SCOTTISH E-COMMERCE EXPERTS STRIKE DEAL WITH ONLINE RETAIL GIANT EBAY

Optiseller logo
 
eBay has signed an agreement with leading e-commerce software developer Optiseller, which is head-quartered in Stirling, to offer a free on-line tool to identify missing item specifics to sellers throughout the world. 
 
From 15 October eBay is requiring additional item specifics to be added in four product categories; home, furniture and DIY, clothing, shoes and accessories, jewellery and watches, toys and games.  To do this manually can be very time consuming for retailers, so to combat this eBay is offering the Optiseller tool free of charge to help sellers comply with the new rules.
 
Optiseller's Aspect Finder tool will automatically scan a user’s entire inventory, highlight the missing specifics and provide a report on what additional information is required to comply.  Users can use this report to update their listings directly on eBay or in bulk through their listing tool.
 
Since being introduced in November 2018 the Aspect Finder tool has now processed over 67 million listings across the globe; assisting around 5,000 sellers from 26 countries.
 
Craig McCallum, CEO, Optiseller said: “We are delighted that eBay has agreed to offer our Aspect Finder tool free of charge to all sellers.  The tool will not only enable sellers to easily comply with eBay’s new rules, but also optimised item specifics is proven to increase traffic and generate more leads and sales.”
 
He adds: “The Aspect Finder tool automates the whole sale process for users by conducting an audit of listings; identifying where the gaps are and helping to correct them.  It is a win-win for everyone; retailers should see an uplift in sales as well as knowing they are complying with eBay’s listing rules
 
To access the free tool please visit:
 
https://www.optiseller.com/landing-ebay-aspect-finder.htm
 
 

EDINBURGH TECH FIRM WINS £500,000 CONTRACT TO BUILD THE UK’S FIRST DIGITAL WASTE TRACKING SYSTEM

Award-winning data analytics business Topolytics, based in Edinburgh, has won a £500,000 contract to build the UK’s first digital waste tracking system.  The system will monitor and analyse all waste transactions across the UK every year.  The system will enable DEFRA and the environmental regulators in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to generate an up to date view of patterns of waste movements, enable better oversight, drive improvements in the waste system and support efforts to counter waste crime. 

 

Topolytics

 

 

The contract is administered by the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) under the UK GovTech Catalyst programme.   It builds on a Phase 1 feasibility study undertaken by Topolytics in early 2019 in which the company collaborated with the Ordnance Survey to define how the waste tracking system could work.

Commenting on the project, Dr. Michael Groves, Topolytics Founder and CEO said: “This is a truly ground-breaking project and one that we are proud to be working on.  It will transform waste regulation and the industry in the UK and has significant international potential.  It further validates our use of machine learning, mapping, sensor systems and cutting-edge software to enable the waste industry to maximise the utility of materials and enable the circular economy. “

In this Phase 2 project, Topolytics will work again with the Ordnance Survey and new partners Google Cloud and SAP, to build a working version of a data driven tracking system, based around the company’s WasteMap analytics platform.  The system will track all inert and hazardous waste from households, local authorities, businesses and the construction sector.  It will ingest, normalise and analyse data from many sources, including invoicing records, weighbridge and bin weighing systems, vehicle telematics, ‘internet of bins’ sensors and smart labelling systems. 

A key collaborator will be PragmatIC, a world leader in ultra-low cost flexible electronics, who also participated in Phase 1.  PragmatIC will be deploying Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) labels, based on its unique flexible integrated circuits, to track the movement of waste via item-level digital identities.  PragmatIC will be deploying its labels to track the movement of used tyres, a significant waste stream and focus of waste crime.

In May 2019, Topolytics’ approach was further validated by winning the Google Cloud and SAP Circular Economy 2030 contest.  Chosen from more than 250 applicants worldwide, Topolytics impressed both companies and a stellar judging panel with the scale if its ambition to take big data into the global waste industry.  Topolytics has since been working with both companies and will be combining their AI and machine learning technologies in WasteMap.

WasteMap is used by a growing number of corporate waste producers and recyclers in Europe, USA and Asia to support better commercial and environmental outcomes for waste materials and assets.

The waste tracking project forms part of the landmark Environment Bill, which embodies the Government’s ambition to move towards a circular waste economy. The suite of measures also include: extended producer responsibility; new charges for other single-use plastic items; and clear product labelling to help consumers make purchasing decisions that support the market for more sustainable products.

 

 

.

£75K grants round to combat digital skills gap

Digital Xtra Fund has launched the latest £75k funding round in support of extracurricular activities that boost interest in computing and technology among young people across Scotland.

DXF 1

Ellie Banyard & Kory Javier enjoying programming a robot at a robotics club in Edinburgh. 

This comes on the heels of alarming figures from SQA showing a massive drop in Computing Science Higher entries in Scotland in 2019. The Fund is urging educators and industry to come together to combat the digital skills gap which is threatening to undermine the Scottish tech sector.

Recent SQA figures showed a 21% drop in Computing Science Higher entries in Scotland as well as a 2% drop in Nat 5 entries. This alarming decline is by far the largest drop across any subject and continues a worrying trend that has been ongoing for some time.

These figures also have a direct effect on Scotland’s job market with around 12,800 digital tech job opportunities annually – a 16% increase on the previous forecasts – but only around 5,000-6,000 people entering the market each year with relevant tech skills.

Kraig Brown, Partnership and Development manager at the Digital Xtra Fund, explains: “We will be awarding £75,000 to tech-related activities for young people and it could not come at a more important time. We cannot ignore the latest figures regarding participation in Computing Science or what this means for the future of tech in Scotland.

We are at a crossroads; we need to decide now if Scotland will be a leader or a follower in this digital world – and it all starts with young people. Scotland is prime placed to be a digital leader with an abundance of universities and colleges and a burgeoning tech scene, but inspiring young people to be the digital leaders of tomorrow is essential to maintain this momentum. Without more skilled and creative talent, Scotland will inevitably fall behind. However, a lack of understanding about what are careers in tech, coupled with negative stereotypes and strong gender imbalances, are creating serious challenges to engaging and inspiring more young people to take up computing.

Our grants programme is a fantastic way for organisations or schools to be able to explore new ideas, build on previous successes and facilitate increased collaboration. We need to bring together educators, industry and organisations who focus on teaching young people digital skills to attract and excite more children in technology.

Brown adds: “Our goal is for all young people to have access to digital activities which teach valuable skills as well as provide ‘real-world’ context so participants understand why these skills are so important and the amazing opportunities they can provide.”

Sam Pattman, Sponsorship Manager at Baillie Gifford who support the Digital Xtra Fund grant awards, says: “Digital skills are a serious challenge across Scotland, which is illustrated by the number of tech jobs that companies struggle to fill due to the skills shortage. The solution lies in educating our young people and collectively we need to work together to inspire more children to become interested in computing science and technology. This is why initiatives like the Digital Xtra Fund are so important - it’s about working together and supporting exciting digital initiatives to give more children the opportunity to understand what a future in tech may be. We are delighted to be increasing our support for the Fund.”

Digital Xtra Fund has today (02 September 2019) opened applications for initiatives supported in 2020. A total of £75,000 will be awarded to digital skills initiatives across Scotland with grants available up to £5,000. Grant applications can be downloaded on the Fund’s website and applications will close 31st October 2019. To date, the Fund has helped engage nearly 30,000 young people across Scotland by awarding a total of £550,000. Last year’s funding supported 22 initiatives, covering topics from robotics and coding, to app development and the Internet of Things (IoT). To access the fund and for further information please visit https://www.digitalxtrafund.scot.

Digital Xtra Fund brings together businesses, organisations, and individuals with a common goal to help young people succeed in a digital world through an annual grant awards programme. Key Partners include Baillie Gifford, Skills Development Scotland and Skyscanner as well as Accenture, BT Scotland, Cirrus Logic, Incremental Group, Micro:bit Educational Foundation, ScotlandIS, Sky UK and The Scottish Government.

 

Retailers forced to get smart in fight against crime - attacks costing the sector over £900 million

Shocking new figures show that attacks on retail workers in the UK are on the rise, with over 42,000 violent incidents recorded in the last year. These attacks are costing retailers a staggering £900 million.

 

VB-400-img-02 2

 

The British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey states that the biggest concern for retailers, and their threatened employees, is the increased willingness for career criminals to use violence and brandish weapons when confronted over theft. On top of this, the now common requirement for retail staff to age-check and refuse sales, triggers more violence and threats.

 

 

In a bid to combat this problem many large retailers are looking at new ways to help staff feel more valued and secure. Asda recently announced that it is utilising Body Worn Cameras to enhance in-store security, and more large retailers are set to follow suit in the very near future. 

 

 

Body Worn Cameras (BWCs) have been proven to help improve the safety of those in public facing roles, whilst producing compelling legal evidence when needed. BWC’s can provide two-fold protection to staff – firstly, members of the public naturally change and moderate their behaviour for the better when they realise they are being recorded, or might be recorded – but importantly those cameras can then be used, when needed, to record evidential quality footage to secure convictions, or to uphold the account of staff in the event of a complaint or incident.

 

 

Asda became one of the first major retailers in the UK to use BWCs after a successful trial, which began in 2016. There are now over 900 Edesix VideoBadges being utilised in over 250 Asda sites nationwide, with more growth expected in the near future. As a result of this partnering strategy, which relied on both the innovative nature of Edesix’s technology and communication between all parties, Asda has been able to improve colleague security, diffuse aggressive and volatile situations and reduce valued investigation time, thus reducing costs. Since the deployment, Asda has proven the viability of these cameras by securing numerous convictions relating to theft and violence against staff.

 

 

Richie McBride, Managing Director of Edesix, explains: “The increased threat of violence on a daily basis is forcing all retailers to re-think security policies, as quite literally lives are at risk if retail staff are not given more protection. One of the most effective ways to actively deter violent and aggressive behaviour, and protect customer-facing staff, is to equip staff with VideoBadges. BWCs are proven to improve the safety of colleagues in public facing roles and shoppers within the stores, whilst producing compelling evidence when needed.

 

 

“VideoBadges act as a confrontation preventer, as it is proven that members of the public are far less aggressive to staff members if they know they are being filmed. The cameras also greatly speed up the handling of incidents, insurance matters and complaints. On top of all this, the cameras are utilised to highlight training requirements, evaluate protocols and improve best work practices.”

 

 

For further information about Edesix please visit www.edesix.com.

.

Scottish Franchise Week 2019

Save the date for Scottish Franchise Week 2019, taking place on 11th and 12th September.

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the bfa states: "Scottish Franchise Week is bringing you a host of networking and educational events across two days in Glasgow, along With Franchise Opportunities to showcase what the industry has to offer to prospective franchisees."  

Wednesday 11th September

Scottish Forum
Harper Macleod LLP, The Ca’d’oro, 45 Gordon St, Glasgow G1 3PE

The Scottish Forum gives you the chance to discuss the latest topics in Scottish franchising. The only place to mix with like-minded franchising professionals to exchange ideas, share experiences and discuss the hot topics relevant to your business. 

Social Evening 

The Supper Club, 29 Private Members' Club, 29 Royal Exchange Square, Glasgow, G1 3AJ. 


Always a highlight of the Scottish Franchise Week, this year’s social evening is taking on a new dynamic featuring the big fat franchise quiz of the year.

Thursday 12th September

Radisson Blu, 301 Argyle Street, Glasgow, G2 8DL.

Business Breakfast
Attracting a wide audience from the Scottish and national community, the business breakfast gives you the opportunity to join industry colleagues for the highlight of the week. After the Business Breakfast, there is an ask the experts session being run with industry stalwarts, including sponsors.

Franchise Opportunities 
Unlock the potential of franchising at Franchise Opportunities Scotland. Taking place at the Radisson Blu after the Business Breakfast, this event will offer aspiring franchisees and prospective franchisors the chance to meet a range of brands, take advantage of expert-led presentations and benefit from one-on-one advice.

For more info visit: https://www.thebfa.org/events/scottish-franchise-week-2019/