22. September 2010 05:47
To say there was a buzz in the air when more than 300 people crowded into the registration room for the Showcase Conference in Derry last Thursday would be something of an understatement. The palpable energy remained for much of the day, fuelled by demonstrations and workshops involving some of the most inspiring and convincing digital media specialists Ireland has to offer.
The conference was organised to provide a forum for discussion and demonstration around cloud, mobile and web-based software applications and certainly achieved its goal of celebrating innovation and entrepreneurship. The delegates were fed and watered throughout the day by the conference partners Microsoft and Derry City Council, who also provided a £2000 laptop for the most impressive demonstration. This was won by Newsrupt who launched Qluso, an online app allowing editors to bid for exclusive stories from freelance journalists.
The demonstrations represented a broad range of sectors including medical innovation, transport and hospitality, social media /networking, recruitment and education, to name but a few. These were short slots allowing start-ups, academics and entrepreneurs to show how their applications work and outline plans for development before answering questions from the audience - usually focusing on how money might be generated.
While the demonstrations took place in the main room, workshops and panel sessions on the creative industries, mobile apps and cloud computing were held by industry experts including representatives from Dell, Microsoft and the University of Ulster. Relevant and interesting discussions included the future of print media and the benefits of using various types of software.(open source vs commercial)
All in all it was a fantastic day, not just because of the open bar after the final presentation (thanks, Microsoft!) or the number of delegates who had travelled from all corners of the country and beyond, but because the day was a demonstration of the sheer energy and enthusiasm driving digital technology and development in Northern Ireland. Yet another reminder that this is an exciting time and place to be!
The Showcase demonstrations were streamed live and videos will be available soon on the Showcase website.