Digital Drinks Salisbury just happened and it was great!
We organised it, they came, it was a great success!
Our first Digital Drinks Salisbury event, we have walked away buzzing, in fact everyone has been messaging me about what a great time they had. The main question i’m hearing… “When’s the next one?!”.
I would like to thank everyone that got involved, everyone who turned up it was great to meet you all. A special thanks to The Enterprise Centre Salisbury and Danny’s Craft Bar, we couldn’t have done it without you! Thank you to the Blueflame Digital team as well as Graham, Roger & Bill from Motorsport Management Solutions (http://msportsolutions.com/), who helped setup through the day.
Check out what went on and the background to why we put the event on in the first place…
There MUST be digital creatives in the area right? Right!
Having moved in to the Salisbury area earlier this year, one of my first instincts was to get involved with the local digital scene. Most towns + cities I’ve worked in have some sort of get together centered around digital creatives, industries or technology. Could I find anything going on in Salisbury? No. Could I find any digital companies or individuals in the area who I could connect with? Very few!! I was shocked by this, there must be plenty of digital creatives in the area, but where are they?!
I also found speaking to new people about what we do, I’d be talking to them about say Virtual Reality, and moments later they would whisper back, “what’s virtual reality?”.
There was only one thing for it, lets put on an event, Digital Drinks Salisbury!
The idea behind the event was a beacon for local digital natives, but also demonstrate to non-techy people what current technology is out there. Lots of people haven’t even seen a VR headset, let alone try it out.
I’ve been to a few local networking events, and quite frankly, they’d been pretty formal and ‘business’ like, which is fine… but… I wanted to have an evening where people could relax, have some fun and have a good old chat over a drink.
I work out of one of the office units at The Enterprise Centre which is next door to Danny’s Craft Bar which serves excellent drinks, amazing food and have great staff. The location of the event was obvious, it was to be spread across both the communal office spaces and the bar next door.
As a brand new event, and not really anything else similar in the area, there were a number of unknowns…
Will anyone turn up?! Yes… they sure did!
We put the word out there, and people came! I manned the door and greeted everyone that arrived, quite quickly I was impressed with the number of people that were turning up. I was over the moon with the complete mixed bag of types of people who came along to check out the event. The mix included, accountants, tutors, coders, artists, students, carpenters, office workers, musicians, just to name a few…
So what did people have a go on?
For the evening we were able to demonstrate 3 lots of HTC Vive Virtual Reality experiences. 2 of those we decided to run popular short games or experiences to introduce VR to new people. The 3rd HTC Vive was used to demonstrate a new submarine game coming out later this year developed by Aaron & Phil from Ionized Studios (http://ionized.tech)
In the main room we also had Google Cardboard and Gear VR where we showed off some small demo’s of our work. It was great how we could show people all the different levels of entry to virtual reality.
Our other main attraction was our Atomic driver sim, where Dan was demonstrating our driving software with the motion chair and force feedback steering wheel. I was in the other room, but I was constantly hearing people talk about how they had a great experience with the driver sim. Even had 1 inquiry to ask how much they were!
Also on show was our King’s Court project, where people could wander around our medieval environment and discover what it was like in the year 1252.
Michael and Julie from Exonera where able to demonstrate the latest voice recognition software, http://www.exonera.co.uk/
It was also great to have several guys from http://skycircuits.com who brought along some drones.
And lets not forget, I brought along my Commodore Amiga 1200, sadly I didn’t get a chance to fire up until later on in the evening as it was so busy. By the end we did get a chance to play some quick Xenon 2 and Jamespond.
What a night!
In summary it was a great success, we reached out to such a broad range of people who not only came locally, but as far as Bath, Southampton and the New Forest.
From listening to people as they left, the 2 main highlights of the evening where the HTC Vive virtual reality experiences and the driving simulator. Something I was hoping would happen, happened. Non-tech people where walking away with their brains whirring, I could see that they were working out how to use this technology in their work place or life. Also, local digital creatives were meeting each other for the first time when they only work roads away from each other!
A personal highlight for me was to watch people use Virtual Reality for the very first time, and genuinely see their minds blown. Everyone was stepping away with a massive smile on their faces with a skip in their step. Interestingly, a lot of people mentioned to me, not only was it great for entertainment, but also applying the tech to the real world like training.
“Will there be another one?!”
YES, of course! We had already intended to try and make this event a regular thing, but we weren’t sure how regular and what sort of response we would have. Well after the first event, the feedback has been so positive, we’re already planning the next one!
Thanks again to everyone, thank you to Pete from In2TheReview.com for taking the following pics: