Digital Awards 2017 to showcase best in Hull: Nominations open

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 7 Jun 2017

The Digital Awards are returning for a third year and present the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the many achievements that are helping to push the boundaries in Hull and East Yorkshire's digital landscape.

The sector, recently reported to have brought more than £250m to the local economy in the four years to 2015, now accounts for about 7,000 jobs and is seeing huge increases in the number of digital tech businesses launching in the area.

Taking part in the Digital Awards 2017 is a great way of showcasing your business's digital endeavours and attributes and an unrivalled opportunity to engender some great PR for your company.

The bar will be set even higher this year as the region's digital economy and digital community continues to flourish.

According to Tech City UK's "Tech Nation 2017" report – the most comprehensive analysis of the UK digital tech ecosystem – Hull is helping to secure the UK's position as the digital capital of Europe.

This news comes as no surprise to David Keel, chairman of Hull's Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI) and host for this year's Digital Awards evening, which will be held on Thursday, September 7.

He said: "There have always been lots of digital businesses around Hull, absolutely world class digital businesses, but people didn't know they were here and they often didn't know about each other either.

"With the C4DI, we haven't simply moved something that already existed, we have actually created something … a 'beacon' in the Old Town and Fruit Market area that has informed all the digital businesses that were already in the Hull area that they are part of something much bigger."

Many companies in the area are digitally affecting lives, not only in Hull or the UK but all around the world, according to Mr Keel.

That realisation is giving younger and newer local start-ups a renewed air of confidence as they recognise there is a real legacy here of digital development.

Mr Keel said: "Let's say you go on your holiday, you step off the plane and you pick up your luggage, and all that technology that has gone on in the background, all the software that has enabled it to happen, was created by a Hull company.

"Then you decide you will catch the Tube and use an Oystercard, and all that software was created in Hull.

"You are on the Tube, you perhaps, sadly, you get mugged and you call the police – the software that tracks them to you is made in Hull.

"And while you are travelling on the Tube, all the traffic control for the Tube system is made in Hull.

"You then get on your train to Hull, and you decide to do a bit of shopping online, and all those beautiful images that grab your attention are made by a company in Hull.

"You then decide you fancy a game of online bingo, and the software was very probably made in Hull.

"You're thinking about what you might watch tonight when you get home and decide to check out the TV listings, and they've come from a company just outside Hull.

"I could go on forever."

'It's about time we stopped our digital industry being Hull's best-kept secret'

Mr Keel said: "Everyone knows the big company names in Hull – RB, Smith & Nephew, Siemens and so on – but they don't know about these people who are in the background creating world-class software and technology that touches everyone's lives, every day. It's magic.

"Almost every week I discover a new topic to add to this narrative."

Mr Keel, co-founder and global innovations director of Hull-based Trident, a company that creates and manages the digital packaging assets for some of the world's best-known brands, was the winner of the Digital Ambassador of the Year title at the first Digital Awards in 2015.

He encouraged companies to get involved in this year's competition.

"It's about time we stopped our digital industry being Hull's best-kept secret and started to tell the rest of the UK and the world about it," he said.

For a second year, the Digital Awards will be held at the stunning Stage@TheDock, a pioneering cultural and community venue offering spectacular views over the city's growing digital and cultural quarter.

It will provide a relaxed atmosphere for an evening of keynote speeches, award presentations and entertainment before an audience of about 250 people.

The awards event, as well as being an opportunity to honour those who are ensuring this region remains competitive and in-tune with global and national trends, is also a chance to meet with other delegates while enjoying fabulous street food from three exciting vendors, and music from a live band.

There will be a drinks reception, sponsored by Jelf InsurancePartnership, to kick things off.

To ensure you are part of the celebration this year, book your seat by calling Jane Smallwood on 01482 315395 or by emailing j.smallwood@hulldailymail.co.uk – tickets cost £35 per head.

Visit thedigitalawards.netfor more details about the event, the categories and how to enter.

1. Best mobile app – sponsored by Spencer Group

Judges will be looking for a standout app, showing innovation, imagination and flair. The app, either a standalone app or interactive element to a website, should be attractive but also useful and evidence of interactivity will be expected. Apps with either a consumer or a commercial focus can be considered and the winner should be able to demonstrate strong take-up in its target market. Successful firms should show style and flair in their design.

2. Young digital person of the year – sponsored by Wykeland Group

This category will recognise an individual under the age of 25 who has made an impact on the digital landscape in Hull and East Yorkshire in the past year. They could be a game designer or web developer, artist or software specialist. The region's success in the digital arena depends on talent staying in East Yorkshire and judges will look to reward the best and brightest young people for their efforts. The winner could be an entrepreneur or an excellent employee whose work has made a difference to their business.

3. Best digital start-up – sponsored by Trident

A company or organisation that has launched in the past two years and has already found a strong and loyal digital following, customer base or audience. This award can recognise success in a wide range of fields, from online retail to web development or marketing. The winner will have bold ambitions and clear evidence their growth plans have got off to a solid start. Judges will be looking for bright, adaptable firms not afraid of challenging the established order.

4. Best use of technology within education – sponsored by PureSpeed

As more schools and colleges sign up to digital, we'll be looking for a stand-out performer in education who is using digital technology to interact with pupils, staff and the public. The winner will have embraced the internet's possibilities for teaching and be able to show how its use has helped pupils develop their skills. Judges hope to see creative uses of technology which goes beyond the occasional use of slideshows.

5. Best e-commerce – sponsored by Arco

A company or organisation that can show itself to be a true vanguard of digital commerce. This could range from an online based retail business to a sports club using online to build its core business. Firms of all sizes can be considered, from small new companies up to major organisations driving change. Businesses which have fresh ideas for selling products online will be looked favourably on and creative thinking will be rewarded.

6. Best digital marketing communication – sponsored by Bondholders

Creative campaigns are common, ones that work less so! We're looking for a one-off marketing or promotional campaign, or continuous excellent use of digital tools such as social media, to promote a business, organisation or event. East Yorkshire is home to a wealth of marketing talent and the best firms in the field recognise digital is now at the core of their operation. Judges will be keen to see eye-catching graphics, unusual videos and impressive ideas on adding value to content.

7. Best digital innovation – sponsored by Hull College

New ideas are the lifeblood of the fast-moving digital industry. We'll be looking for a unique design or innovation which has helped a company or organisation take a step forward in their digital journey. The winner of this product could work in hardware or software, refining a successful product to make it even better or coming up with a great new concept from scratch. Clever ideas for bringing traditional businesses into the digital arena will also be considered.

8. Best Global Reach – sponsored by the University of Hull

The judges will assess entrants for evidence of leveraging their own unique digital (hardware or software) products and services to gain commercial contracts outside of the UK. Preference will be given to those organisations that have been able to demonstrate that the export of their services has led to increased local turnover and consequent growth/recruitment etc. Every digital business has the potential to be global and judges will reward the firms that have seen that opportunity and really grasped it.

9. Best Hardware – sponsored by HBP Systems

The judges will assess entrants for evidence of creating novel devices of genuine utility or usability – hardware that supports clear impactful improvement in the lives or situations of its end users. Preference will be given to entries designed for integration, allowing inclusion into larger, broader solutions. The category is open to firms of all sizes and could be won by a young firm with disruptive technology or an established one with a relentless focus on improvement.

10. Best Emerging Technology – sponsored by Arc Studios

The judges will assess entrants for evidence of creating innovative technology (hardware or software) that broaches new territory in some significant way and that represents progressive developments within a field for competitive advantage. Examples of currently emerging technologies include educational technology, information technology, nanotechnology, biotechnology, cognitive science, robotics, and artificial intelligence.

11. Digital Ambassador – sponsored by KCOM

Awarded by the judges to an individual, company or organisation that is leading the way in digital application and development and helping inspire others on the community. The winner will be focused on making the region a great place for start-ups and tech firms to work, and tirelessly promote it to external organisations. They will play a key role in making the digital economy successful.

Terms and conditionsYou are eligible to enter the Digital Awards 2017 if your website, app, organisation or business is based in, or has an obvious interest in the following postcode sectors – HU1-20, YO15, YO16, YO25, YO42, YO43, DN18, DN19.The closing date for all entries is midnight on Friday, July 28. All entries will be judged by our independent panel of judges and the finalists announced on Wednesday, August 9.



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