Inverness has been selected to house a £20m cloud computing datacentre, partly because it is cold.
The project has been hatched by Scottish IT services firm Alchemy Plus, with backing from Microsoft, which recently launched its global cloud computing strategy.
Cloud computing sees applications and services hosted and delivered via the web, instead of storing them on individual user PCs.
The cold climate in Inverness will make it cheaper to cool the thousands of servers and other equipment in the planned datacentre.
The heat which is generated by the Inverness centre will be used to warm nearby buildings.
Alchemy Plus plans to table a planning application early next year, with the datacentre expected to open by the end of 2010. About 400 jobs could be created as a result.
Another datacentre which is being planned for the Highlands will use tidal power to help run it.
Tidal power specialist Atlantis Resources Corporation said in October that it was planning a new datacentre near Castle of Mey in Caithness.