Right down from the spelling of the name, through to the suited delegates, Techxlr8 (part of London tech week) felt like it was a little too IT orientated in the old school sense of the word. This was certainly how it appeared at first, though the mixed themes certainly promised something of the new. In no particular order, these were:
- Internet of Things
- 5G World Summit
- Cloud and Dev/Ops
- Digital CX World
Perhaps I was a little cynical at first because I found the actual user experience around signing up for the event a little muddled. There was perhaps too much on offer, not a surprise considering that the expo is set across a vast site over three days. Talks and exhibits ranged from the launch of 5G (woo), all the way down to regular dev operations and recruitment.
At TheTin, having engaged with VR experiences in the past, this, as well as the Internet of Things were hot topics for us, you can read more about one of our VR projects, Band Explorer. We wanted to explore the future uses of AR/VR and saw some very impressive stands from the likes of Intel, BMW and various smart home companies. There’s the obvious case for automotive industries, as well as airlines trying to emulate a driving or flying experience. We can feel and experience what it’s like to customise our transport experience. For the property based companies, there’s also case for showcasing what a space will look like before it’s finally built.
Intel, however had created a four player game simulation where users had to compete to configure a server site from scratch. It felt almost post apocalyptic, and this, in a sense, is showing us that AR/VR will go a long way in assisting with disaster recovery. This idea was further explored in the medical arena with companies showcasing how they’d respond to disaster situations with limited ground staff. One man with a prosthetic arm was showcasing the blend of bionic tech in a VR environment, seeing the movement of his arm reflected in a virtual space. The implications of VR usage weren’t therefore all gloomy.
The day was led by an opening panel discussion around a smarter London, chaired by Stephen Lorimer, Smart London Strategy Officer.
We learnt what steps different agencies are taking towards becoming tech savvy city. The panel consisted of:
- Juliet Bauer, Chief Digital Officer, NHS England
- Paul Copping, Chief Innovation Officer, Digital Greenwich
- Colin Rhys, VP, Middle East & Asia, Virgin Hyperloop One
The focus of their discussion was around each company or department opening up its smartcentres and working collaboratively. London has quite easily, from its geography become a city of Local Authorities, on a macro scale, this is represented through counties, constituencies, boroughs, cities etc. With so much categorisation, who controls the rules of infrastructure? Furthermore, who controls what a good health record should look like? The discussion moved on to talk about how data flows need to be well organised and structured with a purpose and intention in mind. Data musn’t be choked, it must flow effortlessly so it can be recognised in its truest and most organic form.
Most excitingly, however was Colin’s discussion around Hyperloop, representing development in the private sector. His chief point was that this isn’t future technology, it’s happening now, as we speak. The possibility that we may go from London to Manchester in a matter of 20 minutes is exciting stuff. It meant that we will reshape the way we engage with the services around us. Rather than us going to the service, the service is likely to come to us. Megacities, and immigration patterns are likely to see a big flux when this technology comes to fruition.
Hyperloop concept development
The close of the panel discussion had Colin say something which resonated quite strongly with the audience. The subject of HS2 was raised and he said that the UK is spending vast amounts of money on an infrastructure that is already old. Why not put it into something new? “Britain was the first country to have its industrial revolution and now it’s about to put funding into a 200 year old infrastructure”. We needn’t follow the lines that are already there. This is a comment often mentioned to artists; draw the new line, before you rub the old one out, otherwise you run the risk of repeating yourself. Therefore why use something old, when you can use a technology like Hyperloop? I suppose it’s easier to say something like this than realise it, particularly when the need is now, but the idea in principle can be take further to how we view technology nationally and eventually globally.
“My ambition now is to harness the new technologies that are being pioneered right here to transform London into the world’s leading smart city.” - Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
XLR8 was introduced by a video message from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan who shared his passion and message to create clean tech solutions and making London a smart city, and encouraging London’s tech business to thrive. At TheTin we understand the importance of these developments within not only London but also Newcastle where we have our second office, another developing tech hub, and soon to be the city with the first smart street in the UK.
We saw a lot of great examples at XLR8 on how new technologies can provide solutions to our society and also individual businesses. To learn more about how we have applied technology to solve problems for our clients please take a lot at some of our key Building Brands Through Technology projects.
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