Blog: Emerging Tech Event – 14 Jan

On Monday 14 January, Dynamo North East ran an Emerging Tech event in partnership with PROTO, where we invited Gateshead tech companies to share their knowledge of emerging tech across a variety of sectors.

Although the discussions were high level in order to stimulate conversations later during the networking and tour section, there were some great insights given by the experts.

Below is an overview of the speakers, their companies and insights. You can also watch the livestream of the event here

Steve Cammish – ADLINKTechnology

Steve is the VP Software Engineering for IoT Solutions and Technology at ADLINK Technology.

ADLINK is a global leader of Edge Computing with a mission to reduce the complexity of building IoT systems. They provide Edge IoT solutions across industries that can include embedded building blocks, intelligent computing platforms, fully featured edge platforms, connectivity and extraction devices, secure software for data movement, and Edge IoT applications to monitor, manage, and analyze data-streaming assets. They are also a Premier Member of the Intel® IoT Solutions Alliance, a strategic partner to NVIDIA and Google bringing AI to the Edge, and active in several standards organizations.

Steve’s team has seen an increased demand for digital solutions. He explained that they firstly work with companies to connect devices; to be able to create clear and accurate data insights. Once you have that, it’s a case of looking at what to do with that data, and how can it create a value add for the business. That’s when you bring in the analytics and create business models around these to disrupt in your sector.

They’re leading discussions with Google, as they are one of only 5 companies in the world to have their new Edge TPU hardware chip to develop devices that utilize the Edge TPU and Cloud IoT Edge. This means that a company’s sensors become more than just data collectors and can make intelligent decisions. Steve’s team have been trialling this chip themselves in different sectors, i.e production lines and processing cans for dints at rapid speed. The technology can adapted to any sector however.

Dave Black – Pitch Black Productions

Dave recently moved to Newcastle from London with a strong pedigree in the Immersive Technology Sector, having worked for 3 of the most widely recognised leaders in AR (blippar), VR (Rewind) and 3D, Immersive Audio (Mixed Immersion).

He has been a key figure in this scene for the past 8 years and more recently worked on a VR Film with Oscar Winner A.R. Rahman (Composer on Slumdog Millionaire), large scale immersive productions for the Philharmonia Orchestra and Immersive Theatre Company Dotdotdot.

His latest venture, Pitch Black, utilises the latest ‘reality changing’ technologies and an understanding of the human senses to provide audiences with highly immersive, engaging and emotive experiences. He is already working with theatre, music and culture based organisations in the North East and will be looking pass on his knowledge to companies who are looking to utilise and harness the power of immersive tech.

He has seen an increased exploration and use of immersive tech in the arts and culture sectors, and that has been compounded by the Innovate UK funding which was announced last year and the organisations it was awarded to (more information here). Major content creators are stimulating the thought process around how to incorporate this tech into other areas, sectors and experiences. An example of this being that a number of theatres are now working with 360 capture to create more immersive and real experiences for the audiences. Museums are also utilising the tech to further their reach.

Johnson Fernandes – Equiwatt (PROTO Tenant) 

Johnson is the CEO and co-founder of Equiwatt, a clean-tech start up based in PROTO which uses artificial intelligence to optimize household electricity consumption and save on energy bills. They were awarded a special commendation at least years Dynamites Awards and are semi finalists in the Tech Nation Rising Stars Competition.

Their platform rewards households for saving energy when the energy grid is under stress. Their customers receive a ‘Powercapsule’, a smart hub that enables them to automatically participate in energy market offers and earn cash. Using Artificial Intelligence, the Powercapsule optimises household energy consumption for relieving pressure on the grid and monetises their demand flexibility in the energy markets. They are trialling the tech in 50 houses currently and have ambitious plans to grow that number significantly this year.

Johnson noted that the energy sector is going through a significant period of change at the moment with smart meters, smart energy contracts, connected appliances, integration of blockchain and more. All sectors are acknowledging how machine learning can make almost accurate predictions and determine patterns, consumer and otherwise. Harnessing and utilising this data is key.

Cameron Craggs and Tom Scarborough – Cintel Global (PROTO Tenant) 

Cameron and Tom are co-founders of Cintel Global (who kindly live streamed Monday Night’s event from PROTO- you can watch the video on their Facebook page here)

Coming from a Digital Media Production and Design background, the duo specialise in content creation. Having set up an office in PROTO late 2018, the founders have made the most of the facilities, kit and community within the centre and have a special focus on immersive tech. Developing their skills in photogrammetry and 360 capture amongst other things, they are further adding to their in-house skillset as a creative media agency.

Cameron believes immersive tech gives businesses access to new opportunities across a variety of sectors, including fashion, retail and film/tv, to explore new ideas and push the boundaries. Tom added that capturing environments and the ability to map information and digitally overlay details for consumers will massively change the way businesses reach their audiences.

All speakers agreed that there is an opportunity for the North East to create a new narrative for the region and to have emerging technologies at it’s core. Further exploration, collaboration and access to funding and facilities will be key and the North East has a good mix of these at the moment to be able to make the most of the opportunities afforded to it.

If you’d like to speak at a future PROTO event around emerging tech or would like to learn more about the kit and facilities contact Rachel Peacock on rachelpeacockce@gateshead.gov.uk

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