Digital Solutions Summit Belfast: Recap

Published: 7 March 2024

Well run event by leading company, thank you for having us! 

On February 22nd, we hosted our second Digital Solutions Summit at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park. Patrick Leggett, Xperience Cloud & IT Director, kicked off the event, providing an overview of the day and a quick rundown of the agenda. The event featured three Keynote Speakers, and attendees engaged in multiple breakout sessions across four educational tracks: Technology Simplified, Focused Innovation, Growth Accelerated, and Tomorrow’s World. Led by Xperience and Microsoft experts, these sessions covered everything from ‘5 Technology Trends for 2024’ and ‘AI inside your ERP systems’ to ‘Disaster recovery with Azure’ and ‘Power BI and Data Analytics’. Now, let’s take a look at the keynote speeches delivered by Aron Taylor-Smith, Claire Hillis, and Mark Byrne. 

Árón Taylor Smith’s insights on relationships, discipline, and obsession 

Árón Taylor Smith, experienced British Touring Cars driver, kicked off the day with a compelling keynote highlighting three fundamental pillars which contributed to his success: relationships, discipline, and obsession. Drawing parallels between the racing world and corporate boardroom, Árón emphasised the value of relationships. His decade-long partnerships underscored the significance of personal connections, knowing partners’ needs, and fostering lasting collaborations. 

Discipline is a key factor in Árón’s motorsport journey, going beyond the flashy image often linked with the sport. From rigorous training routines to meticulous preparation, he showcased the relentless dedication required for consistent success. Árón also shared a few personal stories highlighting how discipline helped him overcome challenges and stay motivated in his career. 

At the centre of Árón‘s philosophy is his obsession with being the best. He emphasised the need to go beyond natural talent, stressing that continuous improvement and unwavering dedication are essential for long-term success. Árón shared a pivotal moment where overcoming adversity during a race became a turning point, highlighting how discipline and teamwork transformed setbacks into opportunities.  

Aron Taylor Smith

Microsoft’s AI Odyssey: Navigating the Future of Innovation with Clare Hillis 

Clare Hillis, Head of Partner Sales at Microsoft Ireland, delved into the transformative realm of AI and Microsoft’s role in driving innovation. Using her background in channel sales at Microsoft as a reference, she emphasised the pivotal shift towards AI in recent years. Clare traced the historical trajectory of AI, highlighting key milestones, from Alan Turing’s computer system to the current era of large language models. 

Focusing on Microsoft’s collaboration with OpenAI, Clare clarified the strategic investment and partnership that has propelled Microsoft into a leadership position in AI. The spotlight was on GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) models, showcasing their application in various domains. Clare demonstrated how AI, particularly Microsoft’s Co-Pilot, is streamlining mundane tasks, from drafting proposals to creating PowerPoint presentations. 

The keynote delved into the broader impact of AI on businesses, with a spotlight on improving efficiency, collaboration, and innovation. Clare presented compelling statistics on the positive outcomes experienced by organisations embracing AI, emphasising the tangible return on investment and the average time for organisations to realise these benefits. 

Closing with a call to action, Clare urged organisations to consider a long-term AI strategy, emphasising Microsoft’s commitment to supporting businesses in their digital transformation journey. The presentation offered a comprehensive overview of AI’s current landscape and Microsoft’s position as a catalyst for change in the tech industry.


Unveiling the Cybersecurity Landscape: Mark Byrne’s Dive into AI and Future Challenges 

Delivering the final keynote speech of the day, Mark Byrne, a cybersecurity expert from Sophos, highlighted the ever-evolving relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity. Mark took us on a historical journey, tracing the roots of AI back to the 1940s and highlighting pivotal moments in its evolution. He categorised AI into machine learning, deep learning, and the ambitious true AI, each playing a distinct role in the cyber defence landscape. 

Mark highlighted the growing danger of ransomware, showcasing the disturbing trend of cybercriminals subscribing to ransomware services, creating a concerning supply chain. Mark shed light on the pivotal role AI plays in email security, detecting phishing attempts, malicious URLs, and even addressing the challenges posed by deep fake technology. He emphasised the continuous training of machine learning algorithms and the critical role of user awareness in fortifying cybersecurity. 

Mark discussed ongoing projects using AI for web traffic detection, threat investigations, and proactive defence, he also unveiled the rising concerns surrounding deep fake technology. Instances of stealing a CFO’s video and voice for financial fraud reinforced the need for robust cybersecurity measures. The keynote concluded with a call to address future challenges, emphasising the importance of multi-layered defences and a holistic cybersecurity approach to counter the evolving nature of cyber threats. Mark Byrne’s insights serve as a navigational guide for organisations seeking to fortify their cybersecurity stance in an increasingly complex digital landscape. 


‘The event was really good and informative, I would definitely attend again 


Our second Digital Solutions Summit proved highly insightful. Patrick Leggett’s welcome set the stage for impactful keynote speeches by Aron Taylor-Smith, Clare Hillis, and Mark Byrne. Aron’s emphasis on relationships, discipline, and obsession in motorsports success, Clare’s exploration of Microsoft’s AI trajectory, and Mark’s dive into the evolving cybersecurity landscape provided a comprehensive view of key industry aspects. The summit offered valuable takeaways, encouraging attendees to build relationships, embrace innovation, and fortify their cybersecurity measures for long-term success in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

I enjoyed it, although it was a free event it was not heavily pushing services. The content was great.

Watch this space for more events like this one coming soon!

Read More

Xperience strengthens Business Application expertise with ac...

3 January 2024

GCC Digital Solutions Aquisition

Digital Solutions Summit Newmarket: Recap 

30 October 2023

Our Digital Solutions Summit Newmarket took place on the 18th October. Here's a short recap on key topics which were covered.

Mercy Okenyi – Managed Service Technician

3 October 2023

Hear a day in the life of one of our Managed Service Technicians

Xperience Hospice Technology Forum: Recap

24 July 2023

Hospice Technology Forum

Aileen Slingsby, People Director

7 March 2023