Tech 100: Counting down the key players
Key figures across the Scottish tech scene revealed
Tech 100 - Image credit: Holyrood
Over the last few months we’ve been running through the key figures driving the digital agenda in Scotland, offering an insight into what they are working on and the challenges they envisage.
Over the next few days we’ll complete the Tech 100 list with a roundup of the remaining top players. This is not comprehensive, nor scientific, instead a snapshot of people in each sector. But it gives an insight into how strategically important technology is now in learning, in public service delivery and in growing the Scottish economy.
Bruce Reid – Accord Card Manager, Aberdeen City Council
Accord Card Manager for almost seven years, Reid is responsible for managing, operating and developing the scheme as Aberdeen City Council’s smartcard. This has then been married up with the catering service in secondary schools to deliver a cashless system with parents able to top up online. As of last year parents are able to apply for the card when their child moves from primary to secondary school online, saving time previously devoted to processing around 1,700 applications within an eight-week window.
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Paul Cameron – Digital Participation Officer, Renfrewshire Council
Cameron delivers “Roar do Tablets” classes, a series of free courses co-designed with local charity Roar: Connections for Life to teach the basics of using tablets and getting online to local citizens over the age of 65. Classes are at the pilot stage with just over 100 attendees, however course materials are being shared with a view to scaling up. The scheme has been shortlisted in the cross-sector digital collaboration category for this year’s Digital Leaders 100 awards.
Fiona Gray – Data Hub Project Manager, Improvement Service
As of the final day in 2016, 1.3 million National Entitlement Cards (NEC) used for concessionary travel in Scotland were due to expire as the smartcard technology embedded in them became obsolete. Rather than ask all customers to reapply, a data matching and cleansing service provided free of charge – otherwise known as the Data Hub – was provided by the Improvement Service for free. All bar one of Scotland’s 32 councils used the solution.
David Amos – Head of Policy and Commissioning, Renfrewshire Council
Amos has been shortlisted for the Digital Leader award at this year’s Connect awards for his part in delivering the Digital Renfrewshire Strategy, which is designed to maximise the opportunities digital offers. A £1m free wifi programme has been developed and rollout is underway across town centres as well as public and community buildings across Renfrewshire.
Michelle Brogan – Scottish Centre for Telehealth and Telecare (SCTT)
Brogan has led a national implementation programme over the last 18 months that has expanded home and mobile health monitoring technologies across 12 health board regions nationwide. In so doing, more than 6,000 patients with chronic diseases are being supported to manage their own conditions and as a result live independently. SCTT and NHS 24 have been shortlisted for the Connect Digital Health and Care award on account of the programme.
David Ferguson – Chief Executive, Nucleus
Self-confessed geek, Ferguson began his career training as an actuary with Life Association of Scotland before stints with Ivory & Sime, Scottish Life International and strategic consultancy The Abacus. Convinced that investors could be better served, he embarked on a mission to create the UK’s first crowd-funded and “genuinely collaborative platform” that combines a client’s investments into a single manageable account. Ferguson was one of three shortlisted for CEO of the Year at this year’s ScotlandIS Digital Technology Awards and has also been appointed by the UK Government as one of two envoys to develop Scotland's FinTech sector.
Gareth Williams – CEO, Skyscanner
Scotland’s first $1bn web company, travel search firm Skyscanner has grown to employ more than 850 people with an annual turnover of £120m in 2015. Williams was handed an Outstanding Personal Achievement award at this year’s ScotlandIS Digital Technology Awards while the company took awards for Best B2C Product/Service as well as investment deal of the year in the wake of its sale to Ctrip for £1.4bn.
Jim Law – CEO and Founder, Find A Player
Law launched Find A Player almost 18 months ago after finding a game of five-a-sides hard to come by following his decision to move north of the border. A crowdfunding campaign saw £150,000 raised and out of it has come a social network for individuals who play sport – an app that connects friends and others in their local area interested in the same sport and in so doing helping games find players and vice versa. The start-up came out on top in the best app category at last month’s Sport Technology Awards in London.
Brian Hills – Head of Data, The Data Lab
Hills joined The Data Lab, set up with public funding to help industry and public sector make the most of data science and analytics, from Skyscanner where he launched the business intelligence team. As well as developing and reviewing projects considered for funding, he has been given responsibility for the innovation centre’s education portfolio. Hills won best in class in the data science, analytics and quality category at last month’s Data 50 Awards in London.
Stevie Wilson – Head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre (EC3)
Former Police Scotland cyber crime lead, Detective Superintendent Wilson was appointed last January following his retirement from the police force. The Hague-based centre, which launched in January 2013, acts as a hub for the EU’s fight against online fraud, child sexual exploitation and other forms of online criminality, primarily those involving serious organised crime. The body has been thrust into the public spotlight in recent weeks following a cyber attack that hit organisations worldwide, including the NHS throughout the UK.
Key figures across the Scottish tech scene revealed
Jamie Coleman, co-founder and chair of CodeBase, on the Edinburgh tech scene
Sally Smith, Dean of Computing at Edinburgh Napier University, on digital skills and investment for the future
Harry McLaren, who recently picked up the Best New Cyber Talent award at the first Scottish Cyber Awards, on how big data can tackle our cyber security woes