In a nutshell: Your 2019 Blue Door Conference insights
O2’s second annual Blue Door Conference attracted nearly 1,000 delegates from a broad range of business sectors, for a day focused on the technologies that affect the future of everyone working and living in the UK. Here’s our summary, with signposts to the main themes and insights from the day:
The Blue Door Conference presented the ideal opportunity to discuss 5G and the impact it will have on business. Brendan O’Reilly, CTO at O2, talked about the 5G rollout, its capability and relevance for businesses of all sizes.
We put the opportunities that 5G brings into perspective with a panel discussion, comprising leaders from a broad range of industries and businesses that included Northumbrian Water Group, Nokia Bell Labs, the Millbrook testing centre, O2 and Mazak.
Our keynote address came from Doctor of Technology, Spencer Kelly, who gave us an insight into how 5G connectivity might influence the future and what Britain could look like in 2025.
The Blue Door Conference was the ideal forum to bring together experts from government, business and industry, to discuss many of the social and technology challenges we face in reaching our goal of Connecting Britain.
We explored digital exclusion, looking at how we can connect and bring mobile connectivity to the most rural parts of the country and help to bring the millions of non-internet users in the UK online.
We considered how the Internet of Things (IoT) is shaping business, and what role 5G will play to enable new opportunities across a range of industries.
And we looked at ways to create a mobile infrastructure that will underpin the UK’s growth and competitiveness for the next decade.
As a vital component of any use of technology, the conference included a deep-dive session on cyber security, drawing on the experiences from a range of experts on the front line of defence to share some key lessons for organisations to consider.
Ann Pickering, previous Chief HR Officer and Chief of Staff at O2, talked about the unique composition of a modern workforce, and shared her tips for creating a working culture that attracts and retains the right talent.
Exploration of the three key benefits (encompassing both operational and cultural improvements) of moving to a more digitally-enabled working environment.
Then we heard practical advice for how to kick-start your own digital transformation and learned techniques for making the transition easier.
To deliver the experience that today’s customer has come to expect you need to start with your own staff – motivate them, engage with them and convey your ambition and aspirations – because that’s the best way to engage customers.
Also we need to connect with our audience by finding ways to surprise and delight them. The key is to find smarter ways to use data – layered with smart human insight – to identify and engage with your audience.
These days, it’s not a question of how you want to interact with customers – it’s about how they want to interact with you. We heard from a number of industry experts about ways that technology has helped, as well as a few examples where the technology turned the customer away.
At the conference’s deep-dive session focusing on small business, we considered the rapid pace of technological change, and how working alongside robots will be commonplace before too long.
We heard about how technology can improve the customer service of businesses of all sizes, like AO who have created a culture of happiness and sincerity using cloud-based chatbots and pixie-bottled water!
And we looked at innovation in the retail sector, how the online shopping experience has developed, and ways that the high street must adapt to remain relevant.