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Another great masterclass in Sheffield. This time looking at Artificial Intelligence and its role in business.

Our panel for this event was David Richards CEO of WANDisco, Jamie Hinton CEO at Razor Ltd and Neil Ewin Entrepreneur in Residence.


The masterclass began by David explaining WANDisco and what they do, including the 40 patents they currently have, and his aspirations for both WANDisco and his foundation, which is working with Yorkshire schools to train children in technology, the David and Jane Richards Family Foundation.

David then spoke about the technological evolution around Sheffield from the Hadfields Steelworks to modern day, and how Sheffield has been behind the tech revolution, and he’s working to help resolve this.

A key line was that technology moves in dog years, for every 1 year we have, technology moves 7 times as fast.


David detailed that there are three current trends to be aware of.

1 – Value is in software interfaces not products. ie UBER is the largest taxi company in the world, but doesn’t own any taxis.

2 – The world is decentralising. Technology is helping to cut out the middle men.

3 – Quantum computing. Technology is moving ever faster and this is the next stage in computing with even faster computers on the horizon.

The aim with these trends should be to use AI to support you, and your spending.


AI is machine learning and deep learning.

AGI is artificial general intelligence.

This is why more and more businesses are moving to cloud storage, as it reduces the cost of hosting servers, and gives far greater flexibility to a workforce, especially as AI requires a lot of data to work effectively.

A key recommendation from David is that a businesses core services should be in a cloud based system, especially as by 2021 it’s forecast that an average consumer will own 13 connected devices, and AI should be there to allow you to do other things.

Next stage

David explained that businesses need to be ready for the next stage of the industrial revolution and to do this we need to adapt and embrace technology and AI to ensure that Yorkshire business aren’t left behind.

Push backs

Jamie then explained that people will always push back against technology and the key is to embrace IA – Intelligence Amplified, such as google helping to finish your sentences.

The key push backs being:

People need to stretch their imagination, and whilst looking to automate some things in the workplace, the main focus must be understanding the business and using technology to promote customer service.

Using people to do the job but to teach the technology. This then allows staff to do other jobs, building their interest.

The main philosophy being “do what you love doing and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Therefore using systems which are already out there and building on these to free up time.

The mantra being that AI is about small steps to make up a big journey.


Craig Batham

May 2019