If you didn’t know that last week was London Tech week, shame on you! There were over 200 separate events to choose from, spread across the whole week. Boris Johnson was there, Michael Bloomberg was there, and so were 40,000 others; including Haggerston Times, of course.
The week’s largest event, Internet World, took place at the Excel centre, where entrepreneurs, techies and the business world mingled and mostly talked about big data and cloud computing. Fascinating stuff, and you can see why the world’s largest businesses, and therefore, the world’s most influential people, are so beholden to these relatively new trends. It’s because this is how they will attempt to keep track of how everybody; you, me, competitors, consumers, and everything; continental drifts, orange juice production in Florida, rare metals in Australia, temperatures in Antarctica, are behaving, which is what they think will help them to stay ahead.
London needed this kind of business, and these kind of visitors. It needed to be trumpeting the launch of the science 50 index, a list of the UK’s fastest growing science based industries, at the SVC2UK and Royal Society Science CEO Summit, and it needed to provide an international platform for its young and charismatic thinkers to shine, which it did do, via CNN. So far so good, but perhaps what was most encouraging for those of us not already making plans to travel to Stockholm for next year’s Nobel prize awards, was that there was a noticeable trickledown effect.
Not every event helped to clinch a multi-million pound deal or secure investment in the Capital City’s infrastructure (we really must sort our broadband out, by the way, said nearly every international delegate), but each discussion, meet-up or networking drinks, however small, made a difference. Tech is, after all, set to become one of the biggest contributors to job creation and wealth creation across all of industry in the UK, as it grows pound by pound, and job by job. The responsibility is shared amongst everyone. So if you picked up a new client this week, made a hire, or launched a new product, kudos to you.
Finding myself, incredibly, quadruple booked on Wednesday evening, was a bit of a problem, and I have promised myself that I will plan much further ahead next time, and make more of an effort to see as much as possible. Events I was sad to have missed out on include the Digital Masters awards on Wednesday Night, which showcased some of the finest Digital Talent, such as Mike Wroe of Just Eat, who picked up the excellence in finance award, and Rytis Vitkauskas and Viktoras Jucikas, of Yplan, winners of the Excellence in Product category, and the 3rd Big Data Debate meet-up, back at Shoreditch Village Hall (its spiritual home, if you ask me).
There was also a plethora of summer parties, some exclusive PR dos, some available to all, such as the 3Beards legendary Silicon Drinkabout, and a meet and greet with the team behind Tech City News, which goes from strength to strength.
Smells like a plan?
The Lord Mayor’s show it may have been, but no-one is showing any signs of letting up, and the Tech world is already pushing ahead. The Times reports today that Harvard students David Edwards and Rachel Field have pioneered the first app capable of sending smells across cyberspace. Their device, imaginatively named the “oPhone”, can send up to 32 base scents, producing more than 300,000 distinctive odours, via the “oSnap” app. The oPhone is expected to go on sale next year at just under £90. The price is not to be sniffed at, even if the app is.
Meanwhile, over in the US, an app named Yo, which you can use to send the word “yo” to your friends and contacts, has been hacked. Is that really a news story, I hear you ask. Yes and here’s why: Yo has already received funding commitments of 1 million dollars from backers in the US, it’s the number 1 app in Israel, and its growing by 200,000 users per day. It’s a lifestyle choice. Who needs words, when you have “Yo”. Schools out, “Yo”. Someone scored a goal in the world cup: “Yo”. Have we all turned into teenagers, did we never really grow up, or is its chief investor, Israeli Moshe Hogeg, simply showing off how good he is at raising capital? His own start-up is backed by Leo Di Caprio and Carlos Slim, amongst others.
Finally, back in the UK, David Cameron has been complaining about access to broadband in Cornwall, reports the Guardian. Known as “not spots”, these troublesome rural areas have caused Mr Cameron to cut short his holidays on no fewer than 2 occasions. “I love the seaside, I love the landscape, I like the people. There are lots of places that mean a lot to me. I’ve been going to north Cornwall man and boy. I went as a child. I love surfing at Polzeath. I love walking the coastal path. I love the pubs. I like the beer. There’s nothing about it I don’t like.” So do I Dave, but I was at Tech week, isn’t that where you should have been?