Please note: Images in this article were taken before current COVID-19 safety measures were in place.
Let the networking begin! Join in the state-wide Digital Innovation Festival.
The Digital innovation Festival (DIF), has officially kicked off for 2019 with events being held right across the state until 6 September. From Swan Hill, Sale and Ararat to Wodonga, Bendigo and Ballarat the DIF has something for everyone.
The festival has grown rapidly since it started in 2016, when it played host to just 70 events. This year it’ll be big. Very big. More than 15,000 people are expected to attend over 400 events to hear speakers from tech companies, universities, government agencies and businesses from across Australia and around the world.
Heavy hitters in the line-up include Google, which is supporting an event for regional tourism operators; Zendesk (a $2.1 billion San Francisco-headquartered publicly-listed software company with 12 global offices including one in Melbourne), hosting an innovation roundtable; and DXC Technology (an American B2B IT multinational with 130,000 employees) hosting an artificial intelligence event with Swinburne University.
So, who exactly is the Festival aimed at? "Everyone," enthuses Kathy Coultas, who heads up the Victorian Government’s Strategic Technology Partnership Team, which manages the festival. "There’ll be games development workshops, YouTube creator sessions, school student conferences and career expos, water innovation days, hackathons, artificial intelligence and cyber security conferences and awards, discussions on technology ethics, and more. Each of these activities enables businesses to learn, to understand the opportunities for technology-enabled innovation, to meet others on the same journey, and to help their business grow strongly into the future."
"DIF is for every business, organisation, government agency, local council, community group, educational institution and individual because technology-driven innovation is impacting us all, creating both challenges and opportunities. The aim is to help Victorians understand that digital innovation is about our state’s future and that it involves and creates opportunities for everyone. DIF’s all about collaboration; we can do so much more in partnership than we can alone."
Where the Festival really comes into its own is in giving homegrown tech go-getters a platform. "DIF 2019 promises to celebrate Victoria’s technology successes, showing the creativity of our grassroots innovators as well as our global success stories."
Agricultural innovation also gets a big nod in this year’s DIF program as Victorian agtech is on the rise - unlocking opportunities for regional growth, local business development and global trade. Many events will help agricultural businesses apply technology to finesse products and services. "DIF will include blockchain workshops for the dairy and viticulture industries and their supply chains, plus demonstrations of drones, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) on farms," says Kathy.
At a broader level, the spinoffs are many because you never know who you’ll meet: the DIF 2019 will be a business networking event like no other. "We believe that DIF’s globally unique in ambition and approach, to catalyse awareness and engagement with technology-driven innovation across an entire economy and community," says Kathy. "Not only does the huge range of events create opportunities to learn new things and meet new people, they also encourage a positive mindset and stimulate problem-solving, promoting technology innovation to every business."