Once again I found myself on the banks of the River Blyth. The last time was at the Port of Blyth to talk about Low Power Wide Area Networks and this time it was as part of #CyberFest, the North East’s biggest cyber festival. I always love going to see the amazing ships that dock on the river.
The venue for the forth in the #CyberFest series was the Charles Parsons Technology Centre, part of Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult.
Charles Algernon Parsons was best known for his invention of the compound steam turbine, to create electricity, and aptly his work on dynamos. The Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult is the UK’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy, hence the name of the centre.
You pass by these places with no idea what goes on inside. Where we held the event looked down into the high voltage test centre, instrumental in supporting the energy sector in the region. Indeed Cambois, just over the other side of the river, has its own offshore energy development and test site. Offshore and renewables is big business in Northumberland.
It was with interest then that we listened to Dan, the Catapult’s IT manager talk to us about the issues he faces and the relevance of cyber security to his work. Much of the power generation is in places that are difficult to get to, or indeed where people are not allowed to go and so remote applications and controls are vital.
With remote management comes threat. With threat comes opportunity and this has been the message throughout #CyberFest. How can the North East develop to become a safe place to do business and become a net exporter to cyber expertise?
Holding events at places like the ORE Catapult helps to bring the message home that cyber is so much more than technology. It is a resilience issue and it is an enormous business opportunity.
The #CyberFest wagon rolls onto Sunderland and then Durham.