A tech city with its eye on the future and bubbling with entrepreneurial promise, achieving global success in the industry no longer means leaving Belfast, writes Tim Beattie, Global Head of Product for Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, who is attending BelTech 2021.
Almost three decades since I left my home in Holywood Co. Down to pursue a career in IT and Computing, I have watched Belfast evolve from a city crippled by conflict to one of the UK’s fastest growing tech hubs.
It is true that Belfast and the wider landscape of Northern Ireland was a different place then to what it is today. The tech sector was almost unheard of, certainly a far cry from the huge economic contributor it is to the region today, yet the local accent is now a familiar one right across the industry.
Leading the team at Red Hat Open Innovation Labs, I work to combine the human aspects of people and their cultures into technology. Taking a collaborative and community-driven approach to software development, we provide training services and subscriptions to ensure applications are not only technologically sound but deliver real business outcomes to customers.
But be it open source innovation, cybersecurity or an emerging area like 5G or the Internet of Things, the common factor for achieving success is being able to learn from others, share stories and collaborate to inspire new innovations.
As we emerge from a turbulent 18 months that forced organisations to pivot in response to the pandemic, the companies that commit to uniting with competitors and exploring ways to apply a product mindset to underlying technologies will be the ones we see accelerating in the future.
Where collaboration starts, business relationships follow, and we see people bringing different angles, products and levels of expertise to the innovations at the forefront of society.
For these reasons, returning virtually to my hometown of Belfast to support BelTech 2021 was an opportunity I grasped with both hands. A conference that unites practitioners and leaders from the worlds of technology and business, BelTech is very much in line with our open source culture.
Having grown up in Northern Ireland, I have watched from a distance as start-ups got off the ground and large players invested in a city bursting with so much potential. Nowadays, myself and my colleagues partner with Belfast companies small and large as the city’s reputation for innovation becomes recognised right across the wider industry.
While I have always looked for an opportunity to reconnect with Belfast, returning to deliver the keynote at BelTech 2021 will be the catalyst for fresh conversations and business relationships with the city I have watched thrive.