The Digital Revolution is Happening

At the Accelerating Growth Through Digital breakfast at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Edinburgh, Google’s UK director of retail sales, James Cashmore, stated that: “Change has never happened this fast before and will never be this slow again.”

The availability of digital technology means that more information can be sourced than ever before. The speed of technological development is connecting more of the world to the Internet every day.

Eight in 10 homes in Scotland now have internet access. Access increased by five percentage points year on year to come into line with the UK average (81%).

The use of mobiles to access the internet increased by 12 percentage points - the biggest increase of the UK nations bringing Scotland to 56% (UK at 57%).

Scottish business should prepare to capitalise, or otherwise fall behind in what is predicted to be a new age of rapid advancement in technology.

In other sectors, there has been a rapid increase. E-commerce has seen double-digit growth year on year and now tops £1.01 trillion.

Cashmore’s point that 77 per cent of a 1,000-strong sample said they regularly research a product prior to making a purchase and 62 per cent of those went online to do so.

HR and recruitment companies therefore will need to ensure that their online presence is transparent and easily accessible to their clients or future clients.

Cashmore has urged Scotland’s technology sector to aim high in order to optimise the expected explosion in technological development in business.

He said: “Everything is connected to everything – data, knowledge and insight now are absolutely critical to business.

“Globally, around two billion people are online in any given moment, meaning for a global population of 7.5 to eight billion, roughly one in every three people are online.

“And we expect within the next five to 10 years we will see all of those other people come online, probably using mobile devices.

“And with the speed of people coming online, we are going to see huge changes along with it.”

The guest panel for Insider's digital event included serial entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl, chairman of 4J Studios, which this week picked up a BAFTA for the game console version of Minecraft.

He said: “The pace of change in technology is like nothing we have ever seen before, and we need to embrace this, but for human beings it's a tough challenge to keep up.

“We are seeing disruptive technologies like Uber, which is changing the way consumers look at the taxi industry as a service, and those who accept and adopt will win over stagnation every time.

“But businesses who will become extinct in the new landscape will be those who think they can defer from the pace of technological advance, and there are dinosaur web businesses out there who are failing to grasp the development of mobile connectivity.

“Quite simply, if your business does not put technology at the centre of its strategy you will not have a business because there will be young businesses who have adapted who will move in and take over market share.

“Scotland's economic future depends on it embracing these advances in technology and encouraging and developing its talent.

“We are in the best and most developed e-commerce market in the world – that is the opportunity and we have to go for it quickly; next year is too late and next week is probably about right.

“So enjoy the future, because it's here already and it's only going to get faster.”


Mary Philip


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