The extent to which most of us recognize Scotland’s innovative edge generally begins and ends with a big hello to Dolly, the world-known sheep churned out through cloning efforts by the Roslin Institute in Scotland. More affluent history buffs may even recall Sir Alexander Fleming’s discovery of penicillin back in 1928. Our collective blank about Scotland’s forward-thinking innovations is about to change, however, with the country set to invest $8 billion this year in the tourism industry.
Turning its sights to the meetings and incentive industry, Scotland aims to fund state-of-the-art technologies, enhance hotels, venues, group activities, events and incentives.
Here’s a look at some of the most recent technologies the country has pumped out to this end:
Hydraulic Event Space
The new Lennox Suite debuted this past January at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC) with a new floor system that transforms the roughly 17,000 sf space in a fraction of the time required by conventional spaces. At the size of four tennis courts, the space easily shifts between a flat-floored exhibition space, a tiered theatre for 2,000 or a performance arena for 1,400.
Global Research Hub
The Glasgow city centre gained a new Technology and Innovation Centre this past March. Located within the University of Strathclyde, the space offers technologically-advanced conference facilities across three levels, including a tiered lecture theatre for 150, a nearly 5,000-sf auditorium, easily divided into three soundproof areas for 150 attendees, and eight breakout rooms. The center’s design and strong tech angle fosters collaborative research between renewable energy, future cities, health and advanced manufacturing and engineering researchers.
Since opening its doors in 2013, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre’s (SECC) SSE Hydro has seen the likes of some of the world’s top performing artists with rave audio reviews. Part of the reason for its success is its unique ambiance, made up of pneumatic translucent cushions originally developed for the space industry. The cushions allows natural light to illuminate the foyers and the arena to ‘glow’ at night.
Groups looking for a supreme sustainable luxury experience should consider hunkering down in the world-famous Gleneagles Resort, which supplies up to 80 percent of the hotel’s heating and hot water through a woodchip-powered biomass boiler. Chemical-free cleaning combining normal tap water with ozone make for a natural commercial cleaner throughout. The new Gleneagles Arena, which opened this past May accommodating over 2,200, features flexible event space, four indoor tennis courts and 15 uniquely designed existing function rooms. In between meetings, groups can bond over a number of activities—from falconry to off-roading to learning the history and technical skills involved in traditional Scottish crafts.
10 New Galleries for Discovery
The National Museum of Scotland has committed to opening ten new science-, invention- and creativity-centric galleries across Scotland by 2016. The goal is to create greater scientific engagement by showcasing over 3,500 objects, most of them having been hidden away from the public for generations. Display space for these exhibits will increase by over 40 percent. The galleries serve as part of a larger plan to restore the much loved Victorian building to its former grandeur.