Design is now fundamental to the growth of ambitious businesses, particularly fast growing technology companies with plans to scale up amidst a backdrop of massive change – according to the curators of major technology conference BelTech 2018.
Speaking at the launch of the fifth annual BelTech event, Tom Gray said design needs to be redefined as more than just how things look. In fact, it is about getting closer to customers and creating products and services that meet their needs, as well as a critical success factor in the creation of experiences that people love.
“Technology is the great enabler, but design is the difference. Just look at Uber, Alibaba, Airbnb and Dropbox. These are companies that don’t ship goods, but through a profound understanding of their customers, have created game-changing experiences,” said Mr Gray.
“Technology is undeniably important but it’s the focus on customer experience that makes the difference. This is why design’s role in technology is the most important conversation we need to have right now.”
BelTech 2018, which takes place on May 3, aims to be the premier technology event for local technology professionals, developers, designers, entrepreneurs and young people aspiring to break into the industry.
The event is curated by Northern Ireland-based digital solutions provider Kainos Software and will feature influential international speakers from the worlds of Software Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Immersive Tech and Design.
Mr Gray, who is Group Chief Technology Officer at Kainos, said that by introducing a ‘Design in Tech’ theme through BelTech 2018, the conference offers a chance to look at how technology, business and the human dimension converge in today’s start-up and enterprise ecosystems.
He said: “Design in Technology is a new paradigm that reaches far beyond Silicon Valley, so it makes sense that we explore what that means for Belfast’s tech sector. This is no fad. Companies need to invest more in design to really succeed on a global scale. And rebalancing the make-up and diversity of product teams is a key priority.”
The rapidly evolving role of ‘Design in Tech’ and the tangible contribution that it makes to the bottom line has been reflected in increased demand for designers pairing with developers.
Mr Gray noted that some of the world’s leading brands have increased their investment in design, but many are still struggling to put that investment to best use.
“Business leaders are starting to recognise the value of design in technology. Solving problems through a technology-only lens, can often lead to over-engineered solutions with not nearly enough consideration for the customers and their challenges and needs,” he added.
“We are delighted to be sponsoring and curating BelTech 2018, bringing emerging technologies and topical issues such as Design in Tech to the fore, and playing our part in inspiring both the current and next generations of local technology leaders.”
During the two day conference, speakers from local and global high tech organisations will interact with attendees at a series of workshops and keynote presentations, while 400 post-primary students will have the opportunity to attend inspirational sessions about sustainable digital career paths.
Organisations taking part in BelTech 2018 include Analytics Engines, Amazon, Big Motive, Liberty IT and the Digital Catapult Northern Ireland. Speakers for BelTech2018 will be announced over the coming weeks.
BelTech 2018 is supported by Bank of Ireland, Belfast City Council, Allstate, Microsoft and Kernel Capital.
Conference passes are available for £75 +VAT for a single ticket, with a Company Pass for three delegates available at £200 +VAT. Early bird tickets are available until April 13. For more information please visit www.beltech2018.com or find BelTech on Twitter @Beltech2018 or #Beltech2018.