Last week was London tech-week. I guess a bit like London fashion week, only much larger.
There were events all over London – this has grown from a week of borrowed conference rooms and underground gatherings into a large series of happenings. Monday-Wednesday saw the COG-X show near the google campus north of Kings Cross. At this event there were 10 stages giving parallel presentation sessions over the full three days, an Expo, start-up section and various corporate networking events.
Wednesday and Thursday (yes overlapping) saw the TechXLR8 exhibition at the Excel Centre, this was a large expo event with presentation 6 stages running all day.
Alongside these two there was also 5G Europe and Identity Management conferences both of substantial size.
Have a look at the website here https://londontechweek.com/events – there are 18 pages of events with 7 events per page. Tech-XLR8 above is only one of these.
This blog previously covered the launch of the UK’s industrial strategy (at Jodrell Bank) and the lack of coverage of this in the main stream media [Link]. Well, despite there being still no interest from the media. The UK industrial strategy was evident everywhere – with announcements from the various bodies, challenges, and funding opportunities. Have a look at this if you haven’t already : https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/industrial-strategy-the-grand-challenges
And did you know there is an “Office for Artificial Intelligence” ? https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/office-for-artificial-intelligence
I’ll write more about some of the events in due course but here are the highlights:
- There were 1000’s of under 40, very intelligent, eager advocates of tech everywhere. Very diverse in terms of sex, ethnicity, country of origin you name it, very much in contrast to this [Link]
- AI, IoT, ML, CV, AR, VR were the flavours of the moment (and I learnt some really interesting new insights here, more later)
- AI Ethics is a huge deal, and lots of people are thinking about this.
- Energy tracks focused on decarbonisation, distributed grid and combining sensor technology with predictive algorithms to reduce consumption. Oil and Gas didn’t feature once.
- Interesting to see the traditional tech players (with notable exceptions) were looking dated and pushing out platitudes about the new tech and the business impact it should have (but with no concrete examples). Meanwhile there were (really) hundreds of well-funded small companies that had real-world use-cases for niche solutions that had demonstrated value (though most had not had to pass a business-case hurdle to get going).
What struck me most was the vibrancy of the arenas, the buzz of conversation and the high-energy engagement between participants – problem solving and exchanging ideas. It was very refreshing to see. There was also a willingness by all sorts of industries to try new solutions and approaches – knowing that not everything will work but understanding the need to learn and push the envelope forward. The pace of change is amazing.
I was lucky enough to have the chance to try a VR simulation made by Linconshire Fire Brigade to train their officers in fire investigation. On with a VR head-set and into a virtual world. It was very, very realistic.
Oh and everyone was talking about “Digital Disruption”
Next year London Tech-Week should be one for your diary.