Ruli Pennington is Editor of Council News Monitor and writes Night in the City an occasional column for Information Daily. She is passionate about better public services, devolution, malt whisky & women's football.@UnruliP
At the first Digital Summit held in the Liverpool City Region, Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham discusses why the region has the potential to become a home for global tech companies.
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, told the City region's first Digital Summit that a combination of world-class connectivity and predictable renewable energy could make the region a magnet for investment from global tech companies.
In an ambitious speech to tech entrepreneurs, academics and policy-makers, the Metro Mayor highlighted the area’s uniquely competitive asset base, including the UK’s most powerful computing centre at the Hartree Centre, Liverpool’s Material’s Innovation Factory and Sensor City, and an emerging cluster of globally significant tech companies. He outlined his twin priorities would be to invest in world-class digital infrastructure – linking directly to the GTT trans-Atlantic cable that reaches the UK at Southport - and exploiting the area’s unique potential for renewable energy by harnessing the power of the River Mersey.
“My aim is to make the city region that was the gateway to the first Industrial Revolution a globally important centre in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. By combining world-class digital connectivity and a predictable source of renewable energy we can make a uniquely attractive and compelling offer to global tech companies pledged to achieve carbon neutrality" said the Metro Mayor.
Showcasing local talent was one of the themes of the Summit, which included the world’s first Mayoral Question Time in Virtual Reality courtesy of pioneering Liverpool VR company vTime. The vTime platform enables people in different locations around the world to meet in a series of immersive virtual environments for social or business interaction.
Afternoon workshop sessions focused on setting key priorities for the City Region and the need for an integrated Digital Strategy to deliver the Metro Mayor’s ambition. A key theme was the need to build on the City Region’s positive international brand, and trade on the success of its already successful cluster of tech companies, innovation programmes and its cutting-edge research and development assets.
The Summit included key note contributions from Terry Beaubois, Silicon Valley-based academic and tech guru, Alison Kennedy, Director of STFC Hartree, Dr Jon Hague Vice President Open Innovation at Unilever, Irene Lopez de Vallero Director of Research at the UK Digital Catapult, Kelvin Prescott, Head of Specialist SalesO2 and vTime MD,Clement Wangerin.