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Global giants help HIE open door to digital technology benefits in business

18 March 2016

Following the Discover Digital 2016 conference yesterday (17 March) which attracted over 200 delegates from business and communities, HIE says it’s ramping up support to help the region’s organisations to innovate using digital. 

Representatives from business, social enterprises, the healthcare sector, and charity groups attended the Discover Digital event at Eden Court Theatre, Inverness, and around 60 people tuned in from around the region for the live webcast.

Speakers from leading global brands Google, Microsoft and IBM gave keynote speeches offering latest insights into content marketing, use of Cloud and building customer relationships. The event was organised by HIE and Digital Scotland. Highlands and Islands companies working in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3d design and printing and with drones all provided demonstrations. There was also a wide range of information on digital advice and support which is available now in the region. Host for the day was Prof Irene McAra-McWilliam, Director of Design innovation at Glasgow School of Art, which runs the Institute of Design Innovation in Moray and is working with HIE on a range of design-led projects across the region under the banner of the Creative Futures Partnership.

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive at HIE, said: "The potential social and economic benefits to businesses and communities from digital technology is huge. Over the past four years HIE, Business Gateway, Citizens Online and a number of other partners have been working together to help get people doing more online. Some have used the internet for the first time, some have made small changes to make their businesses more efficient, others have looked in depth at how they can completely innovate their working practices using digital.

“HIE is leading on a £146m infrastructure investment to transform access to better broadband across the region, and leading the delivery of Community Broadband Scotland across the country, on behalf of the Scottish Government. The Digital Scotland Superfast Broadband project means we will be better connected than ever before. Now is the time to ensure people make the very best of whatever connectivity they have, and we are ramping up our support to help them.

I’m delighted that the region’s relationship with our keynote industry speakers will be ongoing. Later this year HIE is launching the first Digital Scotland demonstrator centre at the Inverness Campus. It is called #hellodigital and prior to opening sessions with Google Digital Garage and IBM are already available.” 


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In addition, a wide range of initiatives is available for businesses. Workshops on issues like social media and website development are available now through the Digital Boost programme, with analytics and cyber security coming soon. Workshops are delivered by HIE and Business Gateway. 


There are Digital Health Checks which provide up to three days of expert support from a specialist IT advisor and a digital action plan to help get your business on track. HIE offers funding of up to £15,000 through its Innovate Your Business programme. And the Digital Tourism Scotland programme is being delivered with the help of local tourism groups across the region. They are currently identifying what help tourism businesses need to make the most of online opportunities in order to develop a training programme. A series of free webinars starts at the end of April.

Businesses keen to access digital support can find out more on the HIE website - check out events to see what is happening near you.

For those who missed the Discover Digital 2016 conference edited highlights will be available on the HIE YouTube channel, on www.hellodigital.scot and through social media soon.


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