ICT Conference and Awards Attracts Record Numbers; Innovation and Creativity Impress the Judging Panel

The Birmingham Post (England), November 12, 2009 | Go to article overview

ICT Conference and Awards Attracts Record Numbers; Innovation and Creativity Impress the Judging Panel


This week saw a record number of participants flock to the West Midlands' biggest technology event, The ICT Conference. Now in its sixth year the event, funded and organised by Advantage West Midlands' ICT Cluster, is committed to boosting innovation and collaboration amongst technology companies and public sector organisations in the region. The theme of this year's conference, held at the National Motorcycle Museum on November 10th, was 'Competing in the new World'. Over 430 IT professionals from across the region came together to learn about cutting edge technologies, gain expert business advice and network with technology partners, business innovators, thought leaders and support organisations.

The event comprised a one-day conference, hosted by Stuart Linnell MBE, with keynote speakers from industry leaders IBM Global Services and Chameleon Net. The conference programme included 'Innovation in Action': interactive demos from five successful ICT SMEs - Yoosk, a Midlands participative digital media company, Convergent Home Technologies, The Key Revolution, Sharedband and Trackaphone - plus a series of practical workshops where businesses gained hands-on advice on a range of business and technology related topics.

An exhibition ran alongside the conference with demonstrations of emerging technologies. Exhibitors included technology providers Vodafone, Redstone Managed Solutions and Intercity Mobile Communications as well as support organisations including Business Link West Midlands, UK Trade and Investment, the National Business to Business Centre (NB2BC) and the International Digital Lab. Last year's Overall ICT Excellence Award Winner Rapide Communication used its innovative feedback service to gauge delegates' experience of the conference and provided invaluable information to the conference organisers on popularity of sessions and suggestions for improvement.

The ICT Cluster's AWMist, a map-based search tool to identify regional technology companies, was also showcased at the event with participating companies asked to register to ensure that their information is available to any public and private sector organisations searching the online directory.

"Technology is one of the fastest growing sectors in the West Midlands and this year's event exceeded all expectations, with over 430 attendees and a record number of award entries," commented Mike Musson, ICT Cluster Manager.

"We achieved our aim of providing West Midlands' businesses and organisations with an opportunity to learn, share ideas, network, and most importantly, influence the future direction of this exciting industry."

Highlights of the event were keynote presentations on 'Innovating your way to success' from Vicky Reeves, Managing Director of Chameleon Net and 'Best Woman in Technology' (2006 Awards) and 'Making the Right Technology Investments: the SME Perspective', from Clive Harris, Chief Innovation officer, IBM Global Services.

The workshops provided an opportunity for delegates to gain advice on: driving business efficiency through unified communications; how information security can help balance investment against the chances of disaster; accessing regional resources to support innovation; selling with IMPACT - a selling masterclass to enable SMEs to sell more effectively; and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) Programme - supporting small businesses to deliver within the public sector.

Bridging the Opportunity Gap, an ICT Cluster funded project, was also on hand to advise participants on how to improve their chances in obtaining some of the EUR9 billion of EU funding.

IT Schools Africa (ITSA) was chosen as the charity partner for the conference. The charity, which refurbishes computers for use in African schools, hoped to build awareness of its work amongst the West Midlands community. ITSA seeks bulk donations of old computers and accessories from the education and business sector. …

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