Glasgow Boosted by £769 Million of Commonwealth Games Construction Contracts
More than £769 million has been invested in construction contracts to get Glasgow in shape for this year’s summer of sport, with more projects still in the pipeline.
New data from construction intelligence specialists, Barbour ABI, reveals the value of construction contracts that have been completed to upgrade the city’s sports facilities, with £300 million accounted for by the 35-hectare Athletes’ Village.
A combined £217 million has also been spent on the Emirates Arena (incorporating the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome) and purpose-built SSE Hydro national arena at Pacific Quay.
The data also shows that £120 million was used to regenerate existing sports facilities in Glasgow and further afield, such as a £30 million refurbishment of the Grade A Listed Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh and an extension to the National Swimming Centre at Tollcross Leisure Centre worth £15 million.
Looking ahead, more than £50 million of post-summer regeneration work is already in the pipeline – a huge boost to construction contractors north of the English border while also helping to market the country beyond the games.
Michael Dall, lead economist at Barbour ABI, commented: “There is no underestimating how much work is required to get a city ready for a global sporting event, so it’s not surprising to see the huge sums of money being spent on construction contracts in and around Glasgow, both new build and regeneration, over the past year.
“With the Scottish economy now growing past its pre-recession levels, and our latest Economic & Construction Market Review showing that the country dominated medical and health, industrial and education construction contracts in the UK last month, the future is certainly looking bright for contractors over the coming months.”
SAS: Improving the British Army’s decision making with data
SAS’ long-standing relationship with the British Army is built on mutual respect and grounded by a reciprocal understanding of each others’ capabilities, strengths, and weaknesses. Roderick Crawford, VP and Country GM for SAS UKI, states that the company’s thorough grasp of the defence sector makes it an ideal partner for the Army as it undergoes its own digital transformation.
“Major General Jon Cole told us that he wanted to enable better, faster decision-making in order to improve operational efficiency,” he explains. Therefore, SAS’ task was to help the British Army realise the “significant potential” of data through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to automate tasks and conduct complex analysis.
In 2020, the Army invested in the SAS ‘Viya platform’ as an overture to embarking on its new digital roadmap. The goal was to deliver a new way of working that enabled agility, flexibility, faster deployment, and reduced risk and cost: “SAS put a commercial framework in place to free the Army of limits in terms of their access to our tech capabilities.”
Doing so was important not just in terms of facilitating faster innovation but also, in Crawford’s words, to “connect the unconnected.” This means structuring data in a simultaneously secure and accessible manner for all skill levels, from analysts to data engineers and military commanders. The result is that analytics and decision-making that drives innovation and increases collaboration.
Crawford also highlights the importance of the SAS platform’s open nature, “General Cole was very clear that the Army wanted a way to work with other data and analytics tools such as Python. We allow them to do that, but with improved governance and faster delivery capabilities.”
SAS realises that collaboration is at the heart of a strong partnership and has been closely developing a long-term roadmap with the Army. “Although we're separate organisations, we come together to work effectively as one,” says Crawford. “Companies usually find it very easy to partner with SAS because we're a very open, honest, and people-based business by nature.”
With digital technology itself changing with great regularity, it’s safe to imagine that SAS’ own relationship with the Army will become even closer and more diverse. As SAS assists it in enhancing its operational readiness and providing its commanders with a secure view of key data points, Crawford is certain that the company will have a continually valuable role to play.
“As warfare moves into what we might call ‘the grey-zone’, the need to understand, decide, and act on complex information streams and diverse sources has never been more important. AI, computer vision and natural language processing are technologies that we hope to exploit over the next three to five years in conjunction with the Army.”
Fundamentally, data analytics is a tool for gaining valuable insights and expediting the delivery of outcomes. The goal of the two parties’ partnership, concludes Crawford, will be to reach the point where both access to data and decision-making can be performed qualitatively and in real-time.
“SAS is absolutely delighted to have this relationship with the British Army, and across the MOD. It’s a great privilege to be part of the armed forces covenant.”