just advance warning, but I’ll highlight it at the right time.
I’ve also just set up an Industry Advisory Group who will be helping me to validate and shape some of the activities of ScotlandIS Data, whether it’s research, lobbying, events, skills or something else! The IAG is made up of a range of people from different companies, government, academia and partner organisations. We recently had our first meeting, but there is still an opportunity to get involved, so if you’re interested, then please get in touch. It shouldn’t be too onerous a commitment!
For ScotlandIS Data to be most useful in helping grow and develop the data tech sector in Scotland, collaboration will be absolutely key, so we will be working with partner organisations, such as The Data Lab, CENSIS, FinTech Scotland and many others. Engagement with the companies in the sector is also key, so a final plea from me – if you want to know more, or want to get involved, whether you have ideas for what you’d like to see us do, or you are looking for collaboration with other companies or bodies, please do get in touch.