The Tay Cities Deal will unlock £300m in funding for the region. But is it enough?

Strategy’s social and economic aims

Supporting public services and inclusive growth

A partnership that will invest in digital infrastructure and 5G technology, a collaboration to improve digital inclusion and participation, and a ‘Smart City Challenge’ to stimulate innova- tion in businesses are among proposals in Glasgow City Council’s digital strategy. Te strategy has the aim of

“maximising the contribution that digital technology can make in achieving inclusive economic growth” and “ensuring digital technology plays a transformative and innovative role in how future public services are delivered”. “We are living in a time of

asking and nobody’s been brave enough and there’s not enough leadership to say, ‘No, we’re not do- ing that.’ I actually wouldn’t care if that money was dedicated to, ‘Let’s make the infrastructure amazing’. Because there’s not enough money to do everything; this is the start, now how do we raise the money we need to take it to that level?”

Mr van der Kuyl said also that Abertay University, which is to be the focus of a new £11.7m ‘Cyber Quarter’, which will co-locate business and academia to as part of a nationwide cyber security strategy, is an emerging hub for that industry, but that it was “way down” the rankings when compared to computer gaming, for which it has been a global forerunner. He said also that places like

Belfast – whose Queen’s Univer- sity hosts the Centre for Secure Information Technologies – had already stolen a march in estab- lishing itself as a “phenomenal re-

gional hub” for cybersecurity with operational capabilities in audit as well as software development. Mandy Haeburn-Little, Chief

Executive of the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC), who has been instrumental in the develop- ment of a cyber security strategy for Scotland, said Abertay had a deserved reputation for its prowess in ethical hacking and that the fact that its students had been in demand from cyber security com- panies across the UK was testa- ment to that fact. She also said that she was not averse to going back to the governments to ask for more funding where it was needed. She said: “We’re not there yet

but I don’t think that should stop us. I’m not here for small vision; I am interested in the Tay Cities Deal being part of a much bigger national and international landscape. She added: “I think we need

to keep it an open and very challenging conversation around funding.” l

Ensuring digital plays a transformative role.Picture: Artur Kraft FUTURESCOT | SPRING 2019 | 17

huge and accelerating techno- logical change, and we need to ensure that Glasgow is ready to embrace the opportunities and meet the challenges that the digital revolution will bring for our economy and the future of our public services,” said Angus Millar, the council’s depute convener for economic growth. “While Glasgow is already

recognised as an innovative smart city with a strong and diverse digital tech sector, the strategy and the partnership working across the city that it underpins, will help us take the next steps in becoming a digital global leader. “It will guide the city in tak- ing advantage of the opportuni-

ties digital technology offers to improve our public services and create inclusive economic growth that people across Glasgow can benefit from.” Among the 74 actions to be

delivered is: l Te roll-out of more than 50,000 iPads to the city’s schoolchildren and upgrade to school WiFi l Te introduction of more ‘Smart City’ infrastructure such as intelligent street lighting l A commitment to open data l New work to identify digital technology skills gaps and the future digital skills needs of Glasgow’s economy l Te development of a 3D strategy to develop 3D building models to support planning and regeneration in Glasgow “Glasgow’s digital tech sector

is the largest in Scotland, and the city has achieved global recogni- tion as a leading smart city with notable innovations in data ana- lytics and big data,” the council. In 2013, Glasgow won a £24m

award, beating 30 other UK cit- ies, to develop Future City Dem- onstrator programmes in areas such as smart infrastructure and smart energy. Tey have acted as a catalyst for the digital transfor- mation of public services, said the council, in turn attracting further investment in smart city innovation. l

FutureScot’s Glasgow Digital City Conference https://bit. ly/2uJ5JA4

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