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Highest Point Festival Plays Host To Lancashire’s Top Digital And Tech Influencers

Ex-flaming lips drummer joins Lancashire’s digital community for Lancashire’s Tech Summit, to share in-depth discussions and inspiring talks in Williamson Park.

Lancashire’s Tech Summit, the annual gathering of the county’s top technology entrepreneurs, digital disruptors, and creative professionals, was given a rock and roll boost with the attendance of Kliph Scurlock in Lancaster yesterday (May 11th).

The former drummer of the Grammy-award winning US band The Flaming Lips joined an impressive line up of Lancashire tech business leaders at Lancaster’s Williamson Park, and was interviewed about how rapid advances in audio technology is transforming the delivery of both live and recorded music.

As part of his Q&A – which was hosted by one of the BBC’s leading digital R&D innovators, Emma Young, – Kansas-born Kliph invited the audience to interact collectively with music performed by ex-Super Furry Animal’s lead singer Gruff Rhys, via a new multi-user smartphone application.

This real-time interactive demonstration not only reinforced the relationship between creativity and technology – one of the Summit’s main themes – it fitted perfectly with the event being held as an official part of Lancaster’s Highest Point Festival.

Other Summit highlights included a series of inspirational ‘quick fire’ presentations from some of Lancashire’s most dynamic, successful and innovative tech businesses. These included representatives from Lancashire’s growing digital health sector, including Richard Stoddart, Commercial Director of Redmoor Health, and Lynette Ousby, Managing Director of Alcidion.

In addition, harnessing and commercialising the power of IoT, AI,  smart devices, and big data, were covered in talks from  +24 Marketing’s MD David Walker; IoT Horizon’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Niamh Allen; and Joshua Bailey, Senior Data Scientist from Relative Insight.

Some of Lancashire’s emerging tech sectors were also explored. Will Maden, Chief Commercial Officer at EV charging business Fuuse focused on the rapidly evolving world of electric vehicle infrastructure, while Chris Mayne, Managing Director of Forsberg described how Lancashire’s Electech Innovation Cluster, centred around the Morecambe Bay area, is rapidly becoming recognised as an international hub of hi-tech electronic engineering.

Another core theme was how technology could drive entrepreneurialism and innovation. To support this there was a  special session featuring Paul White and Conor Walsh from Patch, the revolutionary window cleaning booking and payment app. They were joined by Christina Melling, CEO of the Stipendium lifestyle, property and wealth management online platform, and Hannah Drake, founder of energy analytics business, Enerlytic.

Diversity and inclusion in the tech industry was another theme running throughout the Summit’s programme.

Leading inclusivity and equality activists Lee Chambers and Alice Ashcroft talked about combatting bias in software development, while the county’s Digital Skills lead Kerry Harrison explained how the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub has been actively promoting STEM careers to groups who were currently underrepresented in key tech sectors such as cyber, advanced engineering, and low carbon.

Commenting on the Tech Summit, which was produced by Lancashire’s Digital Hub and funded by Lancashire County Council, organiser Dan Knowles said: “The Lancashire Tech Summit is aimed at bringing together Lancashire’s tech businesses, entrepreneurs, and investors to showcase the latest innovations and developments in the industry. Backed by Lancashire County Council, it’s also about celebrating creativity and innovation, which is why it was so fantastic to get a rock legend like Kliph involved, alongside a  stellar line-up of local tech talent.  

“Further, it was important for us to raise the issue of diversity and inclusion, building on the great work undertaken by partners such as the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub and the Digital Skills Partnership. Having diversity trailblazers like Lee and Alice here today was part of that, plus we’ve had major influencers like Emma Young, who leads the BBC’s women in STEM initiative, taking part.

“This mix of professional insights being shared with the wider Lancashire tech community, new technologies being brought to life through interactive experiences, and addressing important social and ethical issues, helped make the event very special.

“Finally, I’d like to thank Lancaster’s Highest Point Festival for including this year’s Summit as part of their incredible three-day cultural programme. As a result, our delegates got to enjoy a fantastic Hacienda Classical performance last night as part of their overall experience, which fitted brilliantly with our creativity-meets-tech theme.”

For more information on the work of the Lancashire Digital Hub, including other events and networking opportunities, visit www.lancashiredigitalhub.co.uk



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