London Tech Week, Day Five: Into an Inclusive Metaverse


Russ Shaw

Russ Shaw is founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates.

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(Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images)

As London Tech Week draws to a close, it’s amazing to look back at the progress the sector has made in the nine years since Tech London Advocates joined the very first edition as a founding partner.

Across all events, more than 20,000 attendees heard from tech leaders at the cutting edge of the emerging technologies transforming our world, like quantum, health tech, blockchain and AI, as well as those using tech to build more equal, diverse companies and communities. What’s more, 10,000 attendees tuned in via the London Tech Week virtual platform, making it a fully hybrid experience.

Technology is now firmly entrenched in all aspects of our lives. Whether it is entertainment, business or communication, tech has enabled us to be more innovative and creative in how we experience life and what is around us. 

In particular, we’ve heard about the transformative potential of creative technology businesses to disrupt the status quo in multiple industries, including gaming, fashion, design and communication. 

As Jo Twist, CEO of UK Interactive Entertainment, said today: “The UK has been a world leader in creative technology for decades in the form of video games. As we emerge from the disruption of the pandemic, the potential to do the same continues as we look towards the Metaverse.”

Despite Meta’s Nick Clegg noting last month that a fully developed metaverse could take as long as 15 years to complete, that has done little to quell excitement among entrepreneurs, investors and recruiters. 

Figures from GlobalData show that, since January 2021, job postings related to the metaverse have nearly quadrupled. The process of building the platform will require thousands of developers, coders and engineers. 

Indeed, Clegg’s description of the development as “a job creation engine” is far from hyperbole. As well as those with the technological expertise to develop the platform, building the metaverse will also depend on the recruitment of people with creative capabilities, too. Those in possession of more traditional creative skills – like art, design, television and film – will be equally essential for the construction process. 

Companies are investing extremely heavily, and it will be exciting to see the opportunities for collaboration which unfold as tech and creative combine yet again. 

It’s not just a multitude of jobs that are set to be created, but many new companies, too. On Tuesday, we heard from the co-founders of Brytehall and BuzzAR, two startups born out of the Metaverse, as they discussed how brand experiences will change. Many more will undoubtedly follow. 

Here East in the Olympic Park hosted an excellent event today focused on ‘Future London’ including the launch of a new inclusive innovation district called ‘Shift’ – an excellent addition to London tech from what is arguably the largest innovation hub in the UK.

At today’s TLA CreativeTech event at the China Britain Business Council offices, we also heard about the importance of diversity and inclusion in helping enhance design-driven innovation with a great initiative called Story Trails, showing how diverse communities are using creativity coupled with new technologies like AR and VR to share art and experiences.

As more companies spring up and the Metaverse begins to gather real momentum, it will be crucial that design and innovation does not detract from diversity and inclusion. Instead, we must ensure that they are mutually reinforcing; great examples of this are beginning to emerge. 

It’s been yet another fantastic London Tech Week – full of amazing people, ideas, innovation and inspiring stories. London and the UK have built a world-leading tech ecosystem, and with another creative tech revolution upon us, it’s set to be an exciting decade to come. Roll on London Tech Week 2023.

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