The first ever tri-location National Virtual Incubator (NVI) event will take place today (7th February) to celebrate the life of Alan Turing OBE; widely considered to be the father of computer science and artificial intelligence. During World War II, Turing worked for the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where he headed up the section responsible for German naval cryptanalysis.
The participating locations for the ground-breaking NVI event are the Cisco video conferencing suites at Birmingham Science Park Aston, the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and The Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Digital Enterprise Greenwich. Over 150 people from across the three locations are expected to participate.
Dr Mike Short, Vice President of Telefonica Europe will headline the event, which will be facilitated by an interactive feed from each of the three NVI locations. The NVI network has been established by Cisco to heighten the interaction between UK tech entrepreneurs, research institutions and vying tech investors.
Dr David Hardman MBE, CEO of Birmingham Science Park Aston commented: “By using Cisco video conferencing technology, events that would otherwise be confined to one venue can become entirely interactive across various locations. Speakers from each venue can address a much wider audience – irrespective of geographies – while question and answer sessions can run seamlessly, with attendees from each venue being able to participate.
“For start-up tech companies, which by their very nature are ‘born globally’, being able to enjoy life-size communication at the press of a button with people who could change the fortune and direction of their young business is an unprecedented opportunity.”
Turing’s homosexuality resulted in a criminal prosecution in 1952, when homosexual acts were still illegal in the UK. The NVI event is being held during the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) History Month, which takes place every year in February.
Phil Smith, CEO and VP Cisco UK and Ireland said: “The NVI is the next step in Cisco’s collaborative efforts to encourage SME growth and innovation, helping to build a brilliant future for the UK.
“Britain already has a thriving design and academic community, both critical elements in building exciting new products, services and businesses. But we believe that it is the network that can really transform the way these organisations interact and ultimately flourish. The NVI and our wider BIG programme will provide a leading global example of why, in today’s world, it is essential to connect and collaborate in order to innovate and grow.”
Hanadi Jabado, Director of Accelerate Cambridge, part of Judge Business School, which has a mission to assist entrepreneurs out of Cambridge said: “For the first tri-location National Virtual Incubator event to celebrate the life of the father of computer science; Alan Turing OBE is very fitting. The network has been established by Cisco to enable tech incubator and accelerator centres to enjoy state-of-the-art communication with other incubation facilities and research institutions across the country and beyond. “
Councillor Denise Hyland, Royal Borough of Greenwich Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Enterprise and Skills said: “We’re delighted to be part of this initiative, which leads the way on this advancing technology. It’s so exciting to be a part of this huge leap forward in how businesses can connect with each other.
“We’re proud at Digital Enterprise Greenwich to have such fantastic equipment, such as the high definition 65 inch video conferencing screens that can link up to 10 locations simultaneously. It was also fantastic to be able to use this technology to link businesses during the Olympics when we hosted a really successful Business Club here. We’ve invested in Digital Enterprise Greenwich to allow our local entrepreneurs and small businesses access to these kinds of opportunities – we’re a growing community of digital businesses with collaboration at the heart of what’s happening and it’s brilliant that businesses here in Greenwich can access these cutting edge facilities.”
In addition to Birmingham, Cambridge and London, further NVI nodes will be announced by Cisco during 2013. As the network grows, it will enable organisations to pool resources, share ideas and develop business partnerships to help support tech innovation across the UK.
The NVI is part of Cisco’s British Innovation Gateway (BIG) initiative, a significant five year investment of cash, technology and human resources to the value of $500 million, which aims to develop Britain’s innovation eco-system and create an environment in which start-up tech businesses and their ideas can flourish.