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Wales Tech Week: Day One Highlights

Wales Tech Week took off with a bang as industry leaders, innovators, investors, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts gathered at the ICC in Newport to explore the latest in technology and what it means for business and society.

Monday’s sessions heard from diverse expert panels on topics including artificial intelligence, public services, cybersecurity, manufacturing tech, digital inclusion, start up finance, and sustainability tech.

Wales Tech Week 2023
ICC Wales, Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales.
Mike Hall Photography

Online attendees around the world can now catch up with recorded sessions by registering through Wales Tech Week’s platform partner Haia. To access the hybrid features of the event including the programme, live streaming, chat in the session Q&A, and more, visit https://event.haia.live/event/599

Wales Tech Week 2023
ICC Wales, Celtic Manor, Newport, South Wales.
Mike Hall Photography

Key highlights:

  • Sessions on Artificial Intelligence drew large audiences and questions from the floor. Global AI expert Danilo McGarry told the Headline stage that artificial intelligence represents “the single biggest commercial opportunity available to businesses worldwide”, with the potential to catalyse profound changes in the global economy within three to five years. A panel of AI experts – including Swansea University’s Matt Jones, Professor of Human-Computer Interaction – further emphasised the need for a thoughtful, inclusive debate to grasp AI’s potential and its wide-ranging impact.
  • On tech in public services, digital leaders from key UK Government data bodies —Companies House, ONS, DVLA, and the Intellectual Property Office—explored the innovative prospects for the public sector and its transformation towards a digital future, including the use of artificial intelligence.
  • Cybersecurity, cyber threats and resilience were the subject of one of the afternoon’s headline events, sponsored by the Cyber Innovation Hub, with their director Prof Pete Burnap, joined by Tony Burton, Managing Director, Cybersecurity & Trust at Wales Tech Week partner Thales; Philomena Lavery, Director Information and Cyber Security (CISO) at National Highways; and Sarah Armstrong-Smith, Chief Security Advisor at Microsoft.
Sarah Armstrong-Smith, Microsoft, takes the stage

A key highlight was the joint announcement of a Collaboration Innovation Plan by the Welsh Government’s Minister for the Economy Vaughan Gething and Innovate UK’s CEO Indro Mukerjee. In his opening address the Minister also highlighted the significance of a strong technology industry on the economy and the importance of addressing the potential impact of artificial intelligence.

Image ©Licensed to Parsons Media. 16/10/2023. Newport, United Kingdom. Wales Tech Week. Wales Tech week at the International Convention Centre Wales. Picture by Andrew Parsons / Michael Hall Photography

A recurring theme throughout the day was the imperative of developing skills for the technology sector – upskilling the current workforce, developing the next generation and engaging the broader public in shaping the trajectory of tech and digital inclusion.

Wales Tech Week’s inaugural in-person event saw a significant turnout of over 1500 attendees, welcoming a Welsh, UK and international audience to ICC Wales in Newport.

WG Envoy to the US Aled Miles talks to global AI expert Danilo McGarry

 

Among the international attendees was HE the Hon Stephen Smith, High Commissioner of Australia to the United Kingdom, and delegates from Japan, Canada, Spain, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Estonia, and the Republic of Congo.

HE the Hon Stephen Smith said: “It’s been a pleasure to visit Wales Tech Week. I’ve been impressed by the capabilities on show and the thought-provoking discussions, but most impressive is learning about the collaborative approach across Wales to advance the local economy while addressing domestic and global challenges. 

“The Welsh approach, through clusters such as Cyber Wales, Fintech Wales, and CS Connected, brings a diverse group of stakeholders together to advance the technology, cyber-security and fintech sectors. This is very much aligned to our approach in Australia. 

“We are excited about the opportunity for the Australian government, academia and industry to collaborate with respective groups across the Welsh economy, partnering to create opportunities for businesses, solve global challenges and collectively advance the prosperity of our regions.” 

About Wales Tech Week 16-18 October 

Wales Tech Week is putting Welsh technology on the international stage and enabling attendees from all sectors to explore what tech can do for their organisations and careers.

Tuesday 17 October is the second day of the international event, with an increased focus on how tech can benefit service providers.

Wednesday 18 October is dedicated to ‘Talent4tech’ to inspire the ‘tech curious’ to pursue a career in one of the many fields available, and understand the opportunities to shape the future in this dynamic industry. Plus sessions for employers on recruiting and retaining tech talent.

For further information, please visit walestechweek.com.