FINISHING touches are being made to the region’s biggest tech conference – which is free to online delegates tomorrow (Thursday, June 25).

Dynamo announced in April that its annual conference would go ahead in a digital format this year because of the spread of COVID-19. Dynamo also confirmed the conference, titled Collaborating for Success, will be free to delegates.

Keynote speakers include Professor Nic Palmarini and Aaron Harris. Nic is the Director of the National Innovation Centre for Ageing (NICA), based at Newcastle University. Aaron was appointed CTO at Sage last year having spent two decades leading Software as a Service (SaaS) technology at Sage Intacct.

A focus of the Dynamo conference will be innovation and SMEs within the region’s tech sector.

Dynamo Chair Charlie Hoult explained: “Through the virtual expo area we will be showcasing some of our innovative SMEs who have products and services to offer to industry, academia and public sector bodies.

“The expo will give the hosts the opportunity to share pre-recorded content and interact live with visitors. The hosts can also share bespoke offers to visitors who will be able to click a ‘Register Interest’ button to prompt a further connection. Our Expo Booths will be available to visitors throughout the day.”

Companies already signed up to host booths include education software developers globalbridge, data science experts Geek Talent, Baltic Training and Marketai.

Innovation will also be a key focus of the conference, with breakout sessions and panels exploring how the region is at the forefront of development in several tech fields. These will include sessions on VR, Digital Entertainment and ‘Innovating through lockdown,’ with speakers including CTRL Hub and Opti Me.

“As you’d expect, we’ll also be looking at the challenges and opportunities created by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown. We’ll be highlighting how the regional tech sector is playing a key role in COVID-19 recovery and many of our sessions will explore responses in the region,” said Charlie.

“These will include a panel session on responses from the health sector and another on how businesses can survive and thrive in an uncertain world. A ‘Future of Education Tech’ panel discussion will focus on the repercussions of the pandemic, while new Dynamo members CGI will host a session on Embracing a post-COVID-19 World. There will also be breakout sessions on ‘How to move your operations to working from home,’ ‘Cybersecurity in the time of COVID-19’ and ‘The Future of Work.’

“And, of course, as our conference title suggests, we’ll be highlighting the collaborative nature of the region’s tech sector – how we work together for the benefit of our own companies and organisations, and also the region’s economy,” he added.

Other sessions include:

  • Dirty money: The case against cash (a discussion about Fintech)
  • Tackling global construction challenges in the north east (a session on digital construction)
  • Unleashing the Voice of the customer: When Government and Deep tech start ups combine (a session on data)

“Another important session for us will be a breakout session on ‘How to diversify your technical workforce.’ The discussion will be led by Aad van Moorsel, Director of the IOC at Newcastle University; Karen Marshall, Accenture; Professor Sue Black, Durham University; Fareeha Usman, Founder, Being Woman and Sue Davison, Co-founder of Foundation Futures,” said Charlie.

“It’s a topic we’ve identified as a priority for Dynamo and we’ll be examining it more closely over the coming months,” he added.

Dr Mhairi Aitken from Newcastle University will help close the conference with her light-hearted Blame in on the Algorithm session, which she has performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Companies involved in the delivery of panel discussions or sessions include: Sage, Waterstons, NELEP, Newcastle University, University of Sunderland, Northumbria University, Teesside University, NHSBSA, DWP, CGI, Edward Reed Recruitment, Amazon Web Services, PNE Group, Jumping Rivers, Capita Consulting, WordNerds and Innovation Supernetwork.

The Dynamo conference annually attracts delegates from the region’s tech and IT companies, as well as representatives from local public sector organisations, professional services, colleges and universities. Almost 500 delegates have signed up for this year’s conference.

Dynamo North East is a business-led organisation with the core mission of ‘Growing the North East tech economy through collaboration, innovation, skills and noise.’  With more than 160 members, it is made up of IT organisations, large corporate employers in the region, consultants, technology hubs, education providers, local government and suppliers to the industry.

To register, go to https://www.dynamonortheast.co.uk/events/