Long read: Another year of London Tech Week concludes. techUK reflects on a successful week which drew attention to the important issues facing the sector and wider society.
It is safe to say that London Tech Week 2020 has once again been a resounding success. The festival brought incredible speakers together from many different sectors, organisations and backgrounds to discuss the major issues, opportunities and challenges facing technology in the UK today.
The move to a fully virtual event was a feat of its own and techUK alone put on over 40 organised or partnered events this year with total attendance of over 1,700. This figure does not count the attendance at the many other events at which the team participated in, including keynotes and panels, making it a very busy and productive week. Overall 24,000 people attended events across the virtual capital over the two weeks, meaning roughly 7% attended techUK owned or partnered events. You can see from our insight here the full list of events we were involved in.
It was also a big week for announcements. techUK launched three reports and there was some important news from the Government during the course of the week, all of which will be covered in this round-up. If you haven’t already, make sure you read the highlights from the first week here.
Green tech / clean tech: Tech tackling our greatest challenge
There was a real focus for the team this week on looking at the contribution technology can make towards tackling one of, if not the, most important challenges facing us all – climate change and our impact on the environment.
We began the week with the launch of our very important paper - How to make the UK a digital clean tech leader - in partnership with Deloitte, 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. At the event, we heard from Deloitte, Hitachi, Samsung, and of course, techUK.
This was followed by our Decarbonising data event on Wednesday which explored the global footprint of the tech sector (digital device manufacturers; network infrastructure and data centres); the global projected trends in future energy use; efforts to curtail the sector’s carbon footprint with speakers from the IEA, Ericsson and the Carbon Trust; and shone a spotlight on the efforts underway in Amazon, Microsoft and Atos to decarbonise their operations and supply chains. It highlighted the crucial role of renewables in supporting the sector’s decarbonisation and launched a new partnership with RenewablesUK and the Solar Trade Association to spur the transition to net zero.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP speaks on CEO ministerial roundtable looking at smart energy and utilities and techUK’s fourth annual State of the Connected Home Report is launched
Tied to tackling the climate challenge techUK held a CEO ministerial roundtable, organised by our Smart Energy and Utilities Programme, with special guest Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP. The aim of the roundtable was to highlight what is needed to accelerate the digitalisation of the energy system, from a tech community perspective. The participants discussed how technology must play a significant part in meeting the UK’s ambitious 2050 net zero target. As the UK gets ready to host COP 26 and sets out how it plans to meet net zero, it is right that we look at how the tech sector can help meet this challenge. The roundtable was moderated by Rich Hampshire, chair of the Smart Energy and Utilities group, and in attendance we gathered 18 companies representatives of the technology sector, the ENA, Energy UK, and BEAMA, and government officials from Ofgem, DCMS, BEIS and InnovateUK.
Shortly after this techUK launched its fourth annual State of the Connected Home report in an event with GSK. With polling from 1000 UK consumers, the report highlights how market appeal, consumer understanding and ownership has shifted from 2016, as well as the constraints on uptake. At the event the audience heard from Jay Chinnadorai, Chair of the Connected Home Working Group and Trevor Godman, Key Account Director, GfK who spoke about the changes in the results and the recommendations made in the report. You can read the full report here.
#techUKtalks – Talking tech and our post-COVID reovery
Our techUK talks series this year was hugely successful. Throughout the five key events, speakers and attendees discussed the integral role digital technologies will play in realising the UK’s post-COVID recovery plans and help support organisations across the UK build back better. The events covered: emerging technologies for post-COVID recovery, boosting jobs and skills for the future, data privacy, digital ethics and public sector innovation.
Over five events we had over 600 attendees and 17 speakers from across our diverse membership and sector. Added to this our hashtag #techUKtalks made over 175K impressions and 80 people joined the conversation on Twitter.
A big thanks to all our speakers. We will be uploading all the videos so you can catch-up on all the fascinating discussion.
Diversity in healthtech
Elsewhere on the Tuesday, in partnership with volunteer-led healthtech community Tech4CV19, techUK hosted a webinar discussing the topic of diversity and inclusion in healthtech, and ways to be a good ally.
At techUK it is one of our top priorities to ensure that diversity remains top of mind in organisations throughout our sector, as well as in wider society. This event marked a great way to discover how we can improve diversity where tech interacts with healthcare and understand the specific challenges that area faces. Make sure you watch the full discussion here:
techUK CEO discusses this “new era” for tech
Taking place on 8 September, the virtual day-long conference TECH | The New Era provided viewers with over 9 hours of long-form content. techUK has been proud to support the event as one of the partners.
Make sure you watch the below video in which our CEO discussed the respond, adapt, recover approach that tech is taking in this COVID-impacted world.
10 Sept: London Boroughs day: Fostering Innovation in the Local GovTech Ecosystem and Redbridge Council’s digital ambition
On the morning of London Borough tech spotlight day, techUK’s Head of Local Public Services, Georgina Maratheftis, hosted a session with members from techUK’s Local Public Services Committee on how we can overcome the obstacles to driving innovation at the local level and growing successful partnerships between industry and suppliers and councils. We were joined by Andy Theedom, Director at PWC, Natalie Duffield, CEO, IntechnologySmartCities and Helen Gerling, MD at Shaping Cloud. The panel showed how techUK together with our members are working with local authorities on the art of the possible as well as launching the ‘frustrated innovator’ initiative. The panel also spoke about the importance of an ecosystem approach and shared examples of how techUK is supporting SMEs to enter the local government tech market through regular partnering pitch-fests.
Given 10 September was all about putting the spotlight on the London Borough, techUK was pleased to host a session with Redbridge Council on their digital ambition. Georgina spoke to Emeran Saigol, Operation Director for Digital and Customer Experience and Councillor Helen Mary Coomb, Cabinet Member for Transformation and Engagement at Redbridge Council, as well as Andy Theedom at PWC. We heard how Redbridge utilised data insights and data science in the borough’s response to the pandemic and how the digital mindset across the organisation has evolved. Later the discussion turned to the role of suppliers in the council’s digital ambition and strategy.
International Perspectives at LTW20
In addition, LTW is always about showcasing the UK to the world and encouraging global partnerships. This year has been no exception as we held a number of events directly looking at the UK from a global perspective and encouraging international collaboration.
We were delighted to kick off the week with our CEO, Julian David, joining the panel at the DIT’s anchor event “The UK Technology Landscape: Levelling Up in the UK” where we discussed the UK’s innovation scene for investment and ingredients for London’s success.
During the week, together with global colleagues from Singapore, India, Europe and the UK, we also explored the work that is being done across the world to increase the uptake of digital skills and showcased how different countries see skills fitting into their plans for economic recovery post-pandemic.
Our Associate Director for Policy, Vinous Ali, further moderated six panels at the DIT – European Tech Women Awards, which focused on diversity in tech, female leaders, women and sustainability, jobs of the future, and how tech communities can be the inspiration for the future of the next generation.
We also partnered with the Department for International Trade to deliver three specialised events focusing on UK market opportunities for Indian tech (4 Sept), scaling up in the UK from the EECAN region (7 Sept), and AI Opportunities across UK-Latin America (7 Sept).
We were equally excited to bring networking and business-matching opportunities, such as the UK-India B2B Pitching & Networking sessions and techUK-NASSCOM UK-India B2B business development event.
As we came closer to the end of the LTW, we partnered with the Victorian Government for a fantastic networking session at the Victorian Government Magic Show and virtual networking reception. Nearly 100 businesses joined us to witness a virtual magic show and to develop valuable business contacts across the UK-Australia tech landscape.
And much much more.
These are just some of the many highlights from the week. We also saw an extremely interesting couple of days at the Future of Work summit chaired by our President Jacqueline de Rojas. Elsewhere, Jacqueline sat down in a fascinating discussion with Salesforce’s President and CRO Gavin Patterson, on how we should be preparing for the next Black Swan event and how companies must approach risk and response. You can watch all the sessions you missed at the link here: https://ltw.app.swapcard.com/event/london-tech-week-2020/plannings/RXZlbnRWaWV3XzQzOTIz.
Once again, we want to thank everyone who has worked with us, engaged with us and all the techUK staff for such an amazing effort this year.
If you want to get more involved in our activities for next year please do not hesitate to get in touch with Dom Brogas, contact below.
Thanks and see you all next year!