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Smart Villages – Unlocking the £2.5 billion digital potential of Scotland’s rural communities

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We’ve now launched the first ‘Smart Village’ site on our purpose-built Cloud platform: SmartStrathyre.scot

The goal is to harness our technology expertise to implement the best practices recommended by policy experts in this field, so that we can support the government’s goal of digitally enabling all of Scotland not just the big cities.

£2.5 billion economic boost

For example Scotland’s Rural College identifies:

“To unlock the billions of pounds additional GVA from greater digital adoption in rural areas, Rural England and SRUC outline a number of recommendations for the public and private sectors, including:

  1. Streamlining digital support services – Setting up a single portal for information and local directories giving guidance and support that fulfils the digital needs of rural businesses
  2. Digital Enterprise Hubs – Establishing hubs in rural towns which businesses can use or visit for better connectivity, start-up workspace, hot-desk space and training
  3. Training and skills development – Local collaboration between employers and education providers, improving retraining opportunities and ensuring short training courses and online tools are more readily available to small business owners for life-long learning
  4. Accelerated business adoption of digital connectivity – Encourage businesses using superfast broadband to champion its benefits to their peers locally, offering practical real-life examples of success, and prioritise investment in connectivity and digital tools.
  5. Stronger rural targeting by existing policies and strategies – Making support for digital growth a key objective in future rural business support programmes and encourage larger technology-driven firms to implement policies focused on greater digital adoption in rural areas that shares best practice and provides practical hands-on support for smaller companies.”

Our platform makes possible step #1 – “Setting up a single portal for information and local directories“, and via a suitable Cloud architecture is designed to be hyper-scalable, easily repeatable across all of Scotland’s rural towns the same way.

The structure and style can be configured in different ways to meet the different needs of each community.

Heritage Tourism

For example another early site is VisitLanark.com, which is much more about global social media marketing to attract a larger volume of tourist visitors to the town.

Lanark is a perfect example of how so many of Scotland’s towns represent untapped goldmines – Each has a deep history, in this case of William Wallace, that Holywood has exploited but we haven’t.

Every one across the world knows the Braveheart but none could tell you where Lanark is, the very place his story begins!

So our goal is to establish that link, to connect the town’s tourism marketing to the hundreds of millions of movie fans across the world and encourage them to visit. Converting even a small % starts to explain how such a large economic boost can be achieved.

Smart Village Blueprint – A Megatrends Action Plan

From the development of these first initiatives we will develop a blueprint that can then enable all other communities to quickly and easily repeat their success.

The Rural College report identifies the complete spectrum of support services and local initiatives that are needed to realize the full economic and social benefits – Digital Enterprise Hubs, digital skills training, accelerated business broadband adoption and so forth.

Our Smart Village template plan will support each community to tailor and work through each of these action areas as best suits the needs of their town.

As well as the SRC’s report we’ll aggregate a number of best practice innovations into this template. For example in a recent report Scottish Enterprise identifies ‘megatrends‘ that Scotland can tap into to massively boost their tourism economy.

This identifies a number of massive global drivers of modern tourism and offers recommendations for how Scottish destinations can align themselves to them. We’ll help them do this too.

Neil McEvoy
Founder of Digital Scotland. Veteran entrepreneur with 20+ years of pioneering Cloud computing innovations and best practices.

Smart Villages enabling a digitally connected nation

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