The innovation agenda is currently a priority for the Northwest.
The Ministry of the Economy presented a vision for a decade of innovation in its paper on the 10X economy.
Thanks to the Derry & Strabane City Deal, Derry will host new centers of excellence in robotics, artificial intelligence and personalized medicine in the years to come.
Soon the region’s premier medical school will educate the future of Northern Ireland’s doctors.
And the Derry City and Strabane District Council, which leads the City Deal program, will pioneer new projects to make Derry a smart city.
So the future looks bright. But the last few times have looked gray in the face of the challenges of Covid-19. How can businesses in the Northwest prepare for the opportunities that lie ahead?
Start small by identifying the parts of your business that are fit for digitization and get qualified team members around you, this is our advice at Magee School of Computer Science, Engineering and Intelligent Systems. . At the Intelligent Systems Research Center (ISRC), our research and technology is a catalyst for innovation. Expertise exists here at your doorstep. There is exciting work going on and it is through a partnership approach that we will succeed in changing, growing and transforming the region.
In an upcoming webinar, titled Innovation for Growth, in partnership between the University of Ulster, Derry City and Strabane District Council and the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Timothy Patterson, from Heysense Ltd, and I will share the story of ‘a new Internet of Things product we developed for CDE Global, which operates a thriving global business in Cookstown. This digital management tool has given CDE a global competitive advantage as none of its competitors have this internet-connected technology to offer.
Industry 4.0 is the coming together of robotics, automation and artificial intelligence (AI). It is the dawn of a new kind of manufacturing encompassing 3D printing and digital technologies in all aspects of production.
As was the case with the Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, cannot be ignored. This collision of the Internet of Things, 3D manufacturing, and AI will create opportunities for Northwestern businesses that embrace it and challenges for those that don’t.
In the Northwest, 20% of all jobs are in the manufacturing industry. In the UK, up to 30% of jobs could be affected by automation by the 2030s.
Therefore, it is essential that we leverage our research knowledge at the University of Ulster to help companies digitize and innovate today. This change, this integration of technology, requires a long-term partnership.
City Deal’s growth plan brings a bold vision and supporting infrastructure to the region to enable growth, change and prosperity. By leveraging our research knowledge, the University of Ulster wishes to support businesses during the recovery period. After COVID-19, this is an important time for business leaders to take stock.
There are tools and support systems to help businesses, but to break it down into first steps, consider digital technology adoption a necessity. Think of your first step or project as a business put away for years to come.
○ Prepare today to innovate tomorrow: At Magee, through our partnerships with industry to tackle various challenges, we help companies adopt new technologies, because it really is the first step. If companies are not agile and do not use digital technologies, then the Internet of Things will not solve any problem for the company because it will be “too far behind” in the race.
○ Strengthen the skills of your workforce: support your employees or recruit employees with long-term skills. Ultimately, our Center for Industrial Digitization, Robotics and Automation (CIDRA) will be an innovation space allowing employees to enter and test new technologies. Until then, consider some of the new industry-relevant courses at the University of Ulster, such as a Master of Science in Smart Manufacturing Systems, now in its second year, led by Dr Emmett Kerr.
○ Adopt data to measure your business in terms of productivity levels: five core technologies are essential in the next 10 to 50 years: artificial intelligence, robotics, automation, internet of things and digital technologies industrial. The reality is that most businesses in the Northwest and elsewhere are not well prepared for these technologies and need support to compete internationally.
Finally, seek advice and avenues for collaboration. We can support you in your innovation journey. The time has come.
Hope you join us for more advice on June 3, 2021 at 11-11.45 a.m. for the first in a series of University of Ulster-led Innovation Stories webinars with partners from City Deal, to present innovation in the North West. The event is open to members and non-members of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce who will host the webinar. We will be joined by Rosalind Young, Investment Manager at Derry City and Strabane District Council, and colleagues from Magee’s School of Business who will present avenues for collaboration with the University of Ulster.
The event will include a question-and-answer session with time for discussion.