London Tech Week: all you need to know

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Alice Cruickshank

London Tech Week is the largest free-to-attend technology summit in Europe, and the 2018 line-up did not disappoint. The seven day programme featured over 300 separate events hosted at venues across the capital, running the gamut from government roundtables to a ball-pit party for developers.

The UK technology scene certainly has a lot to celebrate. Last year, British tech businesses attracted $7.8bn of funding, almost double the amount received in 2016. That’s compared to France and Germany’s combined total of $6bn, making the UK a European leader.

Here are our top take-aways from London Tech Week that everyone is talking about.

The future of the British tech industry

Sadiq Khan unveiled the Smart London strategy, which will tackle poor air quality, urban design and digital connectivity. This includes the commission of a new generation of smart technology, such as lamp posts incorporating air quality sensors, publicly-accessible Wi-Fi and electric vehicle charging points, and government funding to test 5G connectivity.

New UK technology policy was also announced at the Prime Minister’s roundtable. With Brexit at the forefront of the national agenda, this largely focused on building international ties. The Government is to launch a new startup visa from 2019, and has pledged £2.5bn to the British Patent Capital Programme to help tech businesses expand their business abroad. The Government also has plans for 2 new tech hubs in South Africa and Brazil. They will facilitate the sharing of UK expertise and best practice for digital tech with those countries, supporting local entrepreneurs, start-ups and established tech companies through training and mentoring.

Also unveiled at the Prime Minister’s roundtable were plans to make Ordnance Survey’s MasterMap Topography layer available for everyone. It is estimated that this will boost the UK economy by at least £130m each year, as innovative companies and startups use the data.

Artificial intelligence

Like many tech talks this year, conversations about AI were at the fore at London Tech Week. Both the CogX2018 summit and the AI summit ran as part of the programme.

The CogX event was more than double the size of last year’s offering, and included discussions on the impact of AI on government, industry and society, while also covering ethics and advice on how businesses can turn their AI ideas into reality. The CogX awards featured 62 categories celebrating blockchain and AI innovation. The full winners list can be found here.

Not to be outdone, the AI Summit hosted The Alconics AI awards. The winners of The Alconics can be found here. This year the 2-day AI Summit focused on ‘AI at work: beyond the hype’ and featured keynote speeches from companies including Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Tech UK.

Blockchain and its impact was also a popular topic at London Tech Week. The BitcoinCRE event, featuring panel discussions including proptech commentator James Dearsley and Faisal Butt of PiLabs, examined how blockchain and cryptocurrency can benefit real estate. Neil Singer of ClicktoPurchase and Richard Goodard of Hart Street Properties provided case studies of how property professionals can benefit from utilising blockchain.

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