Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Virtual Bird's Eye on City; in Association with NETPARK Science & Technology

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Virtual Bird's Eye on City; in Association with NETPARK Science & Technology

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Mernin

GOTHAM City has Batman, Metropolis has Superman and one day Newcastle could have its own protector of the city.

However, unlike the aforementioned comic book heroes, this defender of the state could be the catalyst for the creation of hundreds of new jobs and a surge of international investment into the North East.

A London-based security consultancy has laid out an ambitious vision to develop the North East into a hub for new-age technology in the national security sector.

And part of the plan, which aims to drum up interest from public and private-sector representatives and investors, could be to transform Newcastle into a city entirely protected from terrorism, crime or disaster by a hi-tech virtual system which would be linked into the city's CCTV network and the police.

The plan for Big Brother-style coverage of Newcastle via a virtual replica of the city remains very much at the pre-blueprint stage. However, plans to create a new industry in the region based around protecting the public through technology are already under way.

London's Secure Futures, which aims to generate innovation and investment in national security, wants to help create a new market in the North East, an area it views as one of untapped potential.

The first step of the plan is a major conference in Sedgefield next month which will give nine young security-based technology start-ups the chance to bid for up to pounds 1m each in financial backing from investors.

The Secure Futures Investment Conference, organised by Connect North East in partnership with NorthStar Equity Investors, will showcase the region's potential as an area to develop new innovations in security-based technology.

Secure Future's co-founder Andrew Hegarty believes the conference will act as the springboard for the group and its partners' plans to create enough interest from investors and innovators to lay the foundations for a new North East sector, which could also grow into a mass employer. …

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