Review of London Technology Week

Brid-Aine Parnell

Tuesday 7 July 2015

Where will tech talent come from to fill the skills gap? How can tech startups get to next level? And what traditional industries is technology disrupting? These hot tech topics – and more – were all covered at this year’s London Technology Week.

London Technology Week organisers UBM EMEA are hailing this year’s round of events in the capital as a “huge success”, with thousands of tech professionals attending.

The week-long catchall event gathers everything from small seminars and conferences to big exhibitions like Interop and Black Hat together under one banner to better promote the UK’s tech industry.

This year, Interop, the flagship event, attracted representatives from 59 countries, with more than 150 exhibitors and 200 speakers.

“It is fantastic that Interop London, our new event, has attracted so many visitors and created such an amazing buzz,” said Adrian Newton, group director of aviation and technology at UBM EMEA.

“Interop London has achieved what we wanted and more – which it is to unite the IT community and the broader technology sector that is so strong in the UK right now.”

Day one, 16 June, kicked off at the London Technology Week Arena with a debate on how to encourage more women into STEM careers – a hot button topic in the industry today. Panellists such as Jacqueline de Rojas, area VP and GM at Citrix and Arabel Bailey, managing director of Accenture Digital UK/I Lead led the debate.

The Arena is where London Tech Week ambassadors came to give keynote speeches and tackle some of the biggest current questions in the tech industry, hosting talks and debates such as how to go from a start-up to a fully-fledged business, the digital disruption of the financial industry, the Internet of Things and how to source tech talent.

But it wasn’t just for the speeches that visitors flocked to Interop.

“There’s so many different companies and angles here. For example, it was really cool to see the big Korean exhibition here. I wasn’t expecting that. They have some great ideas on design,” commented Joseph Ball of Warner Bros.

“There’s so much to go to here in the UK these days!”

Korea did indeed send a big delegation to Interop as well as running two opportunities to meet Korean start-ups during the week, once at Interop and again at the Google Campus in London. After getting support from the Korean government’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning, 11 firms were given the chance to pitch their businesses to a room full of venture capitalists, angel investors, seed investors, mentors, tech industry leaders and potential business development partners.

“The event is great timing for Korean start-ups to meet the European community, mingle and learn from each other,” David Oh, managing director of ministry agency Born2Global explained. “There are tons of opportunities to network with critical stakeholders of ‘Tech City’ communities.”

For many visitors to Interop, it was the ability to meet companies ranging from start-ups to the likes of Cisco and Dell that made the event a top choice. 

“I’ve gotten to meet quite a few people that I’ve known for a while in the industry, but have never met in person before,” said Andrea Daly, contracts manager at GE.

What makes London Technology Week so different to other events, however, is that it’s not just one exhibition with one or two halls of speakers; that would be Interop, which – impressive though it might be – only constitutes one part of the whole event.

Other events included a CIO summit in partnership with techUK, a Malaysian Creative Tech Showcase in Piccadilly, networking events on setting up a business in London and enterprise and innovation in science and technology and much, much more.

Just one example was the Barclays Code Playground session in its Notting Hill branch, where children could learn to code by making a personalised e-card for their Dads for Father’s Day.

“London Technology Week brings together experts from around the globe to celebrate innovation and creativity, so we’re delighted that Barclays Code Playground has been included in this year’s event programme,” said Steven Roberts, strategic transformation director at Barclays, ahead of the event.

“The next generation of tech leaders will need to understand coding and know how to apply it in order to start their own online business, create a website or perform a whole range of jobs.”

This year’s London Technology Week was dominated by the challenges and topics that are on everyone’s mind in the tech sector encouraging tech talent from a young age and diverse population to fill the skills gap, startups, tech disruption of traditional industries and up-and-coming fields like the Internet of Things.

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