All go at DIGIT Expo!

As regular attendees and supporters of DIGIT events we were excited to attend their inaugural Expo at the EICC on 14th November. Joined by over 1,600 delegates and 30 speakers covering a wide range of topics from Cyber Security and IT resilience to IoT in the enterprise and extracting business value from data, the only challenge was choosing which talks to attend.  With lots of networking opportunities it was great to catch up with some familiar faces (and some new ones) from our vibrant tech community in Scotland. Some of our team have shared their favourite take outs from the day.

Ruaridh Miller’s favourite; Cyber Security 2020

I attended the Cyber Security 2020 talk by Adrian Louth from Fortinet. The talk was focused around Cyber Security within the next couple of years. He gave an insight into how the Cyber-criminal underworld has become more of a business with moving parts over the past few decades. Describing how companies should look at security as a debt that accumulates interest, and so over time the threat will increase. If the right actions are taken early, this will reduce the debt and cause less interest so if an attack happens it is less likely to be business critical.

He also broke down some of the larger Cybercrime attacks over the last few years, including the Janus Ransomware (Petya/Mischa). He explained that the target of these is not only just to gain money, but there may be other ulterior motives (such as asking for ransom in BitCoin, causing companies to invest in BitCoin wallets and ultimately driving up the price throughout the world).

Gordon Rickett’s favourite; Cyber Community Panel Session, hosted by Cyber Scotland Connect

As a regular attendee at Digit events (verging on a fanboy if I’m honest) it was difficult to choose a favourite talk from the day, so I chose three! I really enjoyed the cyber community panel session, hosted by Cyber Scotland Connect, where the leading lights in the Edinburgh cyber community (including Dr Jamie Graves, the CEO of ZoneFox) had come together to share their experiences and to promote a new inclusive and friendly community for connecting cyber communities across Scotland.

I also really enjoyed the McLaren F1 talk by Karl Surmacz who shared his experience of data science with the F1 team and how the same techniques are also benefitting the healthcare sector.

However, by far the highlight for me was the autonomous robotics talk by Sethu Vijayakumar, the Professor of Robotics from University of Edinburgh.  We were taken on a fascinating journey of recent developments in robotics and many of the industrial use cases, especially the value of robots in hazardous environments.  The main event was the work that the Professor’s team are doing with the Valkyrie humanoid robot, which will help humans get to Mars.

Lyle Ritchie’s favourite; Improving the Delivery of Organisational Value from Data – Hosted by the Scottish Data Science & Technology Meet-Up

This is was a panel discussion which was hosted by Paul Forrest (Chair) MBN Solutions and included Gillian Docherty- The Data Lab, Dave Oliver Head of PBB MI RBS, Martin Thorn-Snr Manager-CYB and Sorcha Lorimer- Founder Sympatico and Robin Huggins-Director academy and client services. (BMN).

The panel discussed a range of things from what companies are doing with your data to what value is being given to the customer. They looked at how to get buy in from senior stakeholders on data science projects and what needs to be done to attract talent with these skills currently in the market and what the future looks like.

The panel discussed how GDPR can have positive results in the market and how careful companies need to be with our data.

Data science needs to be used to reduce costs, find new markets and make better decisions and everyone discussed the challenges with getting senior stakeholders on board to achieve this. This is not necessary project work but a mindset change that takes time to implement. Risks need to be taken to see the value otherwise it will be a slow moving process.

Discussion moved onto the skills shortages and what needs to be done at grass roots level- ie experts talking in primary/secondary schools to promote Digital/IT, so much so Robin Huggins wants to see a ‘Digital’ subject added in schools and to be considered as important as Maths and English.

Graeme Cox’s favourite; Storytelling Technology: Innovative Use of Digital Platforms for Communication

The talk focussed on current & new digital platforms for creating content & engaging with the customer. From a VR trip to Mars for school students to Opel (Vauxhall) giving a car away through YouTube Views/Likes.

Some very cool, yet simple ideas with huge impacts. It’s got us thinking about how we can harness the current and cutting edge new digital platforms to stand out from the crowd!

The great news is that Digit Expo 2.0 has already been announced for 7th November 2019 and again at the EICC, get the date in your diaries!

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