It seems a long time since Sarah, Ed and I first talked about holding the Dynamo17 conference at Durham University. A lot has happened since then and I have ended up not as involved as I was at the start.
This is the fourth conference that Dynamo has held as part of its drive to grow the tech industry in the region. Two have been held in Newcastle and the other in Sunderland. For Dynamo to represent the region fully then the conference had to move south.
I must admit to being concerned that people may not turn up and that the event would not be as good as previous ones. Durham is a small city, easy to get to yet sandwiched in between the major conurbations of Tyneside and Teesside. You have to be going there to go there, otherwise you just pass through.
I need not have worried, the place was full and the conference was as good, if not better than any other. The speakers were great, the plenary sessions were informative and the breakout sessions were highly engaging. There was too much of interest to choose from. I am going to get a few blogs out of the event.
The theme was Tech Boom North East: Spotlight On The Opportunity and the opening session was a panel discussion about the next big thing for the region. Charlie talked about Dynamo’s activity in Building Information Modeling and Shared Services. Both are clusters that offer the region a way of getting our nose in front of a highly competitive market. Building clusters allows us to provide national and international expertise. They provide gravity that brings in expertise and coalesces talent.
The North East is a global hotspot. For BIM, with governments from all over the world descending upon the region to learn from us, while there are fifty thousand people working in shared services in the region. This is double the number employed in the automotive supply chain yet we hear so little about it. Shared services are not at the glamour end of the industry yet offer huge opportunity for growth by delivering productivity and efficiency gains.
I went to the breakout sessions on both these topics to see if I could be of help.
So what is the next big thing for the North East? Who really knows yet the panel felt it would include Industry 4.0, supply chain technology, data, machine learning and artificial intelligence. It may well be something that hasn’t been invented yet. Whatever it will be, it will certainly be exciting.