Posted by Richard Lace

Posted 20 September, 2012 OBI BLOG

Insider hosted North West Business of Media Conference 2012 on 19th September. The conference was held rather fittingly opposite MediaCityUK at The Lowry Centre, Salford Quays.  120 attendees enjoyed a series of seminars given by 16 speakers from across the UK whom discussed Manchester’s position within the digital sector on a national and international basis. The conference was hosted by Insider’s Chris Maguire who seamlessly facilitated the whole event.

The first seminar ‘Setting the Scene’ heard from Sara Tomkins of Manchester City Council who is heavily involved in rolling out the Manchester Digital Strategy which is a ten point plan that aims to place Manchester as one of the world’s foremost digital cities. Targets include all public areas of Manchester to have Wi-Fi by November and for all businesses and residents to be able to have access to fast broadband services ensuring that people will not fall behind in this evolving digital era. Sara also announced the Council’s plans to develop a coding school in order to retain and develop the next generation of digital entrepreneurs. This is set to be up and running by January 2013. The seminar also heard Sue Woodard OBE, the director of the much talked about Sharp Project. Sue talked about the impending avalanche of technology and the need for businesses to embrace change in this digital revolution.

The following seminar ‘MediaCity – a Global Powerhouse’ heard from senior figures from ITV, BBC, dock10 and The Landing. It was voiced that the relocation of the BBC to MediaCity, and ITV following in its footsteps has put the North West on the UK’s and Europe’s media map.  Ian Munford, the commercial director at dock10 spoke of the additional facilities available including access to HD TV studios, digital post-production, cloud media management services and advanced connectivity options. Jon Corner, CEO of The Landing spoke of the office space available for small companies working in new technology.  Fittingly this seminar was soon followed by a series of speakers who showcased examples of what Manchester marketing and production companies had produced using these new technologies including clips from Scott and Bailey, Bedlam and Blackout.

The penultimate seminar ‘Skills – The Challenges Ahead’ heard from Cisco’s regional sales manager Peter Caldecott amongst other speakers. He spoke of our changing world and how dependant we were on digital devices revealing surprising facts such as 23% of individuals would rather lose their wedding ring than lose their mobile device, and that 60% of individuals now go to bed with their mobile device. He spoke of a shift in working patterns which he was certain would become a standard way of working – BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. Such a practice which enables employees to bring their own computing devises to work enabling individuals on average to work an extra 1-2 hours a day by working either at home or ‘on the go’.

The closing seminar which featured Mike Ryan from Fusion Futures illustrated that Manchester had embraced the digital revolution and this will be proven by a soon to be published report which will place Manchester as the 3rd or 4th city on a global list for the most innovative cities. However the theme of the day highlighted that Manchester still has a way to go if it wishes to be premier in the digital world.

In all it was a great conference which promoted Manchester as a future digital hub.