With the European market making up 19% of the Global Information Technology industry’s £3.8 trillion value in 2019, keeping up with the latest technological and innovation-related trends is crucial in developing and maintaining a successful business – and that is exactly what the #DigitalReboot Disruptive Digital Conference was all about!
The #DigitalReboot Disruptive Digital Conference funded by Santander Universities, was a free local event held on the 27 February, 2019. The aim of the event was to provide students, graduates and local individuals with expert knowledge in the UK’s fast-growing tech industry. Over 80 attendees were present at the event, creating a space for individuals from different academic and business backgrounds to socialize and create potential relationships with another as well as benefiting from listening to a series of expert speakers from different respective fields.
Before the conference talks commenced, attendees were invited to food and beverages at the catered Templeman Library reception provided by the University to give them an opportunity to network with other attendees.
“Following my networking at the event, I have a meeting set up with the Reader in Computer Science a week today which happened following my conversations before the event started. This would not have been possible if not for the networking part of the event. So, I guess that’s an unexpected benefit of arriving too early.” –Attendee of conference
Professor Phillipe de Wilde, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation, opened up the conference by giving a warm welcome to all the attendees from the University of Kent and addressing the importance of business inspired individuals on expanding their knowledge of the fast pace tech environment. Professor Phillipe highlighted that conferences such as the Disruptive Digital Conference hosted by the university are a direct attempt to engage with individuals regarding the advancements in technology and the opportunities they create to positively impact businesses.
The conference focused on key topics including how to digitalise your future, learning from one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies, understanding how to keep tech trends diverse & inclusive, exploring the expectations of a modern workforce, reflecting on our engagement with tech and embracing the Cyber Challenge by surviving & thriving in a hostile cyber environment.
Dan Maudhub from Wonderful gave a talk on the future of technology and more specifically, how human interaction with technology will advance in the future. Dan spoke of the importance of optimizing artificial intelligence (AI) in the business sector to improve productivity. Dan assured the audience that as technology advances, AI has become more refined and has facilitated people in all industries. His message was clear: the way forward in business is through keeping up to date with future technologies to improve business success.
Gen Ashley, founder of TECH[K]NOW, spoke of the significant push needed for women in the technology industry and the impact which increasing a female workforce can have in revolutionizing the tech industry in the future. Gen talked about the various initiatives she has undertaken to provide tech knowledge to women such as creating workshop sessions and ‘boot camps’ aimed at teaching women about code as well as setting up conferences to give a wider audience of women more knowledge of the tech industry and the latest innovations.
Adam Henderson, founder of Gravitee, manager of Millennial Mindset and occasional TEDx speaker, talked about the essential elements of a modern workforce that business employers should expect and adapt to. Elements including the mobility of employees, the less needed requirement of working from the office and even the importance of inclusivity in the workforce. Adam highlighted the upcoming change in the modern workforce which should be taken into consideration by businesses and should be used to implement new methods to increase productivity.
Andy Settle, a Cyber Security and Threat Intelligence consultant who has worked for various sectors such as the Critical National Infrastructure (CNI) and central government and defence, spoke of the importance of detecting potential cyber security threats for personal and professional use. Andy demonstrated the relative ease that hackers can have with breaching data in the computers of a business and the detrimental effects this may have on a business or personal life. Andy gave some insight into simple and effective techniques individuals could use to prevent a data breach or other cyber attacks.
Jonathan Grubin, founder and CEO of SoPost, recognised by Deloitte as the UK’s 13th fastest growing tech company, explained his story of how he was able to succeed in the tech industry. Jonathan highlighted that success does not necessarily begin with the first intention you have in starting a business and can usually end up serving a whole different purpose. Through his story, Jonathan was able to demonstrate the importance of working hard and being open to new ideas that may benefit you professionally because nothing is ever certain in the business and tech industry.
Attendees of the conference said:
“I really enjoyed the conference and gained a lot of knowledge about what’s happening in the digital area.”
“Fascinating subject. Really provided a great deal of information that requires some serious thinking.”
“As a local business it’s always important for us to forge greater links with the University. To date, we have benefited so much with regards to student placements and business growth support, and now gaining greater understanding of the future of tech through this amazing conference. As a business, following the conference, we have already started to consider how these tech trends can support our continued business growth and look forward to exploring greater way in which the University may be able to further assist.” – Ben Glancy, Director at Convert Energy
After the talks, attendees had the opportunity to ask questions to the speakers themselves during a Q&A panel. At the end of the evening, attendees helped themselves to some souvenirs to take home with them as a ‘thank you’ from the organisers for attending.
Digital Reboot was a series of events, activities and industrial collaborations to engage, nurture, and support the growing demand for digital start-up business support and to enhance the employability skills of those looking to work within the sector. Additionally, Digital Reboot was about helping existing enterprise to innovate, benefiting from the creativity of our student population across a wide range of academic disciplines. To find out more about current opportunities to work with our talented students, visit our student talent page or get in touch with our business and innovation gateway team.
Originally written by Adrian Paris, University of Kent Hub Innovation & Enterprise Assistant.