Thinking Digital 2018: Takeaway Points

After a break of a few years I’ve been lucky enough to make it to Thinking Digital 2018, now in it’s 11th year the conference covers a wide range of innovative thinking in “Technology, Ideas, and our Future”.

This event is expertly curated, taking place in one of the premier venues in the North of England, Gateshead’s Sage the attention to detail in the production, tells a lot about how much care and effort the team behind the event put into it.

My top three takeaways (In no particular order)

  1. Paul Irwin who’s created an amazing video based teen drama with TryLife that allows the audience to participate in the story, make choices and be informed about the outcomes of those choices. It’s amazing how far video has come in its use on the web over the last twenty years. This also reaffirmed my belief that what we do in the technology sector can have real effects on people in the world for the better.

  2. Mike Taulty, Developer Evangelist at Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft. Its great to see from a leader in his field the direction interfaces could be taking. We’ve always consumed digital material through a 2D display, that evolved slightly to mobile and touch devices. But the leap to VR, AR and mixed reality is now not too far off. Currently the applications are mainly in the commercial sector and we at Leighton have had some experience with HoloLens and it’s application in engineering. That next leap to a domestic market is going to be a profound change in how we create and consume digital content.

  3. Vankatesh Rao’s talk about the concepts of how we perceive time and how this is changing. Moving away from our life being ordered by our measurement of time to that of our interplay with information flows and how we interact with that information. honestly my mind was blown, as a high consumer of digital channels I’m already on my way to abandoning the traditional concept of time. I’m always plugged in and accessible through my digital devices and that can sometimes be overwhelming.

And a special mention to Ben Morris of Industrial Light and Magic that gave the final presentation. It was amazing (as a Star Wars nerd) to be taken behind the curtain of what goes into special effects in a Star Wars film. The attention to detail that sometimes goes unnoticed by the audience but makes it all the more believable was profound. If our industry could learn one thing from the very established film production industry- and one thing they do well – is the level of planning that they go through, guarantees a high quality end product, which is something we could often improve more in our industry.

As always, thanks to Herb Kim for putting on a great selection of speakers. Thinking Digital reminds you that the North and specifically the North East of England punches above its weight in the technology sector, this is something we should all be proud of.