Dynamo 18 showcased the best of the North East’s tech scene, including the UK’s “smartest street” in Newcastle and a new innovation campus coming to Sunderland. Compelo reporter James Walker was in attendance.
From pioneering electric lighting in Victorian times to having the “smartest street” in the UK, the North East of England has long been at the forefront of technology.
As the region continues to push the boundaries, its tech and business communities came together for the Dynamo 18 conference yesterday (Thursday 21 June) in Newcastle.
Not only did it celebrate the region’s thriving tech scene – which also features prominent video game developers, software giants and some of the country’s biggest consultancies – but stakeholders discussed at length the challenges it faces going forward.
Dynamo – the volunteer organisation that runs the event – is made up of regional businesses, non-profits and educational establishments pushing for growth in the North East IT sector as a single unit.
A host of speakers from big firms in the area like Accenture and Sage were joined by figures from small businesses, government and education on 16 discussion panels and keynote sessions.
Here are a few things Compelo picked up at the Dynamo 18 North East tech conference, held at the Newcastle University Urban Sciences Building.
The region was a pioneer of electric lighting
Although the American inventor Thomas Edison was the man who invented the light bulb, it was Newcastle that produced the first practical one.
Scientist Joseph Swan – the man who developed the functional incandescent light bulb – was born in Sunderland and conducted much of his work in Newcastle.
Following his inventions, Mosley Street – which runs just below the famous Grey Street – became the first street to be lit by electric bulbs in 1880.
This storied history of huge technological development in North East was invoked at the conference a few times to suggest that the region could be at the forefront of technological development again.
Newcastle has the ‘smartest street’ in the UK
Seemingly a hotspot for innovation, Mosley Street was again cited as an example of how smart cities exist beyond the confines of places like London.
Speaking to Compelo, Anthony McMenzie, client services director of Newcastle IT consultancy Forfusion, said he’d just learned that the city had the most connected street in the country.
Mosley Street has been hooked up with sensors that track data on traffic congestion, air pollution, road quality and available parking spaces.
The showcase of Data Street is set to begin today, tying in with the start of the Great Exhibition of the North.
Newcastle City Council worked with the American tech mammoth Cisco to deliver the scheme – which the local authority hopes will help it run the city more efficiently.
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