Rory Cellan-Jones
Bdaily Business News

BBC's Cellan-Jones to address major North East IT conference

Respected BBC business and technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones is to address the inaugural Dynamo 14 conference, a major one-day event celebrating the vibrancy of the North East’s IT community.

Mr Cellan-Jones, known to millions as BBC News’ face of technology, will give the keynote speech focusing on Dynamo 14’s themes of Innovate, Collaborate and Grow. Delegates will also receive a big Newcastle welcome to the Civic Centre venue from City Council leader Nick Forbes.

Organised by Dynamo, the initiative to expand the North East IT economy, the event on 1 May will feature presentations and workshops with over 40 leading figures from the region’s IT scene.

Dynamo was founded by IT investor and entrepreneur Charlie Hoult, Accenture’s North East managing director Bob Paton, Professor of Computer Science and Director of the Digital Institute at Newcastle University Paul Watson, director of Orchard Information Systems John Hunt, CEO of Opencast Software Mike O’Brien, CTO of Sage UK Stuart Lynn and director of MI-Case Anthony McMenzie, to act a focal point for the region’s IT growth.

The initiative brings together IT organisations and employers, technology hubs, education, local government and employer support initiatives. This collaborative approach is being used to promote the North East’s skills nationally and internationally, as well as support the development of education, research and development in the sector.

Charlie Hoult, who runs Hoults Yard in Newcastle and is Dynamo’s chairman, said: “Dynamo 14 will be the first event of its kind in the North East and we’re delighted to have secured the services of a technology big hitter like Rory Cellan-Jones as our keynote speaker.

“The conference is all about showcasing the region’s IT cluster and encouraging businesses and individuals to explore new ideas and collaborate to make them successful.

“Our IT community is already punching above its weight nationally and we are growing at a faster rate than other IT clusters elsewhere in the UK. Add that to the region’s strengths in industries including in oil and gas, renewable energy, manufacturing and the medical sector, and we have a strong stake in global growth.”

Bob Paton, who runs Accenture’s Newcastle Delivery Centre where the company offers technology support to clients around the world and is Dynamo’s vice chair, said: “The North East is an increasingly dynamic region with a thriving technology industry that makes a significant contribution to the local and national economy.

“Our aim is to attract more talent and investment to the region and by drawing attention to the energy, innovation and collaborative spirit in the North East, Dynamo will help us to build on our success to date.”

Rory Cellan-Jones has worked for the BBC for almost quarter of a century, during which time he’s covered all the major technology stories from the dot com bubble to the rise of Google. He has been the BBC’s Technology Correspondent since 2007, with a brief to explain the impact of the internet on business and society.

He said: “I started my BBC career as a researcher with Look North in 1981, and the North East has undergone a number of dramatic changes since then.

“The growing strength of the IT sector should be a source of pride to the North East. I’m proud to be invited to speak at this inaugural conference and I’m looking forward to meeting some of the people who have turned the North East into an IT and technology powerhouse.”

Accenture has signed up as the headline sponsor of Dynamo 14 and is joined by Sunderland Software City as an event partner. There is also a dozen sponsors ranging from business and local academia to software giant Sage.

Mr Hoult said: “We really have a leading IT and technology offer in the North East, from the global success of Sage and the world-beating gaming studios to individual entrepreneurs and our great universities and colleges.

“You sell a region on its success stories and the North East’s IT cluster has plenty of those. This conference is part of a campaign is to showcase our abilities in a way that hasn’t been done to date.

“While our theme is ‘Defining the NE IT Economy’, I really want people to attend and say ‘wow, I didn’t know all that existed in the North East!’”

Further Dynamo 14 speakers and a full range of workshops and presentations will be announced nearer to the conference. For more information please visit www.dynamonortheast.co.uk or to book your place, please visit http://dynamo14.eventbrite.co.uk.

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