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Outcomes of the Scottish Delegation visit to Singapore

Friday, 25th March 2016
The Data Lab

At the beginning of March, The Data Lab in collaboration with Scottish Development International (SDI) hosted a Scottish delegation to Singapore to attend the Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit, organised by Innovation Enterprise. The Data Lab sponsored conference passes for the event, while SDI complemented the offer with travel and accommodation support grants for delegates.

The Big Data & Analytics Innovation Summit is the largest gathering of top international business executives leading Big Data and Analytics initiatives in Asia Pacific. This year the conference theme was “Making Your Data Actionable”, focusing on helping businesses understand and utilize data-driven strategies and discover what disciplines could change because of the advent of data. Delegates heard from industry leading experts from world-class data driven companies like Facebook, PayPal, Twitter, Alibaba, Deutsche Bank, Experian, and Scotland’s own Skyscanner, among others. They also had the chance to network with over 200 delegates from around the world. The Scottish delegation aimed to increase recognition of opportunities in Scotland and to raise the profile of Scotland’s industry internationally.

Additional meetings and activities were organized around the event, which included a market briefing by the British Chamber of Commerce focused on how to do business and process data in Singapore, and included presentations from local organisations like BT Singapore, The National Super Computer Centre Singapore (NSCC), Data Spark, and government agency IDA. The delegation also had the opportunity to hear from local companies like Newton Circus and to visit the Singapore Skyscanner office; and attend a Singapore-Scottish business matching session hosted by the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation (SIFT).

Plenty of networking opportunities were also made available to delegates, including a dinner with GlobalScots, a networking reception at the conference, a Healthcare Networking Event at British High Commissioner’s Residence, and the Scottish Data Companies Trade Mission Reception hosted by the British High Commission and the British Chamber of Commerce. The reception was attended by 75 delegates and guests and provided an opportunity for delegates to meet the business community in Singapore, along with members of the Chamber in the ICT, Financial Services, and Oil & Gas sectors.

This Learning Journey was targeted at senior leaders at CTO level or equivalent, and included representatives from Mallzee, DOGFI.SH Mobile, Risksmith, Dr Jillian Ney Ltd, Fastdata, Institute of Future Cities, Thinkanalytics and Globalscot.

After a few weeks of being back, we have received excellent feedback from delegates, who found the Learning Journey a very productive and useful experience. Here are some of our delegates’ testimonials:

“The events put on by The Data Lab and SDI were of a high quality and covered a broad range of topics and activities from opening up and expanding in Asia, to where to get your super computing power, to high quality networking opportunities. All of this was wrapped around a great data conference which not only taught us new things. It squashed some of our fears that we’re doing the wrong thing. It’s always reassuring to hear from high flying companies that the struggles they’ve come across and the solutions to these problems are similar to the path we’ve taken when it comes to Big Data.” – Jamie Sutherland, CTO, Mallzee

“Definitely a useful set of meetings in Singapore – and a few definite possibilities emerged for us.  In fact I was on a conference call to Singapore this morning to develop ideas.” – Richard Bellingham, Director, Institute of Future Cities.

“I was thrilled when I was selected to be one of the delegates for The Data Lab and SDI trade mission to Singapore.  Working in digital behavioural intelligence means that I have a strong interest in social media analysis and South Eastern Europe is one of the biggest growth markets for this industry in the next five years.  I not only got to learn more about alternative methods of big data analysis during the conference but I got to meet a wide variety of businesses and grow my network in the Asian market while I was there.  A couple of key points stood out for me:

  • The Singapore market is not as risk adverse as here in the UK, and there is a budget and willingness to explore ‘cutting edge’ and innovative approaches.
  • There are not as many barriers to entry in Singapore as I would have thought, and people really do want to move fast with business.
  • The location of Singapore means that it’s the ideal place to hit the rest of SE Asia which is very attractive.”

– Dr Jillian Ney, Director, Dr Jillian Ney Ltd

“The events the British Chamber helped organise for us this week were extremely useful. The visiting organisations have built some fantastic contacts and networks which I have no doubt will lead to business benefit for them. The briefing on the Singapore landscape was also very useful in helping them understand the business opportunities and benefits of working in Singapore and Asia. The local Scottish Development International team managed to pull together a vibrant set of companies and organisations for us to meet with and the networking reception was particularly useful for everyone.” –Gillian Doherty, CEO, the Data Lab

The Data Lab will continue to support the internationalisation of local companies by opening access to data related opportunities, while looking to showcase Scotland’s capabilities abroad, with the hope of attracting more business to the country.

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