Scotland’s larger towns and cities have the resources and expertise to implement Smart City strategies, but the smaller rural village communities do not.
Digital Villages address that gap.
The vision for these sites is that they enable digital communities that better bring together local people and empower them to collectively action the improvements and better social cohesion and participation they would all like to see.
At a Scottish Government policy level, Digital Villages are an ideal catalyst and accelerator of ‘Digital Improvement Districts‘.
Digital Villages directly addresses this need. They offer a complete Cloud-powered, digital enablement program for Scotland’s rural communities, developed around the best practices identified by Scotland’s Rural College that would unlock £2.5 BILLION in new economic growth as a consequence of adopting rural digital innovations.
Harnessing the Cloud
Research from Microsoft identified the type of challenge holding up Scotland’s productivity and thus economic growth – Low adoption rates by Scottish SMEs of key technologies like Cloud computing.
“While 75% stated that digital technology was essential to the future growth or competitiveness of their business only 37% of the 4,000 Scottish businesses surveyed stated that their employees were equipped with sufficient technology skills to meet the business’ digital technology needs.
Only 36% invested in an improved company web site and only 17 – 19% have invested in e-commerce sites and Cloud services.
28% still don’t even have a web site!”
Digital Villages address this specific gap in the market. The platform provides for a central community portal, check out our first site Biggar.online, that comes with an integrated web site builder, a simple plug and play development tool ideal for quickly building micro-business web pages, for example see this site for local pet care business Harveys.
Building a Connected Nation
A great context for this is Lesley Riddoch’s ‘connected nation’ series, a key inspiration for our ideas.
In an interesting series of inspirational documentaries, Lesley Riddoch shows how communities such as the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Norway have thrived as successful nations. In the case of the Faroe islands with only 1% of the Scottish population and a key commodity of fish, they have achieved an amazing status as a digitally connected nation.
Many of the positive outcomes covered in these informative videos, can provide useful learning for rural Scotland and show what can be achieved with good vision, aspiration and ambition within local development plans. The Digital Village Scotland initiative aspires to reflect a positive vision in support of rural communities to be all they can be, within a connected nation.