Halo Kilmarnock to be among 'most connected in country' when it opens this autumn

The Halo Kilmarnock development is on track to open its doors this autumn after a digital deal was signed to make it “among the most connected in the country”.

The partnership will see Edinburgh-headquartered Commsworld provide communication systems for the flagship Halo Enterprise and Innovation Centre (HEIC) as well as Halo’s low carbon emission “smart homes”.

The Halo venture is behind the £63 million regeneration of the former Johnnie Walker bottling plant site in the town.

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Commsworld will deliver digital connectivity to the four-storey HEIC building, which marks phase one of Halo Kilmarnock, placing the facility at the “forefront of the digital fourth industrial revolution”.

The Halo Kilmarnock is a major brownfield urban regeneration project on a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker. Picture: Guy HinksThe Halo Kilmarnock is a major brownfield urban regeneration project on a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker. Picture: Guy Hinks
The Halo Kilmarnock is a major brownfield urban regeneration project on a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker. Picture: Guy Hinks

The company will also assist the Halo’s Kickstart scheme by supporting a digital and cyber skills training programme and providing work placements for a 200-strong “digital army” of young people. The training will result in a Halo accredited qualification to support future employment opportunities.

Digital, manufacturing and cyber businesses of all sizes including start-ups, spinouts and scale-ups, will collaborate and develop their own technology with the project’s blue-chip commercial partners and “world-renowned” academic partners.

Marie Macklin, founder and executive chair of Halo, said: “Commsworld is the perfect partner to deliver digital connectivity to the Halo. The company’s world class service will see the Halo as one of the most connected developments in the UK.

“My vision is for the Halo to create a digital army of young people who will gain the skills necessary for successful employment in Tomorrow’s World and I look forward to working closely with Commsworld in supporting our best in class cyber and digital training.”

Bruce Strang, chief operating officer of Commsworld, added: “We are delighted to have been chosen by Marie Macklin and the Halo to help deliver such a critical project.

“Together we aim to achieve massive, transformational change for Kilmarnock, Ayrshire and beyond, through providing super-fast connectivity to HEIC, as well as supplying the high-quality training through Kickstart that can create a new generation of highly-skilled digital workers in an area crying out for skilled employment of this kind.”

The HEIC’s state-of-the-art 49,000-square-foot building will include a 15,500 sq ft floor to drive enterprise and innovation. This floor will be home to enterprising business entrepreneurs with 110 co-working desks and a resident Barclays Bank Eagle Lab.

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Headline sponsor Scottish Power and “gold partner”, legal firm Anderson Strathern, will support business growth on the Halo’s #Rockme co-working and accelerator floor.

In what is being billed as a UK first, the Halo’s Tomorrow’s World Globe is a unique virtual communication facility with weekly international conferencing being streamed into the eenterprise floor.

The project’s 210 low carbon emission smart homes will be built in the second phase of the development.

Last week, it emerged that Commsworld had won the contract to bring ultra-fast connectivity to the capital’s new St James Quarter.

The firm is installing its high-capacity network infrastructure to the £1 billion retail and leisure complex, which offers some 850,000 square feet of retail space.

Founded in 1994, Commsworld has grown rapidly in recent years.

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