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Virgin Media
Techies in Residence
Belfast Live

Digital DNA 2018 Speaker Schedule

Click the tabs below to see full schedule per studio

The Virgin Media Business Studio
The Neueda Studio
Techies in Residence Studio
PwC Keynote Theatre
Belfast Live Studio
The Virgin Media Business Studio
The Neueda Studio
Techies in Residence Studio
PwC Keynote Theatre
Belfast Live Studio
The Virgin Media Business Studio
The Neueda Studio
Techies in Residence Studio
PwC Keynote Theatre
Belfast Live Studio
The Virgin Media Business Studio
The Neueda Studio
Techies in Residence Studio
PwC Keynote Theatre
Belfast Live Studio
09:15 - 09:30
Official Welcome | Digital DNA

09:30 - 11:00
Techies in Residence Seedfund Pitch

Ten of the 2018 Techies in Residence project participants will pitch for a seed fund grant up to a maximum of £15K. The total pot of £90K from Building Change Trust by way of grant aid plus mentoring support seeks to enable further development, prototyping and/or testing of the digital solutions developed through their work on the programme.

09:30 - 10:00
How Virgin Media Business learned to #Voom | Steve Wind-Mozley, Director, Marketing for Virgin Media Business

As a member of the Virgin family, Virgin Media Business is known as being an entrepreneurial challenger within the communication solutions provision market.  In this keynote, Steve Wind-Mozley, Director, Marketing for VMB will explain why innovation is a key part of the brand’s DNA.  We bring this to life in many ways, but a key route is through our VOOM programme.  VOOM is known for being the UK and Ireland’s biggest business pitching competition, helping spark-up, start-up, scale-up and grow-up businesses to unleash their digital potential.  With a £1m prize pot and over 4000 entrants it’s certainly exciting.  In this fast paced key note, Steve will use the stories that Voom has uncovered to explain how VMB’s innovation is accelerated when we follow our mantra of “big helps small/small helps big.


09:30 - 10:00
Let’s hope that our robot overlords will be reasonably benevolent” aka Explaining (Artificial) Intelligence | Niall Lavery, CEO at Veriteer

In this talk Niall will describe the impact that AI is anticipated to have on our working and social lives – including what AI actually means, whether it exists, and how the terms is distracting businesses from the value that it would actually deliver (if it actually existed).


Niall Lavery
CEO | Veriteer
09:30 - 10:00
Delivering the human touch in a digital world | Paula Kennedy-Garcia, Vice President and Market Lead EMEA CEU at Convergys

As a leader in global customer management, being at the cusp of change is critical for Convergys and our clients, and as such we have been investing in our digital future ahead of its time. Whilst many organisations contemplate what digital means and how to begin the journey of transformation, we already generate over a quarter of our global revenues through digitally enabled services.

Despite this shift and whilst digital continues to transform how we live, trade and work today, Convergys continues to grow in human capital. So, how does that compare to the great debacle of man versus machine and the future of the human workforce?

Digital is most definitely changing the customer service landscape.  We see advances in the contact centre environment as we evolve with robots, AI and smart analytics. However, in the race to adopt new digital technologies, the changing face and importance of human-to-human interaction can get lost.

Paula Kennedy-Garcia, Vice President, EMEA Markets and Digital Solutions at Convergys, will share insights about what Convergys is doing to address one of the biggest challenges facing organisations today – how to balance digital and human resources to “deliver the human touch in a digital world”.

Paula Kennedy-Garcia
Vice President - Market Lead EMEA CEU | Convergys
10:00 - 11:00
GDPR: How was it for you? | Forde Campbell Llc

The session will update on the fresh new General Data Protection Regulation, in force from May 25th 2018. It will challenge negative reaction to the legislation as “the 21st Century’s Y2K”: instead, Rory Campbell will focus on the longer-term context of the new data law, by:

explaining the ways in which GDPR allows businesses to continue to use personal data
examining how businesses can build practical compliance processes for the longer term
explaining the reality of the Information Commissioner’s enforcement procedures.

Rory Campbell
Director | Forde Campbell
10:00 - 11:00
Quality Software Looks Like This… | SQS Digital Labs

If you are taking delivery of software, you need to know that it does the right thing, and does it well.  If you don’t know where you need to improve, your users will tell you by leaving. And they might not come back!

Effective quality analytics offers digital businesses support in decision making on critical areas such as software delivery process maturity, QA, compliance, vendor management, production stability and maintenance.

Graeme will demonstrate the value in quality analytics using real world examples of effective and profitable software delivery.

Graeme Clarke
Senior Manager & Global Dev Ops Specialist | SQS Digital Labs
10:00 - 11:00
UBER Transformation at Allstate, How DevOps helped Deliver for the Transportation Giant | Allstate

Learn how embracing DevOps has transformed engineering, development, and even the physical office at Allstate Northern Ireland.
Hear how unifying technology and operations has enabled the delivery of key products to market, including telematics, AI technology as well as a partnership with UBER.

David Bradley
Digital Product Manager | Allstate Northern Ireland
Georgina O’Leary
Director of Compozed Labs and Claims Technology | Allstate Northern Ireland
10:00 - 10:30
Business 2.0 | Søren Rode Andreasen, Chief Digital Officer at Danske Bank

The world is becoming more digitised and the pace of change is increasing.  Danske Bank recognise this and are evolving from a traditional bank to a bank with IT at its core, with the ultimate ambition of becoming a software company with a banking license.

Søren Rode Andreasen is Chief Digital Officer at Danske Bank in Northern Ireland and will share his thoughts about the future.  Søren has more than 10 years’ experience within the technological advanced Nordic financial sector and has a deep technical understanding.  He takes a keen interest in disruptive technologies and the innovations coming out of FinTech and the subsequent impact on society.

Søren is responsible for Danske Bank’s digital transformation and everything related to digitalization and IT in general, including business opportunities, investments, partnering, development and operations.

Danske Bank employs around 1,400 people in Northern Ireland and is the largest lender with a network of 44 branches and three regional business centres. Danske Bank is known for its application of technology and was one of the first banks in the world to launch Open Banking APIs. They are leading the cashless journey in the Nordics with their MobilePay™ payment platform and one of the first banks in the world to support wearable payment solutions, such as Apple Pay™, Fitbit Pay™, Garmin Pay™, and Samsung Pay™.

Søren Rode Andreasen
Chief Digital Officer | Danske Bank
10:30 - 11:00
“Neither RedBox nor Netflix are even on the radar screen in terms of competition” Jim Keyes, Blockbuster CEO 2008 | Leo Johnson, Partner & Disruption Lead at PwC

In the next 10 years, 40% of the Fortune 500 companies will be gone according to the University of Washington. Why?  Because those companies will not survive the emerging technologies about to massively disrupt their business models.  So what can companies do to future proof themselves?

Leo Johnson, PwC’s Disruption lead Partner will discuss possible future scenarios and what organisations can do to ensure their survival.

Leo Johnson
Partner, Disruption Lead | PwC
11:00 - 12:00
Experiential Learning in an Intelligently Connected World

“Learning is a process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience’ Kolb 1984 


“The things we have to learn before we do them, we learn by doing them” Aristotle


If we learn by doing and experimenting, but live in an environment where school budgets are under constant pressure, how do we expose our young people to the opportunities that exist in a fully digital, intelligent, mobile, connected world?

Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer of the GSMA, will tell the compelling story of how a trip to Mobile World Congress in Barcelona took ‘learning outside the classroom’ to a whole new level for 11 students and teachers from Lurgan.

Having seen the impact on these 11 students, Michael and guests will discuss how this initiative will be scaled, with the intention of radically changing education in Northern Ireland. 

Michael O’Hara
Chief Marketing Officer | GSMA
Michelle Corkey
Principal | St Ronans College, Lurgan
Diane Morrow
11:00 - 12:00
Design in AI with Ethics in Mind | Kainos

What is the human impact of AI? It’s a new area of technology and a new paradigm. In this session we’ll discuss with a panel of experts on effective use, good design, and how we ensure early instances of AI interfaces are intuitive for mass adoption –from both users and business perspective.

Kainos will host a panel discussion on this topic at Digital DNA, with a panel of experts.

Aislinn McBride
Principal Architect at Kainos
Rory Hanratty
Deputy CTO at Kainos
Rebecca Walsh
Service Designer at NI Innovation Lab
Chris Price
Product Owner (MOT) at DVSA
Austin Tanney
Head of Life Sciences at Analytics Engines
11:00 - 11:30
The Future is Female ? Inclusive Entrepreneurship in a #MeToo era | Noga Tal, Head of Global Strategic Initiatives at Microsoft for Startups

Entrepreneurial innovation is fast becoming the key to shaping our future, yet startup ecosystems see few women joining their ranks as founders, and even fewer enduring and thriving over time. Microsoft recently conducted in depth research with female tech founders around the globe to better understand their experiences across the lifecycle of building a startup. These findings uncover the unique challenges – and opportunities – women face as entrepreneurs, the different ways women lead as startup founders and the ways in which the industry can take action towards a more equitable entrepreneurial landscape.

Noga Tal
Head of Global Strategic Initiatives | Microsoft for Startups
11:00 - 12:00
The Science of Where | Esri Ireland

Esri Ireland and guests will discuss the importance of location and place for better decision making to improve our environment for the citizen, while at the same time asking what is SMART?

11:30 - 12:00
The Future of Fintech in Belfast after Brexit | Mike Barrett, CEO & Founder at Unosqure

Waves of change have long rolled across Ireland, and the impact of Brexit on Belfast’s growing fintech community is no different. This still-evolving storm has the potential to change the course for UK fintech, and Mike Barrett will share his insights into the coming changes. Mike will draw upon his tech leadership experience in the USA, Mexico. and Belfast by using big wave surfing analogies to discuss how Brexit will impact the relationships and interactions of UK businesses with other EU states. Mike will also discuss opportunities and challenges for British and Irish fintech firms as it pertains to global recruitment for talent and global collaboration that helps drive innovation.


Mike Barrett
CEO & Founder | Unosquare
11:30 - 12:00
Big Data Transforming Businesses | Stephen McKeown, Director, ISG – Enterprise Big Data & Analytics Platforms at Allstate Northern Ireland

Stephen will share his experience working with large multinationals to niche specialists in the areas of digital transformation, Big Data and analytics to share how Big Data is Transforming Businesses.

Stephen McKeown
Stephen McKoewn - Director, ISG - Enterprise Big Data & Analytics Platforms | Allstate Northern Ireland
12:00 - 12:30
Humanising Digital Connections | Naomi Timperley, Director at Tech North Advocates

Stop scheduling social media posts in advance, engage in conversations, be funny, be human. These strategies are all meant to add a more human element to your brand, but there’s an even simpler strategy you can use independently or in conjunction with the tactics listed above; be yourself. Instead of trying to mathematically calculate the perfect way to create a ‘human’ brand voice or trying to predict all your users’ behaviours, just stop thinking like a corporation and start thinking like a person. How do you talk to people in your own life? How do you relate to people? These considerations should be the driving force for your branding campaign. Meet people, talk to people, get to know your customers, be nice and don’t be an a*******.

Naomi Timperley
Director | Tech North Advocates
12:00 - 12:30
Product Engineering: It’s not all about the code | Aisling McGibbon, Product Manager at PwC

It has been said that ‘Technology doesn’t innovate, people innovate’ and yet there still remains a perception that engineering is all about the technology and the code. However, underpinning all of this is the concept of a product, a customer and a balanced team. Engineering teams are made up of a variety of skill sets and understanding their makeup is integral to being a leader.

Aisling has been involved in various roles within the Product Engineering team and will explain how during her journey so far, she has absorbed the learnings, availed of great coaching and led the development of other people.

Explaining this not only through her own lens, but also ‘reverse engineering’ and looking at growth through the mentee’s eyes.

Aisling mcGibbon
Product Manager | PwC
12:00 - 13:00
Delivering Innovation | MCS Group & PA Consulting

PA consulting take a no-holes barred approach to delivering innovation, the importance of experimentation and healthy conflict. Would you like your organisation to be more creative? Perhaps you’d like to introduce more ingenious ideas into your daily work? Come and see Richard & Michael demonstrate how.


12:00 - 13:00
Digital Disruption in the Office Market | Lisney

We have seen how Uber and Air B&B have entirely deconstructed and reinvented the traditional taxi and holiday letting businesses, and closer to home how the face of retailing has been changed across the last decade by the advent of online.

It is not just the creation of these new platforms that have changed traditional business; it is their innate ability to connect and interact and react with multiple, expansive sources of information.

Ingenuity and innovation, combined with access to data and analytics has resulted in a redefining of how we consume services. The challenge for us as a commercial property consultancy is to look at the future of office buildings from an occupier’s perspective.

In this session we’ll discuss the future of office buildings and look at how Belfast is embracing technology and connectivity as we see the advent of ‘Smart-Cities’ around the globe.

12:00 - 12:30
The Marketers Guide to Growth | Kieran Flanagan, VP of Marketing at HubSpot

Lessons from Generating Millions in Leads, Users, and Revenue

Marketing is on a constant quest for growth.

How we achieve that growth changes over time. We have to adapt to changes in algorithms, the popularity of new communication channels like chat and messenger, plus a growing demand from our audience to deliver more value.

The following presentation will go through some of the top marketing lessons Kieran has learned from his time growing traffic, leads, users and revenue for a variety of different companies.

You will walk away from the presentation with tips that can add value to your business overnight.

Kieran Flanagan
VP of Marketing | HubSpot
12:30 - 13:00
Fireside Chat with Dan Kiely, Voxpro
Sean Duffy
Professor in Entrepreneurship | Ulster University Business School
Dan Kiely
CEO and Co-founder | Voxpro (Now Voxpro – powered by TELUS International)
12:30 - 13:30
Health, Wealth and Happiness…the Future | Origin Digital

Digital is a catalyst for accelerated change in almost every area of life. From AI to VR and a lot more in between, our panel of leading thinkers discuss current trends and the opportunities which lie ahead for improving customer experience in the world’s of Healthcare, Banking and Tourism.

Jerry Staple
Co-Founder Director | Origin Digital
Jonny Kelly
Creative Director | Origin Digital
Tim Turner
Head of Business Development | Danske Bank
Mark Regan
CEO | Kingsbridge Private Hospital, 3fivetwo
Jill Robb
Marketing Director | Origin Digital
12:30 - 14:00
Digital Futures hosted by Digital DNA

Digital DNA Futures

13:00 - 13:30
Scaling Digital Revenues | Andrew Fulton & Cameron Stewart, Dawson Andrews

A straight-talking approach to building digital products that that actually drives revenue.

Dawson Andrews is the local product studio with offices in Belfast and Sydney that  everyone’s talking about – join us as Stephen Nolan interrogates the founders on their commercial approach to building digital products that actually deliver on increased revenues.

Founded in response to a web industry that promised creative genius but never stood behind the results, Dawson Andrews have become famously commercially focused, building digital products that provide growing business value. In their first year they landed Toys R Us as a flagship client increasing online revenues significantly. They’ve since worked with clients all over the world, setting up an office in Sydney, Australia and utilised their AI/Machine Learning skills and experience to launch their own chatbot.

Hear from Andrew Fulton and Cameron Stewart, co-founders of Dawson Andrews, about their firms approach with practical recommendations on building profitable  digital products.

Specifically we will address the following topics during the conversation:

  1.  A changing landscape
    •  The end of web agencies as we know it.
    • The opportunity for clients to demand transparency on ROI.
  2. Building a profitable product:
    •  The product mindset
      • Toolkit recommendations
    •  CFO’s meet CDO’s
  3. Building an effective product team
    • Designers who code
    • Commercial instinct
    • Hiring

Andrew Fulton
Founder & Managing Director at Dawson Andrews
Cameron Stewart
Founder | Dawson Andrews
13:00 - 13:30
Privacy isn’t real…you can’t get a little bit pregnant! | Terry Moore, CEO at Outsource Solutions

Is privacy just a myth? Did it ever really exist? You can’t share just a little information, in the same way you can’t be just a little bit pregnant.

Change is one of the few constants in life; technology including AI, ML and QC enable change to happen at a phenomenal rate and on a global scale. Can we really develop further without the ongoing supply and sharing of data and information? Can we really exist without giving up our privacy rights?

It’s decision time … tick the permission access boxes or revert to the cave!

Terry Moore
CEO | Outsource Solutions
13:30 - 14:00
Virtual Reality: Not Just For Gaming | Jeremy Dalton, UK virtual reality and augmented reality lead at PwC

Virtual reality, together with its sister technology, augmented reality, is set to be worth $215 billion by 2021. But how much of this will come from business use and how can this technology be used across different industries? We’ll discuss these points and others

Jeremy Dalton
UK virtual reality and augmented reality lead | PwC
13:30 - 14:00
The Intelligent Workplace | Gillian Armstrong & Gillian McCann, Liberty IT

Learn how Workgrid Software is using AI to make employees more productive, efficient, and connected

Gillian Armstrong
Technologist | Liberty IT
Gillian McCann
Head of Cloud Engineering & AI | Workgrid Software
13:30 - 14:00
Marketing Lessons From Building JUST EAT- UK’s Tech Unicorn from 0 to £1.5 Billion | Ash Ali, First Marketing Director at Just Eat

The First Marketing Director of Just Eat, Ash Ali, will be exploring and showcasing to you the key lessons he learned whilst growing Just Eat into the £1.5B IPO it has become. He will be sharing key strategies, growth, and marketing, creativity, innovation and how to realize your unfair advantage to startup success.

Ash is currently an angel investor and multiple startup founders. He follows the mantra that most startups fail, not because they can’t build the product, but because they can’t get distribution, marketing and growth.


Ash Ali
Former Marketing Director | Just Eat
13:30 - 14:00
Petabyte Scale – How Big Data is Going to Change Everything | Joe Drumgoole, Director of Digital Advocacy EMEA at MongoDb

Right now most businesses are in the terabyte era for data. But given we double the amount of data we store every year a petabyte of data is coming to all of us sooner or later. In this talk, Joe will outline what it means to have a petabyte of data. How you can process it, store it, manage and get the best use out of it.

Joe Drumgoole
Director of Developer Advocacy EMEA | MongoDB
14:00 - 14:30
Techies in Residence Seedfund Pitch | Final

Ten of the 2018 Techies in Residence project participants will pitch for a seed fund grant up to a maximum of £15K. The total pot of £90K from Building Change Trust by way of grant aid plus mentoring support seeks to enable further development, prototyping and/or testing of the digital solutions developed through their work on the programme.

14:00 - 15:00
Jamie Bartlett Keynote
Jamie Bartlett
TV Presenter, Author and Director | Demos
14:30 - 15:30
Creating a Resilient Tech Society | Belfast City Council

How can the innovator community benefit from, grow and transform public
services towards international best practice. Helping the City of Belfast become a truly
resilient city.

Nigel McAlpine
Immersive Lab lead | Digital Catapult
Brendan McCourt
CEO | New Red TV
Deepa Mann Kler
Founder & CEO | Neon
Abbie Triggs
Head of Operations | On Music
Grainia Long
Commissioner for Resilience | Belfast City Council
14:30 - 15:30
How are businesses using AI today and what are the challenges? | Invest NI


Austin Tanney
Head of Life Sciences at Analytics Engines
Dr Tim Davison
CTO | Brainwave Bank
Kelly Moore
Software Engineer | Kainos
Dr Alastair McKinley
CTO | Analytics Engines
Jason Bell
14:30 - 15:00
Why every company should become a media company – Video content to build your brand

Exploring the changing landscape of marketing and video production for brands.  Niall explores how the old paradigm has shifted

and why you no longer need to invest in a printing press, a satellite or a sales team in order to tell your story and build an audience.

The faster your company realises its a media company the more likely it is to succeed in the new digital world.

Nial Carlin
Creative Director | DoubleJump Studios
14:30 - 15:00
Smartworking – the 4th Industrial Revolution | Sue Marshall, CEO at Abodoo

The world of work is changing.. the reasons are numerous; emissions, the cost of city living, worker demands, the fight for talent and quite simply the fact that it’s in the best interests of employers and workers if work;life harmony can be achieved… At Abodoo we call this Smartworking – and it’s the 4th industrial revolution.  I will share some insights tips and real life case studies and give you some food for thought if you’re not already Smartworking.

Sue Marshall
CEO | Abodoo
15:00 - 16:00
Cayan DevOps: from zero to hero | Cayan

Exploring how we have applied DevOps principles to transform our releases from a painful multi-week experience to a routine task, and how we have further applied these methods in a non-traditional way to our payment terminals

Scott Wallace
Director of Engineering | Cayan
Mark O’Neill
SET Architect for Embedded systems | Cayan
15:00 - 15:30
Decentralising the future of Digital Marketing | Sara Simeone, VP Marketing & Blockchain at Wakelet

Machine Learning helps humans to understand and solve problems in a more efficient way, promising to be a major innovation for the digital marketing sector. The use of Machine Learning is now becoming widespread within digital marketing practices and it is critical that leaders in the DM field adopt and develop ML to help them find the golden nuggets of knowledge in their consumer data and disentangle marketing processes. However, the results of the research conducted amongst 10 senior marketers across the globe has shown that most of these algorithm-based decisions are still centralised and blockchain technology may be the answer to bring back transparency and trust to the digital ecosystem. Sara will discuss the major benefits and improvements that these technologies promise to deliver.

Sara Simeone
VP Marketing | Wakelet
15:00 - 15:30
When Games Become Reality | Quinn Buchanan, President at eMersive Systems

Quinn Buchanan (President of eMersive Systems) has seen and done it all in the world of video gaming. From major titles like Grand Theft Auto to gamification with military and the health sector. Today his friend and colleague Matthew Scott, (CEO, Navada Studios) will chart Quinn’s extraordinary career and explore what the future holds for both the video game industry and how gamification will play a role in our everyday lives as creators, players and consumers… 

Quinn Buchanan
VP Strategic Development | Leviathan Games
Matthew Scott
CEO | Navada Studios
15:00 - 16:00
From Idea to IPO: Funding Your Future | Tughans

Session 1 – Grant/Venture Capital funding – considerations

This panel will discuss the grant funding landscape in Northern Ireland together with a specific nod to proof of concept grants. We will touch on working with Invest Northern Ireland and what is available for start-ups as regards resources and grants and get a flavour for the wider venture capital position.

Hal Wilson of Techstart NI will share information on what is available from Techstart, while John Miller of Invest NI will reflect on the journey of certain high profile start-ups through their initial years. Rachel Gawley of AppAttic and Martin Spollen of Yeddup will give a flavour from the investee company side. 

Session 2 – Growth to IPO

This panel brings together seasoned entrepreneurs and investors who will provide insights and advice on how to successfully grow your company. 

Dr Paul Kerr, who helped steer Fusion Antibodies to its successful IPO in 2017 and Des Speed, who drove both Lagan Technologies and PathXL to successful exits in recent years, will be on hand to share their experience and offer advice on how to successfully grow your company, while Allen Martin, Kernel Capital, and James Foster, Accelerated Digital Ventures, can offer an investor’s perspective on the growth journey.  Expect to hear invaluable insights and lessons learned from those who have been there and done that.

John McGuckian
Partner | Belfast
Andrew Kirke
Director | Tughans
Rachel Gawley
CEO | AppAttic
Hal Wilson
Investment Director | Techstart Ventures LLP
John Miller
Client Manager | Invest NI
Paul O’Brien
Director | Tughans
Dr Paul Kerr
CEO | Fusion Antibodies
Des Speed
Chairman | BrainWaveBank
Allen Martin
Partner | Kernel Capital
James Foster
Investment Lead | ADV
Martin Spollen
Director & Chief Investment Office | Yedup
15:30 - 16:00
Securing the future for you and your business | Keith Lippert, Vice President, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer at Allstate

David Crozier, Head of Strategic Partnerships & Engagement at CSIT will be host to an interactive Q&A with Keith Lippert from Allstate, exploring the world of cyber security. This session will cover breaches, phishing and cyber nightmares to explore how to avoid security threats. Keith will also discuss the balance of security and innovation at Allstate.

Keith Lippert
Vice President, Deputy Chief Information Security Officer | Allstate
David Crozier
Head of Strategic Partnerships & Engagement | CSIT
15:30 - 16:30
SMEs – The Heart of a Smart City | The Open University

This session will explore the meaning of Smart through showcases from Belfast, Dublin and Milton Keynes and will consider the role of SMEs in informing, innovating and delivering the Smart Cities of the 21st Century.  This is a workshop session where SMEs are asked to consider what they would like to see happening to support them at the Heart of a Smart City. Come along and get involved.

15:30 - 16:00
The Future is Here | Jerry Staple, Co-founder at Origin Digital

Jerry Staple is the Co Founder & Innovation Director of Origin Digital. In this keynote Jerry will take the audience on a fascinating journey into The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the exploration and likelihood of mainstream adoption of game changing technologies such as Blockchain, IOT, Mixed Reality, Cryptocurrency and Implantable technology.

Jerry Staple
Co-Founder Director | Origin Digital
16:00 - 16:30
Workforces of the future – what will your colour be? | Brian McAreavey, Managing Director at PwC Augment

The traditional workforce has changed and it will continue to do so in this era of rapid technological advancement.  In PwC’s report ‘Workforce of the Future – The competing forces shaping 2030‘ we set out  ‘Four Worlds of Work in 2030’. Brian will give a brief run through of all the ‘worlds’  but will focus on the Red World, which has been identified as a likely future,

Brian will lead the audience through the concept of ‘contingent workforces’, explaining the impact this new employer-employee trend will have on the individual worker and also on employers, supporting the concept with reference to where this new concept has already taken hold, and how PwC has reacted.

Brian McAreavey
Managing Director | PwC Augment
16:00 - 16:30
Can AI save lives? The impact so far of AI in healthcare | Austin Tanney, Head of Life Science and Healthcare at Analytics Engines
16:00 - 16:30
The Future Shape Of The Digital Industry | Nigel Collier, CEO at Skylab

How digital companies need to operate to survive and thrive.

First of all, what is the digital industry? That’s a big topic in itself. Let’s assume the digital industry embraces digital companies such as marketing, data, fintech, cyber, dev ops and digital innovation companies etc.

Do we need to do everything in-house to win clients and offer them the best service? Do we need to be a company that offers website design and build, app development, SEO, social media, content creation, cyber security, hosting services… in fact every service under the sun, in order to be considered the ‘experts’?

Nigel Collier CEO of digital innovation agency Skylab, takes a pragmatic look at how digital companies might operate in the future to offer an optimal service for clients and achieve healthy, sustainable and long term growth.

Nigel Collier
CEO | Skylab
16:30 - 17:30
Humans in Tech | Lean In’s Women in Tech Belfast


What’s it really like to be working in tech today?

Humans in Tech is a topical and frank discussion on how we manage as people working in the fast-changing and competitive environment that is tech.

We will cover off issues such as the need for balancing the demands of work and life including parenting, flexible working, coping with stress and mental health issues, diversity and inclusion, professional development and how we attract and keep the best diverse and inclusive  talent to our organisations – both locally and from outside the UK.
Our panel is comprised from a wide range of backgrounds and bring a diverse set of experiences to the discussion.

This will be a lively session!

All humans cordially invited!  

16:30 - 17:30
The Magic and the Machines – beyond online vs offline

We’re so beyond just advertising and/or digital campaigns. Digital is no longer the last thing planned with any budget that’s left.  In a communications world where the lines are blurred – creativity is driven by digital, not just delivered. Strategic advertising, brand and communications campaigns can comprise all platforms and technologies simultaneously, seamlessly.
Local members of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) – ASG & Partners, Ardmore, Genesis, Navigator Blue and RLA – share a platform with Nigel Gwilliam, Head of Media & Emerging Tech at the IPA, and discuss creative integration of the magic and the machines that ensure payback on Clients’ budgets.
There may be an opportunity for questions…with any time that’s left.

Valerie Ludlow
CEO | Asg & Partners
Stephen Roycroft
Managing Director | RLA Ireland
Ed Canning
Digital Lead | Navigator Blue
Nicola Cadogan
Digital Marketing Director | Ardmore Advertising
Ruth Jackson
Senior Digital Creative | Genesis
16:30 - 17:30
How to engage with the people who really matter & build out your product roadmap | ProductTank Belfast
Joe Drumgoole
Director of Developer Advocacy EMEA | MongoDB
Nigel Collier
CEO | Skylab
16:30 - 17:30
Digital Diaspora | The Ireland Funds

16:30 - 17:30
The challenges facing Start-ups in a global economy | Digital DNA

09:30 - 10:00
UK Institute of Coding and how NI can get involved? | Arosha Bandara, Professor of Software Engineering at Open University

The increasing ubiquity of connected computing devices means that digital technologies are embedded into a range of human activities, including agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, policing.  This creates demand for digital skills across all sectors of the economy, creating a significant challenge for closing the UK’s digital skills gap. This challenge, acknowledged in UK’s Digital Strategy, can be attributed to number of factors: limited collaboration between industry and education providers, a lack of effective knowledge sharing across the digital skills development ecosystem, and a restricted student base in which women and those returning to work, in particular are under-represented.

In this talk, I will explore these factors and discuss how they are being addressed by the Institute of Coding IoC – www.instituteofcoding.org).  This is a new, exciting, national initiative, led by the University of Bath, supported by theme leaders the Open University, Aston University, Coventry University, and Queen Mary University of London. The Institute brings together universities, industry, training providers and professional bodies to address the UK’s digital skills gaps.

Arosha’s talk will discuss The Open University’s role as the leader for the Institute’s “University Learners” theme and outline the work it is undertaking in this area.  This includes collaboration with industry and educators to create an IoC accreditation standard, a modular curriculum focusing on key areas such as cyber security and data science, as well as technologies like Blockchain and data analytics to enhance teaching and improve educational outcomes.

Arosha Bandara
Professor of Software Engineering | Open University
09:30 - 10:30
Business Models Under Threat | Digital DNA

The impact of ‘Digital Transformation’

Digital DNA Favicon

The world’s biggest brands and companies are digitally transforming to meet the needs of the their users and customers. However, whilst implementing new touchpoints, systems and customer experiences is doable, sometimes their pre-existing business model comes under thread as a result.

Digital DNA are bringing together a panel of business leaders who are challenging business model change in their respective industries.

Hosted by Clodagh Rice from BBC NI

10:00 - 10:30
Fireside Chat with Henry Helgeson, President, Integrated Solutions, for TSYS
Henry Helgeson
President, Integrated Solutions | TSYS
10:00 - 11:00
NI – Competing on the Global Innovation Stage | Belfast Shapers

Find out who the Global Shapers are, who the Belfast Shapers are and the Projects they have worked on and are working on including an exciting international conference heading to Belfast in August, Shape Europe.

During this high energy, impactful and thought provoking session they will discuss topics such as;

  • The Future Story of Northern Ireland

  • NI on the Cusp – Our Innovation Ecosystem

  • How we tell our story through the creative industries  

  • How we compete on a global stage

Orla McGreevy
Senior Business Development Executive | 4c Executive
Joe Devlin
Forecasting Analyst | Viridian Group
Karishma Kusurkar
Designer | Karishma's World
Mark O’Donnell
CTO | Elastic Energy
Stuart Irwin
Trustee | Integrated Alumni NI
10:00 - 11:00
When I Grow Up I Want To Be A Data Scientist | Danske Bank


Danske Bank

The Harvard Business Review is frequently quoted as saying “Data Scientists are the rock stars of the 21st Century”.  In this practical studio session, find out what is a data scientist, how Danske Bank is transforming its use of data and what you can do to get on the data science ladder.

Marion Rybnikar is the Head of Data at Danske Bank and will share her thoughts on the evolution of data analytics.  Marion has more than 20 years of experience within technology and previous worked for New York Stock Exchange Technology division and the global e-commerce company Chain Reaction Cycles.  Marion will be sharing practical advice on how she grew her career from Excel expert to becoming a Big Data specialist, and the steps you can take to ensure your skills are still relevant in the 4thIndustrial Age.


Marion Rybnikar
Head of Data | Danske Bank
10:00 - 10:30
Agile Transformation part of the Digital Transformation | Dejan Ćušić, Business Director, Ireland & UK at Comtrade Digital Services

Solutions for the top 3 “Agile TRANSFORMATION” Challenges.

As part of their Digital Transformation journey, many organisations are doing “Agile TRANSFORMATION” of their delivery engine at the same time. It is very complex process which require very diverse set of managerial skills. In this session we will discuss what are the top 3 “Agile TRANSFORMATION” challenges and what are the solutions to those challenges.

Dejan Ćušić
Business Director, Ireland & UK | Comtrade Digital Services
10:30 - 11:00
Disruptive Technology from Belfast | Brendan Monaghan, CEO at Neueda
Brendan Monaghan
CEO | Neueda
10:30 - 11:00
The Balancing Act of Tech, Business and Customers

As the CTO of a fast growing technology business moving from start-up, to scale-up and wider commercialisation, the challenges of balancing tech development, business vision and customer requirements is a continuous discussion.

Over the past year at Secure Broadcast it has been particularly important to continuously review and improve development processes to maximise efficiency and ensure the right decisions are being made. This includes product, technology and R&D decisions that will shape the future of the tech stack and product roadmap.

This talk will outline how these decisions are made and nurturing a culture which makes the best of the talent and opinions from across the team, not just management.

11:00 - 12:00
Technology and Democracy – friends or foes | Community Foundation of NI

The session will look at whether technology supports or undermines democracy and in what ways and circumstances. At the macro level this could look at data harvesting, fake news and electoral interference on the one hand and digital fact-checking, the surge in digital citizen movements and platforms on the other. The session will also profile examples tech platforms that have been used effectively to enhance people’s participation and strengthen democracy.


Andrew McCracken; CEO of Community Foundation for Northern Ireland

Dr. Roslyn Fuller; Director, Solonian Democracy Institute

Máirín Murray; Digital Innovator at Digital Doddle, Co-founder Tech for Good Dublin

Alan Meban; Chair of FactCheckNI Advisory Group

11:00 - 11:30
Supernova Hunter to Big Data Discoverer | Deborah Hunter, Data Scientist at Allstate NI

Exploring the known and unknowns in big data

Supernova are the biggest, brightest explosions in the universe and occur when a large star reaches the end of its stellar evolution.  Its lifetime can range from million years for the most massive to billions of years for the least massive.

Scientists use imaging techniques in the hunt to identify supernovae and data analysis techniques to unlock the mysteries of the universe and dark energy.  The exponential growth of Astronomical data pose various challenges and opportunities. Ground- and Space-based large sky survey projects each have their own format, which causes difficulty with integrating data from various sources in the analysis phase.

This talk will cover challenges of living in a big data era, why we should learn about the world with big data views, how cutting-edge tech and machine learning techniques overlap between data-intensive Astronomy and the constantly evolving Insurance Industry. The Era of Big Data is here.

Deborah Hunter
Data Scientist | Allstate NI
11:00 - 12:00
Digital DNA upStart Pitches | Heat 1


Heat 1 of upSTART, the startup pitch competition at Digital DNA that brings together a whole host of top UK and Irish tech startups. 

Hosted by Startacus, the startup competition will play out over 2 rounds, starting with 24 disruptive startups and culminating with 1 eventual winner. The first round, a 3 minute pitch to judges with no presentation, will showcase all 25 startups, with a shortlisted 5-6 finalists then pitching on the ‘Main Stage’ for the chance to be crowned the upSTART champion for 2018. 

11:00 - 12:00
A Fresh Look at R&D Tax Credits | RDP Associates

Project qualifications and the impact of HMRC new rules on a claim’s eligibility

RDP Associates will discuss new methods documenting R&D claims as standard practices no longer have the required strength to ensure a claim’s eligibility before submission.

Significant changes made by HMRC have altered the way claims are assessed and reviewed for R&D expense claims.

15 months ago, HMRC embarked on enhancing the consistency in the treatment of software-based claims. In their opinion, what was once state-of-the-art technology just a few years ago, has now become routine and prevalent to those in such sectors as FinTech, DevOps, Innovation, and Security, putting them at risk of ineffective standard approaches.

This session is designed to help professionals claim R&D tax credits with great confidence. The speaker will also offer a variety of examples and best practices to capture and maximise costs. Followed by a live Q&A session.  

HMRC has clearly raised their game, isn’t it time you raised yours?

A.K Hajee
Director of Technical Services | RDP Associates
11:00 - 11:30
From Digital Graduate to The Apprentice boardroom | Joanna Jarjue, Final 5 candidate, BBC’s The Apprentice

Joanna Jarjue will share her incredible story of the journey that took her from digital graduate to facing Lord Sugar in BBC’s The Apprentice in 2017. As one of the youngest ever contestants, Joanna’s tenacity saw her through to the final 5 and the dreaded interview stage. During this keynote talk, hear Joanna talk in detail about:

  1. My story from being a new graduate working in digital to The Apprentice boardroom 
  2. The biggest lesson I learnt from my job in digital which gave me even more confident that there was a market for my business idea 
  3. How my journey on The Apprentice as the youngest was very similar to the ups and downs of a new business startup 
  4. How I plan to use digital for my new collection 
Joanna Jarjue
Final 5 Candidate | BBC's The Apprentice 2017 Contestant
11:30 - 12:00
The robots are coming; running your business in the digital age | Tony Price, Digital Business Partner at PwC
Tony Price
Partner, Digital Private Business | PwC
12:00 - 12:30
Building a global brand on zero marketing spend | Russell Dalgleish, Founder & Managing Partner at Exolta Capital Partners

There has never been a better time to scale-up an international business, but through the application of the right tools and techniques, this can be achieved without breaking the bank. Hear how to:

  • Build a tribe
  • The critical importance of “the message”
  • Secure publicity
  • Influence is everything
  • The essential digital toolset for the non-technical entrepreneur
  • Get to “yes”
Russell Dalgleish
Serial Scottish Entrepreneur and Investor, Strategist and Innovator | Exolta Partners
12:00 - 12:30
Intelligently artificial: what AI can do for business today
Max Cleary
Partnerships Lead - AI, Immersive & Blockchain | Digital Catapult
12:00 - 12:30
From Farm to Tech Founder, with no technical background! | Harry Beard, Founder at Open

This talk will look at how Harry started his technology based marketing firm. From being a 15 year old who didn’t (and still doesn’t) know a line of code or how to build a computer, but stumbled into the world of technology and is now recognised and working with some of the globe’s biggest companies, whilst still in school. The talk will provide an insight into disruption, Generation Z, influencer marketing, but also grounding the talk with a notion of responsibility emphasising that SME’s are not to be forgotten about and should, in his opinion, be at the focus of many companies.

Harry Beard
Founder | Open
12:00 - 12:30
Data – our greatest strategic threat or opportunity? | Liberty Vittert, Statistician, Data Scientist and STEM ambassador

How to spot the lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Using real-life examples and good old common sense, we are going to learn what questions we should be asking of data in order to spot the lies, damned lies, and statistics (with a little fake news thrown in there for good measure).

Data is a company’s greatest strategic threat, but also its greatest strategic opportunity. We live in a new world where numbers are everywhere; we collect more information than we ever thought possible.

Numbers are more than useful, they are essential and if you want to deliver real value to your company and frankly, in your personal life, you must understand them.


Dr Liberty Vittert
Statistician, Data Scientist and STEM ambassador
12:30 - 13:00
Ethics in an AI World | Claire Dillion, Technology Evangelist

AI is one of the tech mega-trends propelling us into the 4th Industrial Revolution. AI applications have the power to positively impact the way we live and work. However, with great power comes great responsibility – and as businesses rush to leverage the power of AI, there are some ethical issues emerging.  

The responsibility for ethical AI doesn’t just lie with techies, but also with business owners and decision makers. This presentation gives an overview of where those ethical pitfalls lie and some practical steps on how to avoid them.

Claire Dillon
Technology Evangelist
12:30 - 13:00
Connecting for Growth | Ciaran Quilty, Vice President, EMEA SMB at Facebook

With the global move to mobile, the rise of video and messaging, and the skyrocketing rise in people’s willingness to do business online, the way small businesses can grow and thrive is changing immeasurably. With access to the same digital business tools as the largest businesses and by hiring people with the right skills for the mobile economy, smaller companies can easily build community and find new customers around the world.

Ciaran Quilty
Vice President, EMEA SMB | Facebook
12:30 - 13:30
Digital Futures hosted by Digital DNA

Digital DNA Futures

13:00 - 13:30
Become the Story: The digital future of global media engagement | Matthew Scott, CEO of Navada Studios

We’ve had Youtube, influencers, social video, Facebook live and dog ears.. but the balance between good storytelling, distribution and engagement is taking new twists.

Hear what’s now and next from Matthew Scott CEO of NAVADA STUDIOS – a native of Northern Ireland who is playing on the global stage of Digital Media Futures…

Matthew Scott
CEO | Navada Studios
13:00 - 14:00
Digital DNA upStart Pitches | Heat2

Heat 2 of upSTART, the startup pitch competition at Digital DNA that brings together a whole host of top UK and Irish tech startups. 

Hosted by Startacus, the startup competition will play out over 2 rounds, starting with 24 disruptive startups and culminating with 1 eventual winner. The first round, a 3 minute pitch to judges with no presentation, will showcase all 25 startups, with a shortlisted 5-6 finalists then pitching on the ‘Main Stage’ for the chance to be crowned the upSTART champion for 2018. 

13:30 - 14:00
How VR & AR will disrupt the Holywood Movie industry | Rock Jacobs, Founder, Director & Producer at Rebel of America
Rock Jacobs
Director , Producer and Founder | Rebel of America
13:30 - 14:30
Creating a workforce to thrive amongst robots | Convergys

Automation and AI are already disrupting the way organisations operate, in many sectors, and this is set to accelerate over the next 3-5 years. Paula Kennedy-Garcia, Vice President, EMEA Markets and Digital Solutions at Convergys, will host an impressive panel of business and industry leaders – to discuss the impact of digital transformation on our current workforces, and share insights about what organisations need to plan for to be successful and attractive for a changing millennial workforce of the future, to thrive in a new era powered by robots.

Paula Kennedy-Garcia
Vice President - Market Lead EMEA CEU | Convergys
13:30 - 14:30
Digital DNA Futures | Final Pitches

Digital DNA Futures

14:00 - 14:30
Disrupting Industry: Delivering Social Mobility | Rioch Edwards-Brown, Founder at So you wanna be on TV

In 2018 Gen Y become the most dominant in the workforce, disrupting many sectors. Who is curating for Gen Z?

By 2020 – forty percent of all economic spend will be by Gen Z. Those that engage now will be the new global market leaders.

So You Wanna Be In TV?  Founder, Rioch Edwards-Brown will be providing practical steps industry can take to future proof itself and attract Gen Y Gen Z talent.

Rioch Edwards-Brown
Founder | So you wanna be on TV
14:30 - 15:00
Community currencies as the engine driving smart cities | Dr. Dana Heller, Chief Economics & Regulation Office at Colu

Cities face an unprecedented digital opportunity. More and more, cities are looking to integrate digital innovation in their frontline services. Municipalities are increasingly looking for technologies which can better help them achieve strategic city priorities. There is growing recognition that a smart city model, which integrates services can help achieve these goals.

Virtual community-based currencies are one of the most promising developments that could help to make this reality. They serve as a gateway to a city-wide financial ecosystem, which is used by residents, businesses, municipalities and city suppliers. Moreover, they can be utilised not only to efficiently deliver payments for services and products, but to incentivise positive behaviour and consequently enhance the everyday life of a city.  

Dr Dana Heller
Chief Economics and Regulation Officer | Colu
14:30 - 15:30
New tech, Prosperity and Peace | Centre for Democracy and Peace Building

Centre for Peace and democracy building

In this session, organised in partnership with Build Up and the Centre for Democracy and Peace Building, we will explore how creative industries and technological innovation in private, public and community sectors are re-shaping economic organisation, and how these can be leveraged to create more equitable and peaceful societies.

Tim Brundle
Director of Research & Impact | Ulster University
Michaela Ledesma
Programs Director | Build Up/Build Peace
John Peto
Director of Education | Nerve Centre
Eva Grosman
CEO | Centre for Democracy and Peace Building
14:30 - 15:00
Building a 22nd century organisation | John Healy, Vice President & Managing Director at Allstate Northern Ireland

Join Vice President and Managing Director to learn how Allstate are building a 22 nd century
The insurance industry today is facing unprecedented demands and grappling with regulatory
environments as well as demographic shifts and changing customer behaviours. If Allstate can
anticipate and plan for change, reacting quickly then it can create its own future. Learn how Allstate
is future proofing against digital disruption.

John Healy
Vice President & Managing Director | Allstate Northern Ireland
14:45 - 15:00
Digital DNA upStart | Finalists Announced

Join us as our upStart judges announce the 6 startups that will pitch in the PwC Keynote Theatre at 4pm to win a £5k cash prize and prize fund in excess of £50k.


15:00 - 16:00
Start, Middle & End?: The Future Story | Navada Studios

Navada Logo

The global media industry is being turned on its head in the digital age. Formats, platforms, devices, access and interactivity are all being disrupted! So what is ‘the future story’ and how will it be told? We’ve seen the emergence of VOD, Streaming, Social video, VR, AR, immersive content and even the blurring of fiction and reality… Where is it all leading us and what is our role?

This panel led by Media Futures entrepreneur Matthew Scott, CEO of Navada Studios, pulls together some of the most exciting talent in the industry from Hollywood Director and VR/AR pioneer Rock Jacobs (Rebel of America),  Future-thinking TV Producer and Tech entrepreneur Steve McCormack from Straywave Media and the exciting young media mogul, Ali Ryan, Founder and CEO of Goss Media.

Matthew Scott
CEO | Navada Studios
Rock Jacobs
Director , Producer and Founder | Rebel of America
Ali Ryan
CEO and Founder | Goss Media
15:00 - 16:00
The Digital Human: Our world is digital, and everyone is becoming a digital human | Seamus Cushley, Blockchain, FinTech & Digital Director at PwC

The Digital Human

Our world is digital, and everyone is becoming a digital human.

Today we live in a world of constant change, a time of change not previously experienced by mankind.

It’s a time when disruptive technologies such as AI, AR, VR, blockchain and robotics are prevalent in how we live, work and relate to one another.

However, digital is rapidly assisting mankind in its never ending race to progress. So much so,  that the line between humans and digital is becoming more blurred.

In this conversation, we will discuss how what’s commonly referred to as the ‘4th industrial revolution’ is changing the rules, revolutionising not just technology and business, but humanity itself.


Seamus Cushley
Director, Blockchain, FinTech & Digital | PwC
15:00 - 16:00
Security transformation underpinning your digital transformation | Ward Solutions & McAffee

Positioning the opportunity, risks, challenges to organisation arising from digital transformation , resultant new or innovative business models and resultant greater digital dependence.
What’s the status and scope of current or legacy information security and gaps?
What Security transformation is required in order to support digital transformation, new business models and to mitigate the new risks?

Pat Larkin
Chief Executive | Ward Solutions
15:00 - 16:00
Why Digital Projects Fail | GCD Technologies

Let’s be real, despite our very best efforts, few digital projects ever run 100% to plan or budget. Many overrun. Some fail to be adopted or to achieve their desired results. Others don’t ever see the light of day.

Based on almost 20 years experience delivering digital projects, Andrew will share what he has learned about how to run a successful digital project – including how preparation for failure is key for a positive outcome and how to spot issues early enough to make an impact.

This talk is essential for business owners, managers, and PMs. Whether you have big plans for business transformation, are installing a new ERP or perhaps just revamping your website, the principles covered in this talk will help prepare you to succeed – even if failures do occur.

Andrew Gough
Managing Director | GCD Technologies
16:00 - 17:00
Digital Futures hosted by Digital DNA

Digital DNA Futures

16:00 - 17:00
up Start Belfast 2018 – Finals

Select date to see events.

They Spoke



Top 5 Candidate | BBC's The Apprentice 2017



TV Presenter, Author and Director | Demos



Statistician, Data Scientist and STEM ambassador



Director , Producer and Founder | Rebel of America



CEO | Skylab



President, Integrated Solutions | TSYS



President | eMersive Systems



CRM Director | Edit



Co Founder | Tech North Advocates



Emerging Client Solutions UK & Continental Europe | Twitter



Head of Global Strategic Initiatives | Microsoft



VP Small & Medium Business Division | Facebook

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