Emerging tech and the supportive landscape for tech businesses were the themes running though this year’s Digital Summit held in the creative jewel in Liverpool’s crown – the Baltic Triangle.
Over 300 digital and creative people from across the City Region came together for the annual flagship event to discuss, debate and innovate in the name of tech; hearing from speakers from the national support landscape to some of the regions very best operating in this sector.
Hosted by the inspirational Amanda Follit, Senior Manager – EPAM and LCR Digital & Creative Board Member, the event was opened by Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram who spoke about the plan for digital connectivity in the city region, the potential for digital approaches to tackle health inequalities and why he recently launched one of the largest set of business support funds seen in the city region for decades.
Delegates were then given an overview on national and international trends of tech investments, the UK’s ability to attract record levels of investment and the how the city region needs to think about tapping into tech ecosystems and look for opportunities to collaborate to build on our great local talent, expertise and innovation from Liz Scott, Entrepreneur Engagement Manager, Tech Nation.
Reflecting on the Metro Mayors speech, Liz said:
“I was completely blown away by hearing Steve speak. I’m so excited to hear this is all happening. What a great story. I love how you are all coalescing around the opportunities for the sector. That’s special. Don’t take that for granted. This is not happening everywhere in the UK.”
The rest of the day featured local digital and creative companies sharing their journey on how they overcame challenges to scale-up followed by a talent session and some future gazing.
The next generation take the stage with Agent Academy
Agent Academy gave the platform to local digital employers to share how they are nurturing the next generation so that our region has a skilled, diverse, home-grown workforce. University of Liverpool students stole the show with their message to businesses to work with education bodies and open up opportunities for young people to stay and work in the city region.
The future gazing panel had a particular emphasis on ethics as more companies embrace the emerging opportunities of artificial intelligence, immersive tech, Internet of Things (IOT), 5G, data sharing and blockchain. Tech development in the creative industries are helping other sectors such as health and manufacturing to improve and we are increasingly looking at tech as an enabler to the solution and not the solution itself.
Paul Corcoran, MD of Agent Marketing and Co-Chair of the Digital and Creative Board closed the event by reflecting on the growth we are seeing in the sector and the progress that has been made in the creative and digital industries.
Immersive tech was also front and center exemplified by IBM, LIVELab and Immersive Liverpool companies showcasing developments in this space.
Phil Charnock, Head of Marketing at Draw & Code explains:
“Liverpool’s enviable immersive technology ecosystem is bursting with potential; something that was highlighted right from the opening remarks and throughout the day at the event. Draw & Code were delighted to be given the opportunity to showcase our work on the Mercedes-Benz Immersive Roadshow. Seven local organisations contributed to the delivery of this ambitious marketing activation for a global brand – this personifies the region’s rich spirit of creative collaboration that the Digital Summit is all about.”
In summary, the event amplified the support offered to the distinctive community of digital-led businesses in the city region as well as showcasing to other communities around the UK and the globe just what the cluster of digital businesses in the city region has to offer.
As Rick Holland from Innovate UK summarized:
“As the city region cluster matures, we can see its distinctiveness coming into sharper focus. The opportunities to improve society through technology are many and varied, but the city region’s underpinning strengths in creativity and data science are cutting through. We are excited to see how the region’s cluster, often working in collaboration with complementary clusters elsewhere across the UK, can drive the economic and societal impacts that benefit all of society.”