Inverness and the Highlands to receive £300 million ‘Smart City’ reboot.

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It may be a tad controversial but at least it offers a kindly nudge to all those businesses who intend to ‘sleep through’ the 21st Century. Scotland is seizing the EU’s ‘Smart City’ initiative with both hands and ‘smartening up’ Inverness.

Does this mean we all have to start wearing ties and polishing our shoes until we can see our ugly mugs in them? Does it mean increasing the number of dedicated litter pickers out on the steet around Eastgate? More refuse collection?

No, this kind of smart has a flash technological dimension. We are talking smart phones and digital transactions.

Imagine setting off for Inverness Shopping Park and just showing the bus driver your mobile that displays a pre-loaded and pre-purchased ticket?  It’s certainly one way to avoid the faff of looking for small change. Or turning up at your voting booth and just swiping at the ballot sheet? Or jumping the queue at the VUE because you had pop-corn and diet Pepsi pre-loaded on your phone?

Anyway, it’s just been announced that the Government is about to pump £300 million into making all this a reality for Inverness. And in a nutshell,  they want us all part of this EU Cloud.

As Councillor Gray enthuses,

“A City Deal would be transformational for the Highlands and a significant investment like this gives us confidence that we have a very bright future ahead. The upfront funding to boost the city’s networking capacity and improve access to Inverness Castle will undoubtedly support business growth and will particularly enhance opportunities to build our science and tourism industries.”

Just long as we remember that this has to be approached from the ground up. This means making sure that those who are not privileged enough to have the latest gear are not excluded, that there are alternatives put in place for those who don’t feel comfortable with fad-gadget devices and that the whole enterprise is rigorously future-proof and adaptable.

Afterall, when the next revolution emerges we don’t want to find a further £300 million just to update the system.

Anybody who has lived through Windows XP should be able to tell you that continuing support for certain infrastructures is crucial.

This is one cloud that could burst quite easily.

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