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Suffolk steps into technology spotlight as BT showcases cutting-edge innovation at Adastral Park

PUBLISHED: 06:00 12 June 2017 | UPDATED: 17:08 12 June 2017

The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Pictured is Claudia Christina. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Pictured is Claudia Christina. Picture: GREGG BROWN

More than 1,000 business leaders from some of the country’s largest companies will take part in an innovation event in Suffolk this week.

The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Left to right, Alex Healing and Dr Ben Azvine. Picture: GREGG BROWN The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Left to right, Alex Healing and Dr Ben Azvine. Picture: GREGG BROWN

They will join BT’s chief executive officer, Gavin Patterson, at the BT Labs in Martlesham Heath for a major innovation event at its Adastral Park technology campus.

Innovation 2017 is a showcase of the company’s cutting-edge research and technology and will allow BT’s major business customers and more than 2,000 employees to interact with the latest innovations the company has scouted from around the world.

Tim Whitley, BT’s managing director of research and innovation, said: “We’re really proud to host this major event and showcase the very cutting-edge of technology right here in Suffolk.

“BT has been an innovation pioneer for over 170 years and here at the BT Labs in Suffolk we’re continuing to play a key role in keeping the UK a world leader in communications technology.”

The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. From the Glaze Alarm company is George Schaar. Picture: GREGG BROWN The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. From the Glaze Alarm company is George Schaar. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Guests will have the opportunity to hear from award-winning technologists, scientists and innovators, and take part in a range of live demonstrations including a virtual reality sports stadium experience delivered over 5G and how future 5G services can be delivered via drones.

BT will also be hosting the UK’s CoSpace Junior RoboCup finals for 250 children from primary schools across the country.

The children will be working in teams with teachers, alongside technical experts and professors, to programme small robots in a variety of programming challenges.

Mr Whitley added: It’s vital for the UK’s economic growth that our children are equipped with the skills we need for the future, and STEM subjects have an important role to play.

The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN The annual BT Innovation Week showcase at Adastral Park. Picture: GREGG BROWN

“Many of our technical experts are sharing their insights into coding and computer science with teachers to help them with the curriculum.

“It’s great to see children at the start of the competition who have never done any coding - and by the end of the day they’re racing robots they’ve programmed around the track.”

The RoboCup competition aims to develop a robot football team capable of beating the champions of the FIFA World cup by 2050 while engaging young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects.

7 comments

  • Got to agree with what others have said - although BT did ditch the UK for offshore programmers for cost reasons, the UK was producing fewer coders so there were problems looming anyway. Other countries were producing school kids who could program whilst our kids thought IT was spreadsheets and word processors. Things are changing for the better now, both in education and amongst tech companies like BT.

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    Emmet

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • @ Red Robbo "And your evidence for this" I know people who work at BT and they've had their entire offshore development teams replaced by local people again. This is apparently a trend happening a lot now. On top of this the schemes for graduates and apprentices (some of my friends have taken these) are bringing more people in and getting them into the new areas including software development. Yes, in the past they decided to take the quick and easy option of getting the skills from elsewhere, as did a number of other companies like I said, but now they are bringing the focus a lot more back to UK and homegrown it seems. I'm sure you understand that it takes a while to turn a tanker the size of BT around but it seems the culture is changing again.

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    Chris Church

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • @ Chris Church "but in recent years a lot of those jobs have been brought back to the UK and there are now large areas of UK based internal development again". And your evidence for this and in particular how many BT has bought back since this article is about BT. This great company had an opportunity 20 years ago to develop UK based computer skills but simply chose other suppliers from cheaper economies (mainly India based) rather than invest within the UK. To be fair the Indian government recognised the need for IT skills back in the 1990s and chose to focus on developing those skills for the global market.

    Report this comment

    Red Robbo

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • The teaching coding and other STEM subjects is very important. Ultimately it's very simple: what are you going to do that I (or someone else obviously) can't program a computer to do now or in the next ten years? We've had horrendous trouble recruiting locally.

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    Jimbo

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • BT, like many large companies, did indeed spend a lot of time outsourcing in order to save costs but in recent years a lot of those jobs have been brought back to the UK and there are now large areas of UK based internal development again. Also, the idea that it is pointless to teach children how to code is so backwards it's almost unbelievable. If the knowledge and resource isn't available locally then companies will look elsewhere anyway. By teaching these kids at a young age it gives them a much better starting point than a lot of people have had in the past and puts us on par with the countries that worked out the importance of this type of education early long ago!

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    Chris Church

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • Alice is correct. BT has shifted thousands of coding jobs to India over the past 20 years. So this is really just a marketing exercise.

    Report this comment

    Red Robbo

    Monday, June 12, 2017

  • Seems a bit pointless to be teaching children from the UK how to code, when BT have been doing their best to export all their coding jobs to India.

    Report this comment

    Alice

    Monday, June 12, 2017

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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