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The O2 Blue Door Conference: Wrap Up

Gareth Turpin, Sales Director at O2, reports on the O2 Blue Door Conference, held on 27 September 2018. 

Last week saw delegates from more than 700 organisations descend on The O2 in Greenwich for O2’s first Blue Door Conference, a day designed specifically for businesses and public sector organisations, focusing on the topics and technologies that affect the future of everyone working and living in the UK.

The mobile opportunity

Mark Evans, O2’s Chief Executive Officer, opened the conference by outlining his vision for mobile’s role in the UK’s future prosperity.

We are living through a digital revolution with mobile connectivity at its heart. Every day we have interactive experiences powered by virtual and augmented reality, enabled through the data collected by hundreds of millions of connected devices.”

Mobile connectivity already contributes billions to the UK’s economic output and, according to Deloitte, it enables 50% of British workforce to do their job every single day. With 5G expected to overtake fixed line and broadband by 2026, mobile represents arguably the most powerful opportunity to strengthen our economy and enrich our society.

Innovation lessons from Netflix

Our morning guest speaker was Chris Whiteley, Head of Partnerships at Netflix, UKIE. Chris shared with us the role that innovation and partnerships have played at Netflix, as well as the company’s core values that have helped to create the Netflix success story. A success that has seen the number of streaming members grow from zero in 2007, to today’s membership base of over 130 million in more than 190 countries.

We learned how everyone at Netflix, regardless of role, shares a responsibility for innovation. It’s one component of Netflix’s culture and, as Chris told us, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!

Ready for change?

O2’s Chief Digital & Strategy Officer, Jo Bertram, has recently joined us from Uber. She gave the conference participants her insights for growth gained from her time working for a rapidly scaling, disruptive business. The successful companies of tomorrow will be innovative, customer led organisations that deliver ever more personalisation through analysis of the data they collect. They must also learn to collaborate and adapt to stay ahead.

Deep diving

Following Jo’s address delegates took part in a series of deep dive discussion panels, each focused on one of the technologies that our customers most often discuss with us. The groups comprised Big Data & Artificial Intelligence (AI), the customer experience, cyber security, the digital workplace of the future, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

For each topic, we assembled an expert panel of contributors from industry and the technology sector, who shared their opinions about some of the opportunities afforded by the technology over the coming years.

Live demonstrations

Throughout the day a number of our partner organisations demonstrated some of the technologies that the conference focused on. These included:

  • 5G demonstrations; showcasing the role that the high speeds, low power consumption and low latency of 5G will play at home and at work in the future.
  • Autonomous vehicles; the control software and the platforms needed to ensure successful operation and integration with smart city infrastructure.
  • Next generation comms; including LiFi for cutting edge wireless technology that turns LED lights into high speed and secure wireless access points, as well as IOCOM which provides advanced collaboration across departmental and geographic boundaries.
  • As well as solutions focussed on supporting cyber security, compliance, digital workplaces, and vehicle fleet management

5G: What’s coming?

Back in the main auditorium O2’s Chief Operating Officer, Derek McManus, presented his views on the current status of mobile connectivity, and how 5G will impact every sector from energy, health, transport and retail to education and entertainment. There is the potential for 5G to have a greater impact on society than any technology since electricity, according to Derek, so it is essential that we get the integrated infrastructure right from the start to reap the benefits from this next step in the evolution of technology.

The road ahead: Keynote address by Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho

We were so fortunate to have Martha Lane Fox, Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho, CBE, to deliver the conference’s keynote address. As co-founder of one of the UK’s earliest Internet success stories with she was able to articulate so clearly how technology has influenced the way we live and work, and how we must shift our focus to ensure that technology benefits everyone in our society in future.

The keynote highlighted inclusivity and diversity as the biggest technology challenges of our generation. Technology can play a vital role in addressing some of the country’s most pressing social issues, but we won’t narrow the digital divide while we still have 8.4% of adults who have never used the internet in 2018.

We need to encourage more women into the technology sector, as well as people from different backgrounds and socio-economic groups. We can only expect to build better products and services, and to tackle many of our society’s biggest challenges, if we work in teams that include a diverse set of approaches and opinions.

This was our first annual O2 Blue Door Conference, and we are already making plans for next year and look forward to seeing you there. Before you go, why not take a look at our wrap video from the day.

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