THE Borders has made “significant progress” in becoming the most technologically advanced rural area in Europe, according to a business leader.
The news comes as Scottish Borders Council (SBC) has announced it has extended its contract with CGI, a Canadian-based IT firm, until 2040.
SBC has been working with the firm since 2016 to digitally connect all Borders communities, with the region now closing in on becoming the UK’s first Smart Rural Region.
Lindsay McGranaghan, CGI’s vice president and unit leader for Scotland, said the company is delighted to be extending its partnership with the council.
Ms McGranaghan said: “With the support of CGI, the Scottish Borders has already made significant progress in becoming the most technologically advanced rural area in the UK and also Europe.
“Together our vision will enhance the council’s relationship with its citizens, bringing cutting edge digital solutions to provide real benefits to citizens and meet the demands of 21st century living.”
SBC and CGI plan to allow Borders residents to digitally report any issues to the council, ranging from a streetlight needing to be fixed to more major issues.
There are also plans to make health and social care services more efficient with a digital system that includes features such as remote patient monitoring to identify those most in need.
‘Smart’ vehicles will be introduced too, allowing the council to find out which bins need to be emptied and which do not.
SBC leader Shona Haslam said: “Scottish Borders Council is delighted to extend CGI’s contract until 2040.
“This extension shows the trust we have in CGI as a valuable strategic partner, sharing our long-term commitment to providing cutting-edge digital solutions to improve our public services, benefitting the council, our community planning partners and our citizens.”