Tech Talks – connecting business and tech communities
Our Tech Talk programme is for business people who want to know how technology can improve their business and help them to flourish – and for members of our tech community keen to better understand the problems faced by businesses and how technology can help.
Our speakers come from all walks of life. They have included Educators from the Open University and Cranfield University, Entrepreneurs, Business Advisors and Consultants, Marketing Specialists, Engineers and Technologists.
Common amongst them is their position as a leader in their field, a love of innovation and problem solving in business and a keen understanding of the role that technology can play in helping businesses to grow.
Our Latest Tech Talks
November 23: Dr Ruth Massie, Education Lead for MK: U gave a captivating and highly relevant talk on Critical Thinking and why it matters. Ruth, who is an expert in teaching adult learners encouraged us all to release our inner toddler and be actively inquisitive about everything around us. By recognising our own biases and how they shape our thinking, we can critically evaluate the information and data available to us and make more informed decisions. Following the AI Safety Summit at Bletchley Park, the ability to challenge, verify the authenticity of information and recognise how an AI algorithm works never seemed more pertinent. A fascinating evening which got us all thinking.
Internet of Things
October 23: Lawrence Archard, CEO, Factoree gave us a fascinating insight into the world of IoT, from the start of his career developing IoT connected fridges (just don’t ask if IoT connected fridges can be used to order your milk, rather imagine the implications for restauranteurs of losing expensive stock or health care teams if vaccines are spoilt due to fridges failing) to the design implications if we are to develop greener more efficient devices of the future. The breadth and extent of Lawrence’s experience and knowledge was evident to everyone there and no more so than when we realised that we needed to organise another date for part 2 of his talk as we had run out of time on the evening.
Effective Communication in a Digital World
September 23: Darren Doddington, CEO of MKFM gave us a brilliant insight into what it took for MKFM to become the number one source of local information for the city. Joined by Lia Christodoulou, we heard how MKFM developed from its start as a local DAB station in 2013 to becoming an essential source of local information during the Covid lockdown. Darren shared with us some invaluable insights into effective communication; the importance of remaining authentic and being clear in your message. We also heard about an exciting new feature coming soon to MKFM – You’ll have to tune in to MKFM to find out more!
Smart Cities & Robotics
August 23: Ian Pulford, Director of Smart City Consultancy provided us with a fascinating whirl wind update on the amazing initiatives underway in Miton Keynes. Accompanied by one of his latest robots which was being tested at Milton Keynes University Hospital, Ian spoke about a number of exciting projects he is currently involved with from autonomous cars, to the opportunities to use 5G infrastructure for IoT connected transport systems and future use of drones within the city. By the end of the evening, we were left in no doubt that the future of MK is looking very exciting and certainly smart!
Using Tech to find the best way forward – from Drones to Wayfinding
July 23: Fredi Nonyelo, Briteyellow and Edward Anastassacos, HEROTECH8 gave us an insight into the fast moving world of drones and wayfinding apps. We had an illuminating talk from Fredi’s explaining how their latest wayfinding technology is helping people with disabilities navigate buildings and railway stations safely. This was followed by a fascinating presentation from Edward explaining how their drone in a box technology is revolutionising building surveying using drone cameras to create 3-D imagery.
Navigating the Customer Experience
June 23: Nicolas Le Glatin CEO of the OpenSpacer Group, & Patrick Barrington Director of Digital Marketing Agency Makilo provided a stunning account of work to deliver Digital Twins that use people detection technology, AI-powered pedestrian simulation and visualisation to model the flow of people across our rail network and within two London mainline rail stations. See a video of his presentation here. Also a thought-provoking talk about the challenges involved in designing websites that work for your business, and the need to closely manage project expectations when undertaking any form of digital transformation.
Finding the Leaks
May 23: Reece Cook, Senior Data Scientist at data and technology consultancy Aiimi described how the summer of 2022 was a massive wake-up call to our water companies that the amount of leakage in our water supply is no longer acceptable. They have fixed the leaks that are easy to find. But to find the rest they are reaching out to the world renowned Data Science experts at Aiimi. Reece provided a fascinating insight into the way data experts are helping to preserve our fresh water by pinpointing leaks in pipes that are buried deep underground.
April 23: Dr Nikki Williams, Lecturer in Human Aspects of Cyber at Cranfield University, and Thomas Bennett, Security & Content Networking Consultant, SecureNet Communication Solutions provided powerful insights into the challenges involved in keeping information secure and described how cybersecurity practices urgently need to change if we are to maintain robust cybersecurity protection. This is by making security tools more usable, developing new technologies to minimise user inconvenience or by finding ways to better visualise and process security alerts.
Navigating the Digital Economy – the role of the Professional Advisor
March 23: Hélène Stanway, Non-Executive and Coaching Director at EDII, the President of the SENSE Consortium, an Advisory Board member to Intelligent AI and LMA’s Market Engagement Advisor to the Chair of the Data Council, & Paul Clarke, Director FiguringOutData.com.
Business Advisors, whether Consultants or Accountants have a key role to play in helping businesses to take advantage of digital technology. They are experts in spotting opportunities to make better use of technology but also in examining new ideas and possibilities for their likely impact upon the business e.g. the scale of any change management task, the size of the investment in time and money involved, the realistic timing and level of benefits. Both Hélène and Paul drew upon their deep experience of digital transformation in businesses to explain how professional advisors make the case for a business to adopt digital technology – the information they collect, their assessment of the investment required and the costs and benefits involved.
Navigating the Digital Economy – the role of the Entrepreneur
February 23: Tim Butler, MD Store Performance. Chris Bridgman, MD Bridgman & Bridgman.
Entrepreneurs typically keep a keen lookout for opportunities to use digital technology to add value to a business. They are experts at finding ways to improve working practices and turn their insights into tools and applications that free up time, reduce costs, and extend the reach of the business into new markets. Our two speakers are top entrepreneurs, Tim from making restaurants and take-aways more efficient and profitable, and Chris from transforming the environmental performance of buildings through living roofs. Both gave a compelling account of the way in which they examine trends and developments in digital technology for opportunities to transform how their businesses operate – and how they scan the horizon for future trends and developments.
Navigating the Digital Economy – the role of the Educator
January 23: Alan Fletcher, Head of the Knowledge Management Institute the Open University.
Educators such as the Open University are constantly horizon scanning to understand where digital technology is headed. It is essential they do. Through their Management and Apprenticeship programmes, they educate a major proportion of the UK’s workforce, equipping them for the jobs of tomorrow. They also publish reports about the digital skills that will be needed in the future. To figure out the digital direction of travel, and get it right, the OU has to be at the top of its game.
Alan provided a fascinating insight into how the OU identifies the technology trends and developments that are important for businesses. How they also examine trends and developments in digital technology that have will have the potential to transform how their businesses operate well into the future.