The immersive sector is already valued at £5.4 billion globally.
The immersive sector is already valued at £5.4bn globally.
Jamie Hardesty

North East stakes claim as UK immersive technology leader with launch of Gateshead hub

The North East is continuing to enhance its reputation as a digital powerhouse, bolstering its tech credentials with the opening of a new Immersive Lab at Gateshead’s Northern Design Centre.

Digital Catapult North East & Tees Valley (NETV) last night (November 1) opened the cutting-edge lab, which promises to grant access to the latest technology in virtual, augmented and mixed reality.

The site will provide digital businesses the opportunity to showcase their products and skills, as well as testing out new hardware that’s on offer. Moreover, non-digital businesses will also be able to attend events and demonstrations designed to teach them more about immersive technologies and content.

Access to the lab also extends to academic and research institutions that are interested in industry collaborations.

Naomi Morrow, Head of Innovation at Sunderland Software City, leads the Digital Catapult NETV.

She said: “Last night’s launch was a significant moment for the North East, firmly cementing the region’s reputation as a leader in immersive technologies.

“The opening of the lab means that businesses in the North East can now gain hands-on experience with emerging technologies, and receive introductions and knowledge-sharing from other businesses that are involved.

“We’re already seeing the transformative affect these technologies can have in a wide range of sectors, particularly within manufacturing and engineering. The Immersive Lab will enable businesses to test ideas and explore new opportunities, and we’re looking forward to hearing more success stories going forward.”

The North East lab is one of only four across the UK, in addition to London, Brighton and Northern Ireland. The immersive sector is already valued at £5.4 billion globally.

Gateshead Council is the latest partner to join the Digital Catapult North East and Tees Valley. The Immersive Lab launch followed the annual VRTGO Conference, which celebrates Gateshead’s success as the first virtual reality cluster in Europe.

Cllr John Adams, Gateshead Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “We are leading the way in attracting new and emerging technology companies to the North East.

“Hosting the North East and Tees Valley Immersive Lab in Gateshead shows our commitment to investing in the future of the region.

“Our new PROTO centre will be the first in the country to provide workspace for digital technology companies and specialist research and development testing facilities.”

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