Last month, I had the honour of being shortlisted for a Big Chip Award down in Manchester – being considered for the mighty title of ‘Best Mobile Application’ for the work that I’d done on The Parking Fairy – a location-based app that uses open civic data in combination with geofence location technology, paired cleverly together using a bespoke smart algorithm to alert users to the best nearest available parking space as they drive into the city centre.
The evening itself was held at the fantastically futuristic Manchester Deansgate Hilton, in the übercool all-glass Beetham Tower skyscraper. I was seated on a table full of interesting folks from firms all over the North, including the really interesting Mancunian skills shortage solvers SharpFutures and Teeside ecommerce champions Visualsoft. It was fascinating to hear about people’s genuine excitement about the tech boom that is occurring across the North, and about just how rapidly excitement, noise, and indeed genuine growth is occurring across the region, over a tasteful dinner.
After the eating had concluded, the award presentation began. Perhaps the most interesting shortlistees and winners of the evening were Geek Talent of Sunderland, Silverchip’s potentially lifesaving Bolster app – which could help to save lives in high rise building fires in the future and was a most worthy winner of the Best Mobile Application award – and Things North – an open source project to build a network of Internet of Things devices across the North of England.
As we concluded the evening gazing over the breathtaking evening cityscapes from Cloud 23, I reflected over the brilliance that I had seen showcased throughout the evening by the awards winners and fellow shortlistees, and realised what a great place the North is to be at the moment.