Edinburgh hosts 700 delegates as Scotland’s largest public sector IT conference comes to town

Scotland’s largest public sector IT conference has returned in physical form for the first time in more than two years.

Digital Scotland is set to welcome more than 700 delegates at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) in a showcase of the best of government-focused technology.

The capital conference, held virtually last year and delayed due to the pandemic, will host government officials from Denmark, whose native tech firm Netcompany has played a vital role in developing Scotland’s QR-code based coronavirus passport.

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The firm’s chief executive, André Rogaczewski, will celebrate the best of “Digital Denmark” after the country was recently rated number one in the world for digital connectivity by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

André Rogaczewski, the CEO of Netcompany, will speak about the growing impact of the international ‘govtech’ movement.

Geoff Huggins, the Scottish Government’s recently appointed digital director, is also due to speak at the full-day event. He previously led work on building a national digital platform for the NHS.

Scottish local government’s chief technology officer, Colin Birchenall, and Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab, who is soon to join the University of Strathclyde as chief commercial officer, will also be addressing delegates.

Hamish Miller, director of conference organiser FutureScot, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to be getting back to a live format again.

“Whilst we delivered a great event virtually last year, there is no substitute for meeting people face-to-face to share experiences, strengthening their personal relationships and professional networks.

“The conference this year is a real milestone not only for us but for all events organisers in Scotland, for whom Covid has taken a heavy toll. We have worked strenuously towards putting the event on safely.

“We are especially delighted to be welcoming international guests from Denmark, which is consistently rated as having the best digital public services in the world and demonstrates the power of governments working together on shared IT challenges and opportunities,” he added.

Mark Logan, the former Skyscanner executive who authored the Scottish Technology Ecosystem Review, will also update the audience on how plans to support the tech economy are being rolled out across the country after his recommendations were accepted in full last year by the government.

Those plans include a new £42 million “tech scaler” procurement programme across Scotland, a contract that went live this week and aims to boost the fortunes of start-ups and scale-up companies.

All parts of the digital economy and public sector will be represented at the conference in the ten masterclasses and seven leadership sessions. Delegates will hear from experts on areas such as data and artificial intelligence (AI), cloud and data management, cybersecurity, digital transformation, innovation, connectivity and smart public networks.

More than 30 commercial supporters and sponsors will showcase the emerging technologies that are helping to shake-up public services, including BT and CityFibre, tech consultancy Capita, digital transformation specialists Sopra Steria and CGI, and cloud computing giant Amazon Web Services.

Miller added: “Our industry partners have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to innovate and provide the vital technologies that have helped to support business, the economy and the public sector during the response to the pandemic.”

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