Digital Innovations in the Private Sector

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We kicked off our industry engagement via the Digital Theme in Dec 2013 with an event that looked at Digital Innovations in the public sector. In partnership with the Glasgow Science Festival, we recently (9th June 2014) delivered a follow-up event that explored Digital Innovations in the private sector.

Ann Gow, Director of the College of Arts Humanities Advanced Technology and Information Institute (HATII) provided the welcome for the event and chaired the first session, which featured presentations from private companies that exploited digital innovations in very different ways.

Mark Beever, Director of Innovation, 999 Design Group provide the first insight to how things have changed, in particular looking at how transformative the sector has become: in addition to TV and billboard advertising, social media is now a core component of any campaign.

Craig Johnston, CEO and Founder of Giglets

The disruptive role of new technologies in the education sector was revealed by Craig Johnston. As CEO and Founder of Giglets, he is responsible for reimagining literacy and reading through their Reading Strategies Cloud.

The complex world of Metadata was made easily accessible by David Craik’s presentation of Stem Cloud. Hoping to launch summer of this year, Stem Cloud will be a subscription-based service providing music loops (or Stems) for sampling to producers, musicians and indeed anyone with an interest in creating music. Sample banks are not new. What Stem Cloud brings to the market is a new type of audio search engine coupled with pioneering tagging software.

Shifting from SME’s to multinationals, Heather Malcolm, Digital Archivist from the Diageo Archive gave a fascinating insight into SmartBrand. This system was adopted by the company to ensure marketing asset compliance, mitigate IP breaches and ensure accessibility across the business.

The first session was topped off with Fraser Rowan providing an overview of how external organisations and academics can go about initiating and funding collaborative partnerships.

In the second half of the event, chaired by Marc Alexander,  we saw academics from the College of Arts talking about how Digital Innovations had changed their research.

Matt Barr, HATII

Matt Barr from HATII told us ‘why video games matter’ using some incredible statistics: while the music industry makes $1.5m a month, Grand Theft Auto V (created in Dundee and released last year) made $1m in three days. For researchers, the challenge is to keep up with the changing business models: subscriptions on the Netflix or Spotify model are increasingly popular. In technological terms, Matt says, video games are often “a barometer of what’s yet to come” – worth keeping your eye on.

Ellen Bramwell from the Mapping Metaphor project was next, explaining how digital innovations provided a solution to the project’s biggest problem: with 1,300 years of history, 410 categories of metaphor, and 4 million words, how were they going to display their findings? Using and manipulating this kind of big data is an increasingly common dilemma, but with help from the Digital Humanities Research Officer, Brian Aitken, they found a solution in D3.

The DEDICATE project also harnesses digital innovations, to help architects this time. As Ruggero Lancia explained, the construction sector needs to find new, digital approaches in order to survive. For architects, knowing how to curate digital material is a valuable skill and the College of Arts is helping to provide resources for this.

Digital innovations have helped with translation in two particular ways, as Georgina Collins explained. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools such as TRADOS mean that a professional translator can work faster and more accurately, which is financially beneficial. With Audio-visual translation there are similar benefits: computer software can help the translator navigate the challenges of subtitling by allowing the restrictions (of speed and number of characters, for example) to be pre-set. Learning these skills early can also be hugely beneficial to students.

Rachel Smith – English Language

Marc Alexander told us about three apps made to help teach English grammar to students. They re-used old content that was previously inaccessible due to outdated computer systems, and put them in a format students know and love. Making content last is an important consideration for universities when staff come and go.

Micro-phonics is a commercial pronunciation coach designed for teachers and students of English as a second language, and Glasgow University Laboratory of Phonetics is its academic partner. Thanks to Knowledge Exchange funding (a First Step Award and an Encompass Award), both academics (Rachel Smith) Micro-phonics and students have benefitted from this collaboration.

Post Author: Fraser Rowan

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