Northampton technology conference biggest so far

Date 17.06.2024

The sixth annual conference showcasing the innovation within local businesses, West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) and at the University of Northampton (UON) last week, was the biggest yet.

Merged Futures 6 on Friday 14 June attracted a record 350 attendees who listened to 18 presentations across five rooms and browsed 20 exhibition stands all showing off local advances in virtual and mixed reality, AI and technology which can improve the lives of local people.

In his opening speech, the University’s John Sinclair, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Science and Technology said the theme for Merged Futures 6 was ‘technology for good’ and that exhibits included virtual reality for wellbeing, artificial intelligence in service delivery, gamification of learning, smart glasses for the partially sighted, and robo pets for the elderly.

He added: “Virtually everything you hear about today will involve local collaboration between individuals, businesses, West Northants Council and the University of Northampton.

“But there are also national and international companies here as we strive to put our county ever more firmly on the map for digital innovation.

“So, it’s great today to welcome global partners like Microsoft,Amazon and Jadu to Merged Futures and we want to welcome even more major players in the tech industry to Merged Futures going forward.”

West Northamptonshire Council Chief Information Officer, Chris Wales, said: “It’s been amazing to be involved with some of the initiatives going on in both special needs education and adult social care.

“Emerging technology, including virtual reality and artificial intelligence and the way they can improve people’s lives, educate and transport them to new worlds, is incredible.

“I think there are some fantastic people working in the sector, and many of them are local, which is even better. There are great prospects for us as a council to seize upon some of that technology and roll it out further, really helping improve the lives of all of our residents.”

Tyronne Leon-Fernandez from RiVR showing off his extended reality map

Tyronne Leon-Fernandez was attending his second Merged Futures event for RiVR, the virtual reality education specialists which among many other initiatives supplies the blue-light services with training products.

He said: “It’s a really good group of guests who come here, they’re really engaged in virtual reality and extended reality and all these types of technologies, but we’re also here to show off what we do and show them something new they’ve never seen before.”

Merged Futures is organised by Digital Northants, a partnership between UON and WNC. To find out more, including free networking sessions at the Vulcan Works, visit the Digital Northants website.