Excitement in Wales over tech potential as Digital event opens in Cardiff

Over 2,000 innovators and investors from across the UK are descending on Digital at Tramshed and Tramshed Tech in Cardiff today, as some of the world’s leading tech names have championed Wales’ huge potential and growing role in the digital revolution.

The fifth annual event could not come at a more exciting time for Wales’ tech scene, following last week’s signing of a deal for a south Wales home for the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster. The cluster could attract £375 million in private investment and create 2,000 well paid and highly skilled jobs in the region.

Cluster member IQE Plc has an 80 per cent market share in compound semiconductor wafers, the technology behind the 3D sensors found in smart devices. The technology is central to the next generation of smart phones and tablets, with the Cardiff-based company ideally positioned to benefit from the rapid increase in the smart tech industry and its emerging products.

A host of big names excited to see Wales’ flourishing tech scene up close will share keynote talks around themes which will shape the way Wales and the world develops over the coming years, including the Internet of Things (IoT), investors, talent and smart cities.

These include industry leaders like Fortune and TIME lauded digital strategist Inma Martinez, techUK president Jacqueline de Rojas, Red Letter Day entrepreneur and Dragons Den star Rachel Elnaugh, and Alexandra Deschamps Sonsino, named the most world’s most influential Internet of Things expert (Postscapes, 2016).

Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, will welcome festival-goers this morning as anticipation builds for a day including keynotes on ‘how to build a billion-dollar app’ from entrepreneur and Chief Product Officer at headline sponsor GoCompare George Berkowski and techUK president Jaqueline de Rojas on how cities across the country can help establish the UK as a global tech leader post-Brexit.

Mr Skates said: “Businesses in Wales are undoubtedly at the forefront of the tech revolution. The investments being made into start-ups; the growing companies choosing to locate in Wales; and the thriving established sector are creating a new and rich environment that allows our economy in Wales and beyond to prosper. The Welsh Compound Semiconductor Cluster is the first cluster of its kind in the world, developing the technology that will shape the way we live our lives tomorrow. The cyber security solutions developed in Wales have an international reputation and help safeguard our citizens and businesses; and the technology being developed in Wales is changing the way we bank, shop and access vital services.

“Digital festival is celebrating everything Wales has to offer the technological revolution, and it’s great to see industry leaders, start-ups, and everyday tech lovers come to the Welsh capital for the event.”

David Warrender, the Chief Executive at Innovation Point, the digital innovation company organising the event on behalf of Welsh Government, said: “Every year Lonely Planet releases its list of the top ten hottest travel tips for the next 12 months.  If there was an equivalent for the tech world- the insider tips on the places to start, grow or invest in a digital business- I’m convinced that Wales would be sitting pretty top of the perch.  And it’s not just me.  The Digital event is bringing some of the world’s most disruptive thinkers and doers to our doorstep.  They don’t do that for the air miles.

“Something’s happening here in the Welsh tech scene, from enabling Apple’s latest bit of kit to do what it does right through to investment announcements from our Digital Dozen.  With smart start-ups scaling up, it won’t be long before Wales has its first unicorn company.  Maybe then it won’t just be the insiders who tip our tech scene for great things.”

Registration for Digital is still open and free, with a full agenda available here: digital-festival.co.uk