We’re collaborating with partners all around the world to drive the development of more responsible AI in partnership with Canadian researchers, to fight the illegal wildlife trade in Africa, and take the UK’s best creative talent right to the heart of the world’s biggest film, media and music festival.

Combatting the illegal wildlife trade

We are working with a number of partners to help tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

In 2018 the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference brought together expertise from organisations including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), United For Wildlife, The Royal Foundation, Google, Microsoft and the Satellite Applications Catapult, to look at how expertise in varying fields could aid in the adoption of technology in three main areas:

  • In the field: Stopping poachers killing endangered animals
  • At borders: Vast numbers of illegal wildlife products pass through customs every day
  • Online: Sellers use social media and parts of the dark web to create a marketplace for illegal wildlife products

This year, the WILDLABS Tech Hub (WTH) was developed alongside Digital Catapult, the FCO, WILDLABS, Amazon Web Services, Satellite Applications Catapult, United for Wildlife and six conservation partners to leverage existing solutions combating the illegal wildlife trade to get the support needed for deployment into the field and help to address any barriers to the scaling of the solution or technology. Mainly focused on IoT and AI technologies, we’re hopeful that the WILDLABS Tech Hub will be the platform to provide the impetus for other solution providers to explore how their technology can be used in the conservation space and if successful could be the pilot to encourage more funding into R&D, creating an ecosystem that offers not just a viable business model but could have a global impact for the future.

UK & Canada AI innovation challenge

How can machine learning improve aerodynamic testing for aeroplanes? Working with Bombardier, a global aerospace and transportation company based in Montreal, Canada, the UK Science and Innovation Network (SIN) and the Consortium in Aerospace and Research & Innovation in Canada (CARIC), Digital Catapult launched a challenge to the UK’s AI ecosystem for ideas exploring new techniques and applications of AI in the development of ice protection systems for aircraft.

Following pitch days in Montreal and London, two winners of the challenge were DecisionLab from the UK and BI Expertise from Canada.

Mobile World Congress

It’s the biggest and most influential mobile industry event of the year, and in 2019 5G took centre stage in Barcelona. Digital Catapult joined the Department for International Trade at the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Pavilion showcasing our work in 5G, and our Director of Business Development Geraldina Iraheta was part of a roundtable event discussing how to accelerate the adoption of mobile broadcast in the 5G era. It was also the third year of the Women4Tech event which is focused on reducing the gender gap and championing diversity in the mobile industry.

Following MWC 2019, we were pleased to host a special event with Women in Telecoms & Technology (WITT) for those who were unable to make it to Barcelona, bringing together speakers from DIT, DCMS, GSMA and KORE Wireless to give their expert views on the news and trends from this years’ show.

Paving the road to ethical AI

Working with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC), Digital Catapult has continued to make progress towards seeing more action in responsible AI development.

There are many AI ethics guidelines but most lack comprehensive tools or processes for implementation, and those resources that do exist may still be at a research stage, or difficult to identify or access. Two events from the NRC and Digital Catapult – in Ottawa and London – helped to map the landscape of supply and demand of ethical AI tools, and lead the charge on bridging the gap between the ‘what’ of responsible AI and the ‘how’.

Responsible AI is a process, not a thing, and building responsible AI-driven products and services is an ongoing commitment, not a tick-box exercise. Our work with the NRC continues with a consultation to test and evaluate the demand, supply, and participants needed to build a responsible AI tech testbed.

Exploring new policy perspectives with the OECD

Following 18 months work with the OECD and InnovateUK, earlier this year we launched two reports seeking to further the policy debate around innovation. The reports aimed to drive further collaboration between industry and academia, helping governments and policy makers to support and encourage industry to drive innovation forward and make the most of R&D.

The two reports from the OECD Working Party on Innovation and Technology Policy (TIP) provide insight on recent trends and dynamics regarding the impact of digital transformation on innovation and science industry knowledge exchange:

  • Seizing the opportunities for digital innovation: options for innovation policy
  • Exchanging knowledge between industry and science: new evidence and overview of policy options

Championing UK creative talent at SXSW

Digital Catapult teamed up with a number of organisations at SXSW this year to champion the very best of UK creative talent.

The UK immersive pitch and demo event, in partnership with Arts Council England, Arts & Humanities Research Council Creative Economy Programme and British Underground specifically targeted US and international commissioners, distributors, investors and potential collaborators. Ranging from a Dr Who VR experience, to searching for ghosts at Capital Factory in Texas, to examining artefacts from the Glasgow School of Art’s iconic Mackintosh Building, the demos gave guests the first-hand opportunity to try out some of the best UK immersive content.

This pitch session brought together a range of commercial, cultural and academic organisations currently working in immersive including the Royal Shakespeare Company, ESL UK, Factory 42, Storyfutures Academy, 59 Productions, Italic Pig, Maze Theory, Raskl, FutureEverything and Kings College London.

We were also pleased to host a music meets tech networking breakfast with the Association of Independent Music (AIM) at the British Music Embassy, bringing together the independent music community with innovators in tech. Representing two parallel communities that share common traits (both are rich with innovation, entrepreneurship and energy) the event aimed to foster collaboration and experimentation across a whole range of businesses and services at the cutting edge of culture, technology and business.