My Column

High Five For The Tech Revolution

  • Date: Monday 6th January 2020
column Picture

I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s tired of talking about it, but it’s impossible to look ahead to what 2020 might bring in business without taking the looming spectre that is Brexit into account.

It’s dominated the news, the discussion, the politics and indeed the very way we go about our business for the last few years and despite a definitive election result only last month, there’s still a long road ahead of before we can put all this uncertainty behind us.

So naturally, there’s a lot of trepidation going into the New Year, but I try and focus on the positives and one area that always seems to be on the up is the rise of new and improved technology. It’s a field that is close to my heart and one I find endlessly exciting.

First off, the impending switch off of 3G and the adoption of 5G has huge ramifications for almost every aspect of our lives. Think I’m being overly-dramatic? Just think back to the changes that the introduction of 4G made. More people than ever work from outside of a traditional office as a result of the flexibility the enhanced connectivity offers, while services like Uber, Netflix and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have exploded in recent years.

In fact, it’s hard to imagine our modern world without these, let’s be honest, relatively recent innovations and they wouldn’t have happened without the capabilities of 4G making its predecessor look like a dinosaur.

Now imagine another quantum leap in possibility and what that might involve? Think about how massively different our lives could be in just a few years again. It’s quite staggering and very exciting. Needless to say, the smarter tech companies and entrepreneurs will already have been thinking about this for some time and be champing at the bit to get their new ideas up and running. They say the early bird catches the worm and while that’s not always entirely true, being able to anticipate where technology is going and how that will impact on culture and consumerism gives you a huge advantage over your competitors.

The whole remote working idea I touched on above is worth further examination too, as it has the potential to be a real game-changer. As markets get ever-more completive, companies will be casting their net further afield for the best staff. The idea that people have to live within commuting distance from an office and spend their days based there is more and more becoming a thing of the past. If you can be in constant contact with just about anyone on the planet and exchange any sizes of files between each other, while even working on projects together in real-time, why would you have to be in the same room? Or even the same country? Make no mistake, within the next decade, the entire approach to working could very well be unrecognisable.

Of course, all this progress comes at a price and there’s two main issues we will need to be wary of. Firstly, humans are social animals and as much as the morning and evening commute might be draining, there’s a lot to be said for the human contact we get every day when we arrive at the office. Those water-cooler chats about last night’s must-watch and discussions over lunch about anything and everything are a big part of what bonds a team and we’ll need to be very aware to bear that in mind as workers become more and more remote.

The other issue is security, as cyber-attacks are becoming more and more prevalent, from data theft to potential foreign interference on our very democracies. Businesses are now becoming quite rightly very aware of how they store and send data, but with hackers and cyber criminals doing their very best to stay one step ahead, it’s going to be more important than ever to have cybersecurity defence systems firing on all cylinders as we march into a new decade.

There’s a lot to be concerned about in 2020, but equally, we are entering a brave new world and the possibilities are endless.

Side

Getting the ball rolling on 2020, I feel that this is going to be a glorious year for Scottish sport.  With both the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and the Euro 2020 championships set to take place this summer, I feel like taking a ‘new year, new me’ approach to the sporting world’s impact on the country.

Sure the Scottish national football squad still have a number of hurdles to leap towards qualifying for the Euro finals, but colour me optimistic for the team and the Tartan Army. I’m also very optimistic about sport’s impact on our economy in 2020 as, regardless of the outcome of the play-off matches in March, the Hampden Roar will continue roaring with Glasgow listed as one of the twelve host cities for the competition.

Listed alongside London, Rome and Amsterdam as venue locations, the city is set to host a minimum of four matches bringing football fans from across the continent to our bustling Scottish metropolis. Sporting events of this calibre are always a major benefit for the country’s economy as seen with the 2014 Commonwealth Games which brought in approximately £740 million and provided thousands of jobs across the board.

Ahead of the Euros, it’s also reassuring to see that this income and these to see the Scottish government sticking their guns on clamping down on ticket touts. This unanimous vote by the Scottish government is hopefully a large step in combating the sale of extortionate tickets.

By making this a fineable offence of up to £5,000, we’re hoping that everyone – Scottish or not – can celebrate the Euro Championships, sport in Scotland and the remarkable impact it can have on tourism and our economy.  Even if the national side don’t qualify.

 

Laugh

2019 may have been a year of doom and gloom for many, however I feel that for 2020, a more positive outlook is required regardless of where you fall on Brexit and IndyRef round two.  Putting a right foot forward in the face of last year’s negativity and talks of division, more overseas tourist are expected to visit our wonderland homeland throughout 2020.

This forecast by VisitBritain claims that this ‘record year’ will show a healthy increase on spending compared to 2019.  With popular sites such as Loch Ness and Edinburgh Castle used to drive tourist traffic abroad, it’s also wonderful to see that UK residents are also using Scotland as a getaway destination. With 5.5m overnight trips between January and August last year, VisitScotland are also excited for the New Year hoping to top the £1.5 billion holiday-makers delivered to the Scottish economy.



Weep

One major issue that needs more focus this year is putting an end to homelessness in Scotland. Various charities, such as Homeless Network Scotland and Social Bite, are doing their damnedest to tackle this issue and raise awareness but more simply needs to be done. With over 36,000 people telling their local authority in Scotland that they were homeless last year, 2020 needs to be a year for change.

Maggie Brunjes, chief executive of Homeless Network Scotland believes that the current system ‘is broken beyond repair’ and calls for long-term solutions helping homeless across Scotland is vital. Even just a walk around Glasgow can highlight just how maddeningly increasing this challenge is and Homeless Network Scotland are hoping to get even more people to get behind any changes which can bring us that step closer towards helping the homeless.

 

Back to column listings

Recent News

News Archive