3,000 delegates to descend on Belfast for Digital DNA 2019

14 Mar 2019

From left: Simon Bailie of Digital DNA with Seamus Cushley from PwC. Image: Digital DNA

The Northern Ireland tech scene has never been in better health.

More than 3,000 delegates from the global tech community are expected to attend Digital DNA 2019, powered by PwC, in Belfast this June.

According to the event’s organisers, a packed schedule of more than 170 speakers will be spread across five stages with more than 100 exhibitors.

‘Once again, we are developing a unique line-up of speakers made up of some of the giants in the local and global tech community’

Digital DNA 2019, which is running over two days (18 and 19 June) in St George’s Market in Belfast, will be supported by PwC for the second consecutive year to enable the tech sector to come together, expand reach and be exposed to new technologies.

“Once again, we are developing a unique line-up of speakers made up of some of the giants in the local and global tech community,” said Digital DNA CEO Simon Bailie.

“Not only will the event be a great place to learn from peers, it will also allow the local tech sector [to] come and collaborate, either as a business or an organisation looking to expand their reach. Digital DNA can provide the perfect vehicle for organisations to forge new relationships, build new partnerships or gain exposure to new sectors which would otherwise be unavailable.”

Celebrating the northern lights

Banquet hall in Belfast with strobe lights over a room full of people sitting at tables.

DNA Awards last year. Image: Digital DNA

As well as the conference in June, in a fortnight (28 March) the Digital DNA Awards will be held at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast. It will celebrate the city’s entrepreneurial talent across key areas including apps, developers, e-commerce projects, large tech companies, digital marketing campaigns, business personalities, digital projects, small tech companies, start-ups and tech for good, as well as the coveted Young Person of the Year and Company of the Year awards.

“We knew there is a rich seam of entrepreneurial tech talent in Northern Ireland but this year’s entries have really blown us away,” said Victoria Shanks, executive director and global head of Kx services at First Derivatives. “They have proven that we are capable of creating technology businesses and talent which [are] not just impressive in a local sense, but are capable of competing at the highest level on a global basis.”

Powering up

Looking ahead to June, support for Digital DNA 2019 has been strong, with Danske Bank announcing a two-year sponsorship deal to highlight its ongoing investment in digital, and Tourism NI partnering with the event for the first time to showcase technology innovations in the tourism sector. Allstate, ESRI Ireland and MSC Group are also involved.

Other firsts for this year’s event include the participation of the Institution of Civil Engineers, which will be showcasing the technical developments in the civil engineering sector. In addition, Digital DNA 2019 will host the BCS (Chartered Institute for IT) IT Professionals Awards for the first time.

“PwC is proud to power Digital DNA 2019 for the second year running,” said Seamus Cushley, director of new ventures at PwC. “Without question, whatever industry you’re in, your organisation must change for a digital world. In our 21st Global CEO Survey, 81pc of respondents agree technological progress will fundamentally change their organisation. And the pressure to move faster is unrelenting.

“Our business is at the forefront of this change. Digital DNA is a great opportunity to share our story with the industry and to showcase the work we’re doing to deliver the technological solutions organisations need to compete and grow.

“We look forward to hearing from others in the sector and also share our learnings with them to help the Northern Ireland technology sector blossom,” Cushley said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years