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Chance to break down digital barricades

Terry smiling headThere will be a lot of revolutionary talk this week. Not the street-fighting kind, but among those breaking down the digital barricades to create a new economy.

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us and hundreds of delegates will be exchanging ideas and project plans at DataFest18, a week long festival taking place across Scotland.

Organised by The Data Lab in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and The Scottish Government, the festival comprises 45 events and is a huge opportunity for Scotland to play its part in the transformative technologies now upon us.

Data science is at its heart and is creating disruptive processes across all sectors, from the way we buy insurance to how we travel. Fundamentally, these changes are customer-beneficial and, in many instances, customer-led.

Individuals are demanding and expect instant solutions, delivered directly and in the simplest format. These solutions will drive the growth of voice commands, more home-based devices to control our domestic lives, changes to the way we run our offices, handle our finances and monitor our health.

According to an EY survey of 2,500 households in the UK 26% of households own at least one type of smart home product, and this is expected to reach 59% by 2022. Patient records will be paperless in the NHS within two years.

Scotland is already carving out a place in transforming society, forging new partnerships through such initiatives as the CivTech programme and FinTech Scotland that are bringing new software and data specialists together with the traditional providers of goods and services.

The ethical application of data science and the transparency in how algorithms process citizens’ data present another challenge, so inevitably regulation will follow. For now, we are moving from the exploratory stage to the application of this new science.

At a conference in Rome earlier this month some of the top solutions providers and those driving change in the financial services industry discussed how wealth management and banks will be repositioned, the latter as utilities, and how the consumer is now ready and eager to embrace these changes.

A crucial message from Italy was that the data revolution is not simply for the techies building new programmes, it is something that impacts on all industries.

Scotland’s DataFest is an opportunity for the country to echo these messages and make sure it has a voice and a participating role in this brave new world.

DataFest18 runs from 19 to 23 March 

See also:

Interview: Spiros Margaris, fintech influencer

Interview: Stephen Ingledew, CEO, Fintech Scotland

Customers seeing benefits of ‘robo’ devices

Datathon puts ideas into action


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