As with every year London Tech Week, this year has not dissapointed when it has come to thought provoking discussion with the leading innovators and thinkers in this country. This year’s festival has obviously been quite different to the ones in previous years though. The global COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many of this year’s events will of course be virtual. However, it is safe to say that it hasn’t made this year’s festival any less engaging.
So, here is a bit of a breakdown from the week so far and we also look ahead at the events our team is involved in this week.
techUK’s CEO takes part in TradeGov’s flagship London Tech Week event!
techUK kicked off the LTW with our CEO, Julian David, joining DIT’s anchor event “The UK Technology Landscape: Levelling Up in the UK” where an excellent panel from techUK, Tech Nation and London & Partners shared their experience and insights on the ingredients of London’s success as the innovation capital of Europe. The panel also explored how techUK and other innovation stakeholders help grow innovation and attract investment and entrepreneurs to the UK, how we can help UK’s innovators and scale-ups accelerate growth in the post-COVID period, and what tech community can do to assist with the economic recovery.
AI Summit London comes to a close!
Monday marked day one of the Virtual AI Summit London. This two-day conference aims to guide businesses on their transformation journey by demonstrating the potential opportunities and challenges associated with AI.
Charles Radclyffe, Former Head of AI at Fidelity International, gave a great presentation where he presented ethics as a distinct activity rather than subject matter describing ethics “like cooking, and not cuisine; like playing, and not sport; like singing, and not music”. He encouraged businesses to focus their attention on developing protocols rather than principles and also criticised the recently-published EU Trustworthy AI self-assessment list for failing to allow companies to assess themselves against their peers.
Will Sprunt, CIO at Deliveroo highlighted in his presentation that “if you want to build AI, don’t talk about AI”. He also spoke of the importance of POC “building dumb stuff that works” and letting sophistication occur according to need.
Finally, as part of a fireside chat between Di Mayze, Global Head of Data & AI and WPP and Kate Rosenshine, Head of Azure Cloud Solution Architecture at Microsoft, Kate discussed some of the key findings from Microsoft’s latest report on the UK AI skills gap. Despite may companies understanding the need to use AI in order to remain competitive, a lack of budget (34%) was cited as the top barrier to reskilling in the UK followed by unclear return on investment (28%).
The fifth annual AI Summit concluded on Thursday for another year, following a whole host of sessions yesterday covering a range of vertical tracks from the AI Manufacturing Summit to AI Tech for Good. This year’s virtual format proved an overwhelming success and we look forward to many of the fascinating conversations around AI carrying on over the coming weeks and months.
UK National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) launched during London Tech Week
Science Minister Amanda Solloway launched the UK's National Quantum Computing Centre (NQCC) today at the Quantum Computing Summit during London Tech Week. The centre is being established with a £93 million investment by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) to bring together academia, business and government to address key challenges to quantum computing, such as its scalability. Working closely with industry and the research community, it is hoped that the centre will provide access to quantum computers as they come on stream, and catalyse the growth of the UK's quantum computing industry, leading to new jobs, skills and knowledge creation. Speaking after the Quantum Summit, Science Minister Amanda Solloway said:
“Our ambition is to be the world's first quantum-ready economy, which could provide UK businesses and industries with billions of pounds worth of opportunities. Therefore, I am delighted that companies across the country will have access to our first commercial quantum computer, to be based in Abingdon.
“This a key part of our plan to build back better using the latest technology, attract the brightest and best talent to the UK and encourage world-leading companies to invest here.”
techUK Talks 1: Emerging technologies for post-COVID recovery”
On THursday we had our first techUK Talks event “Emerging technologies for post-COVID recovery” chaired by techUK’s Sue Daley, alongside guest speakers Julie Dawson, Yoti, Ajay Vij, Infosys, and Roger Dickinson, Cisco.
The session highlighted the accelerated adoption of key emerging technologies that helped businesses transition quickly to remote working during the pandemic, as well as the role emerging technologies can play in building trust by addressing the cybersecurity challenges brought about by this rapid change.
A shift in skills requirements and work culture caused by COVID-19 across different industries and sectors was also discussed, emphasising the retraining and reskilling of the workforce with digital skills as a priority. And as services increasingly move to digital platforms, speakers noted that employing age appropriate design and emerging technology such as Digital ID to ensure a wider level of protection for the vulnerable can increase accessibility and interoperability especially in key services such as education and healthcare.
The panel emphasised the need to keep innovation moving forward as the economy starts to reopen. COVID-19 has created a platform to innovate and experiment with emerging technology that can bring positive social and economic change. However, as we push this innovation forward, it is crucial we listen to the concerns of consumers of the technology and not leave behind different communities by the speed of innovation.
Digtial ID: White Paper launch and panel discussion
Digital identities have re-emerged as a hot topic in the tech world of late, with the publication of techUK’s latest White Paper on digital ID last week, as well as the response of DCMS to the Call for Evidence on digital identities on Tuesday. There was no better time then – and during London Tech Week no less – to bring together stakeholders and industry to discuss the vital role digital identities can play in restarting the economy after the COVID crisis and the steps we must take to establish digital identities in the UK.
Our session on Friday brought together expert panellists Lord Clement-Jones, Liberal Democrat Digital Spokesperson in the House of Lords, Frank Joshi, Managing Director, Mvine and Chuka Umunna, Executive Director, Digital Identity Net who delved into the findings and the recommendations of techUK White Paper: 'Digital Identities: the missing link in a UK Digital Economy'. The discussion was lively and you can catch-up on it via some of our live tweeting here.
A look ahead
techUK report launch: Making the UK a digital clean tech leader
To kick-off the week, techUK is launching a report looking at how the UK can become a leading place to develop and deploy digital tools that can help us reach net-zero. Alongside recommendations and changes we need to see in the marketplace, the report, along with analysis from Deloitte, looks at the economic opportunities and productivity gains from deploying this technology across the UK. The launch will be followed by a panel discussion with leading experts in the field. Make sure you have a read of the report. A download link can be found at the bottom of the page here: https://www.techuk.org/insights/reports/item/18413-techuk-report-making-the-uk-a-digital-clean-tech-leader
Three more techUK Talks sessions!
After the success of the first session last week, we are very much looking forward to the three more installments this week! Our first session on Tuesday will look at boosting jobs and skills for the future. Then on Wednesday we have two sessions – one in the morning looking at how data will drive our post-COVID recovery and the second looking at digital ethics and what we have learnt over the last year. The sessions have proved very popular, so make sure you don’t miss out and sign up at the links above!
techUK’s Connected Home Campaign Report Launch
From Wednesday 2 September to Tuesday 8 September, during London Tech Week, techUK showcased key insights and knowledge on the state of the Connected Home, ahead of the launch of the fourth State of the Connected Home report for 2020 on Wednesday this week. Developed in partnership with market research firm, GfK, the report will look at the current consumer understanding of the connected home market, exploring the appeal and ownership of different categories of devices and makes recommendations to encourage further adoption in the UK. The research covers knowledge and understanding of categories and ownership of connected home products and services and main barriers to adoption. Click here to find out more!
techUK at London Borough Day (anchor event)
techUK has already been putting the spotlight on the local government response to the crisis through our series of webinars and is now delighted to be part of London borough Tech Spotlight day to further champion the great work of local innovators. At the culmination of London Tech Week, the day will shine the spotlight on London Borough’s championing local start up heroes, established tech companies, social enterprise initiatives, innovators and educators in tech.
Join us on Thursday 10 September for our two events where we put the spotlight on the excellent work of local authorities and tech industry in their response to the crisis, and how they are working together to grow the already thriving local govtech ecosystem. Head here for more info: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/18340-techuk-at-ltw-london-borough-tech-spotlight-day
Our team will also be joining many different events across the virtual capital this week. Our president Jacqueline de Rojas will be convening the Future of Work summit – an important event exploring how emerging technologies are impacting our lives and what we must do to ensure that that impact is positive.
To see a full list of our activities, visit our LTW site here: https://www.techuk.org/insights/news/item/18306-techuk-s-london-tech-week-activities