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e-City Network e-Government Links

Scotland’s e-city network;
Reaching parts previously untouched by technology

From Ronaldsay to Raploch, the Scottish e-city network is bringing 21st century technology more and more into Scottish communities; influencing everything from planning policy to how customers interact with their Local Council.   Highland Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have joined this ambitious scheme to ensure the Highlands is part of the growing "e world".

Stirling Council, Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, ICT giant Fujitsu and The Lighthouse in Glasgow are the latest partners to sign up to the e-city network, which now covers all six Scottish cities, and puts them in regular contact with some of the biggest names in technological innovation worldwide.

The brainchild of Aberdeen based IT research group BusinessLab, the e-city network is a collaborative project intended to ensure that Scotland makes best use of emerging technology and e-thinking in a competitive world. An international index of best practice also lets Scottish cities benchmark their “e-readiness” to New York, Tokyo, London and other world cities.

Gregor Rae, Chairman of BusinessLab said, “The overall goal is to build Scotland’s capabilities in the e-arena and, through the research, develop programmes and initiatives that will benefit each city and region and establish Scotland as one of the world’s leading digital nations.

“From a global perspective, best practice is something which is constantly evolving and improving so the index provides an aspirational benchmark for all our e-city partners. But it is also a dynamic index which can change and grow. The factors for inclusion will move and evolve in line with creative thinking from across the globe.

Big corporate players like Fujitsu Services and Hewlett Packard have been queuing up to join the e-city network and to participate in Scotland’s future growth and prosperity.

Paul Brennan of Fujitsu says, “Fujitsu is a global IT company and world leader in infrastructure management. We are currently working with The Highland Council and as a result, can bring the latest technological thinking from Japan and the States to bear in even Scotland’s remotest communities.

“In practice, this could mean as simple an outcome as providing better points of contact between customers and council services, better service delivery and reduced costs. The overview however is a seismic shift in how we do business and interact with one another using technology.”

Stirling is Scotland’s newest city and the latest to sign up to the e-city network. David Littlejohn, the Development Solutions Manager at Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley said, “Stirling is an ideal candidate for the e-city network as we want to make sure that we are using the very best of 21st century technology to create 21st century communities and advantages for our people.

“Around £100m is currently earmarked for the regeneration of the Raploch Estate on the outskirts of Stirling. We want to make sure that we get the very best out of those funds by using available technology to best effect across work, play and leisure services”.

John Hendry, who chairs Stirling Council’s Community and Economic Development Committee, added “Stirling’s interest in this initiative concerns ‘e-regeneration’ because of the £100 million urban renewal programme in the Raploch area. We believe we can share and learn from other cities and, as Scotland’s newest city, we are excited about the potential of this research project that will allow us to co-ordinate, co-operate and compete more successfully.”

The e-City Network covers a range of qualitative and quantitative factors. As specific projects, it is also developing:

 - A global case book of qualitative information on successful technology strategies in urban

 - A Scottish case book of qualitative information on successful technology strategies in Scotland's urban

 - A set of indicators of best practice

 - A process for change which describes how successful strategies have been developed and acts as a tool
   for partners to develop their own relevant initiatives

Model City Index
In conjunction with the University of St Andrews, BusinessLab has established a global “model-city” index against which Scotland’s strategic thinkers and planners can measure the competitiveness of their e-activities.

The Virtual e-City index not only provides a platform on which to share ideas, but also delivers an objective measure over a range of factors relevant to both the public and private sectors.

The index will gather information from all over the world and enable Scotland’s six city regions to measure their performance, individually and collectively, in four key areas – e-business, e-government, e-learning and e-community.

The e-City Index will examine Scotland’s performance across a range of areas:

· E-business – number and type of Internet connections; companies with a web site; companies
  transacting over the Internet; value of online transactions; scale of e-business infrastructure.

· E-government – number of public sector employees connected to the Internet; number of tenders
  posted on the Web; services provided over the Internet; number of e-business assists, scale of e-
  business infrastructure.

· E-learning - number of students connected to the Internet; number of online courses; value of courses
  sold to private sector; value of exported courses; number of coursewear developers.

· E-community – number of digital inclusion projects; number of community networks; web access by
  social groups; number of community services provided online; business registered in disadvantaged

All six Scottish cities – Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and now Stirling – are partners in the three year e-city programme which will enable them to co-ordinate, co-operate and compete in the electronic age.