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Speed is of the essence JUST in case you had missed it, the world, the ways in which we communicate and do business are changing – ultrafast. From how we send and receive information to the ways in which we service our customers is already unrecognisable from 10 years ago and the pace of change will only continue to increase. In a recent survey, 86% of Chamber members said digital is either very important or critical to their business. We are hoping by now that the message might have started to reach the other 14%!

UK download speed, over £40m is being invested in providing the infrastructure to allow nearly every home and business in the city access to replicate this; and companies in the North-east can now benefit from government grants of up to £3,000 to get gigabit broadband installed as part of a £2m trial taking place in four areas around the UK. However, across the region, this remains patchy.

The lives of our clients, peers, bosses, teams and future business leaders are dominated by digital and social media. They will only respond to highly targeted and bespoke messaging addressed in their tone of voice.

The Scottish Affairs Select Committee met recently in Aberdeen, taking evidence on the impact that slow speeds and poor mobile coverage have on rural communities and Scottish businesses. Reports following the session concluded that poor connectivity was making it more difficult to attract people to live and work in the region and that 4G signal coverage is much poorer here than in other parts of the UK.

Generic broadcasts and speaking for the sake of saying something will get lost in the ‘noise’ but at the same time, they are looking for trusted sources to cut through information overload and provide filtered, actionable intelligence.

We need to ensure that this (whether it is a reality or just a perception) does not limit our ability to attract the next Skyscanner to locate and grow in this region and to provide all our businesses with a competitive advantage.

The power of digital cannot be denied yet, as highlighted in the Mental Health Aberdeen piece in this Bulletin, we still have a need for in-person connection and this remains at the core of what the Chamber seeks to enable.

Of course it’s not all about speed. It’s about having the knowledge to harness it to improve our businesses and the experience of our customers. Therefore, the need to upskill businesses across all sectors but with a specific focus on the visitor economy, has to be of equal priority.

Technology sits at the heart of the sector diversification strategy being led by Opportunity North East. The aim is to create the right environment and ecosystem to encourage new digital companies, support growth of the existing company base and to look at how digital transformation can assist our ambitions in tourism, life sciences, food, drink and agriculture as well as energy. Good progress is being made in providing high speed connectivity. Countesswells was the first community in Scotland to have access to 1Gbps up to 35 times faster than the average


All of this is why the Chamber has at the top of its list of policy plans the objective of working with partners to have North-east Scotland designated as a pilot area for the roll out of full 5G coverage. Watch this space…

Russell Borthwick chief executive


Profile for AGCC

April 2018 Business Bulletin  

In the the April issue we focus on Digital. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazine, covering th...

April 2018 Business Bulletin  

In the the April issue we focus on Digital. The Business Bulletin is Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce's monthly magazine, covering th...