Digital and broadband

Highlands and Islands DataFest18

A special week long programme is being held in the Highlands and Islands de-mystifying the ways data can be used to change lives, deliver better services and grow business.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is co-ordinating a local Fringe programme as part of the Scottish DataFest18 festival, organised by The Data Lab.

The region’s programme is one of 30 plus events being held across Scotland from the 19th – 23rd of March. 

DataFest18 is the second data festival hosted by The Data Lab, which is a publicly funded team of data experts bringing industry, academia and the public sector together to exploit latest data research and skills. 

April Conroy of HIE’s digital demonstration centre, #hellodigital, said: “According to the experts, data innovation is ‘disrupting our lives’.  We see evidence of it everywhere; its use has created a boom in self-health monitoring, the relevant ads that appear in our online streams, and in fully integrated online journey planning and ticketing that make booking easier.

“Data is not just about storing your database for business intelligence anymore – but about how you can use available techniques to establish how customers may react and behave.”

But if you don’t run a multi-national business with a team of data scientists at your disposal, how do you benefit from all this capability and where do you start?  

The Highlands and Islands fringe events will feature talks, exhibitions, business challenges and breakfast briefings.  Experts will tackle a range of key topics including artificial intelligence, latest research, software, the impact of data on public service delivery, its significance to the creative industries, and practical examples for business on how data is being used.

Contributors to the week will include The Data Lab, the Scottish Government, the National Records of Scotland, NHS: Information Services Division, The Highland Council, Robert Gordon University, Glasgow Caledonian University, Albyn Housing, Centre for Engineering Education and Development (CeeD), Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and the event will be managed by HIE.

The Data Lab CEO, Gillian Docherty, said: “It’s brilliant to be able to extend the Data Lab to the Highlands and Islands allowing us to promote the benefits of data-driven problem solving further than ever before.”

The full Highlands and Islands programme, and tickets for the various events, will be announced on the #hellodigital website later in January. For further information in the meantime please contact


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