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A review of the best design events at London Technology Week 2015

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The week featured hundreds of international conferences, pitching competitions and intimate workshops where an immense variety of subjects were covered, including music, education, wearable’s, finance, fashion, design and science. While some of the events were quite expensive, such as the Bloomberg Technology Conference’s £600 a ticket or the Art of Satisfaction networking event at £250 a ticket, there were also plenty of free events to enjoy.

Here is a roundup of the top events revolving around the world of design, put together by 99designs.

Making technology more human

The full title, “Thinking about the person not the device,” was something of a giveaway when it came to what the workshop was all about. It discussed the need for businesses to think of end users as human beings rather than focusing on the devices, mediums and platforms used. 

It was a fascinating 150 minute free event which also featured a special talk by Jerry Lieveld on future user experience; he also spoke about the need to make technology feel more “human”. Certainly, there is a fear that technology is making us less human by altering human physiology. With so much technology at the fingertips of designers and marketers, it is easy to focus on the tools we have at our disposal rather than the needs of our audience. 

Kokoon: Next generation wearable’s

The wearable’s market is expected to earn $20bn in 2015 but is set to skyrocket to $70bn by 2025 as wearable devices such as headgear; footwear and even skin patches become more popular ways to conveniently carry around technology. Major corporate names such as Apple, Reebok and Nike are throwing their weight behind the market which will undoubtedly drive its growth.

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This five hour event took place on June 18 and was one of the highlights of the entire week. It was ostensibly the UK launch of Kokoon Technology’s new headphones, which are designed to help you sleep and relax more easily. The product was marketed as “the world’s first brain sensing headphones“. It was a stimulating event which involved demos of Kokoon products, the launch of the company’s Kickstarter video and a keynote speech while guests were treated to complimentary champagne.

Team Turquoise open house

Not to be outdone, Team Turquoise used LTW as a showcase for its new breed of performance enhancing wearable technology via a special event that was held on June 20. Its main product was “Doppel”, a wristband designed to help you stay alert or keep your calm. 

Although Doppel does not monitor your body, it does harness the body’s response to rhythm in order to give you a greater deal of control over how you are feeling. The product’s tagline was “Set Your Pace” and attendees at the five hour event were invited to try the wristband for themselves. Team Turquoise also gave the audience a fascinating look at the company’s design process at its Bermondsey studio.

Make your own augmented reality experiences

Augmented reality is a live look (directly or indirectly) at a physical, real-world environment where sensory input (generated by computers) such as graphics; video and sound is used to supplement it. A special event, hosted by Zappar Studio at the Flux Innovation Lounge on 16 June, offered audience members an in-depth look at the process.

It was a stimulating 90 minute free showcase where we learned more about what Zappar described as “the next generation of content creation”. 

Coffee chat: User experience design

UX design is all about improving the accessibility, usability and pleasure provided in the interaction between a user and the product/service as a means of enhancing overall user satisfaction. In an era where consumers have more power than ever, a lack of positive UX means a product is almost certain to fail.

This particular event was hosted by UX Design company General Assembly where its team of design experts met interested parties at the Old Street Station on 18 June. It was a two hour meet up and provided aspiring UX designers with a lot of useful information. 

As always, the London Technology Week more than lived up to its promise. It is unique as no other festival of live events comes close to bringing together as many tech specialists from around the world. It is an incredible opportunity to network and discover new business opportunities so be sure to include it in your calendar for 2016.

Niall O’Loughlin is marketing manager at 99designs.

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