Showing posts with label UKTI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UKTI. Show all posts

Saturday, 9 December 2017

AR/VR DiT Trade mission to US West Coast

skignz was invited alongside a host of other British companies for a AR/VR Trade mission to visit Los Angeles and San Francisco over 10 days.

The mission was run by the UK DiT in conjunction with their local offices in LA & San Francisco, who had lined up a plethora of presentations and meetings with some of the world's biggest brands in this space, and one or two lesser known ones.

Apple, Universal Studios, Lucas Film, IMAX, reFramed etc. were just a few of the organisations we visited on the trip. The experiences and knowledge gained was amazing, this was one of the best missions any of the skignz team had undertaken. Instead of being bored to death with presentations from Inward Investment organisations encouraging you to invest in their locality, this trip focussed on brands and organisations who were willing to open their doors to British Companies and engage in quite frank and honest conversations.

Some of the companies admitted despite being global players in their own verticals and marketplaces they felt they had learnt not only about what other tech and resource is out there, but were surprised at the talent from the UK that they hadn’t tapped into.

Our CEO, Si Brow said , "To visit the Lucas Film, see the original StarWars Artwork, experience what they are currently working on was a memorable experience that will live with him forever. 

Especially being able to fight Darth Maul in AR with a lightsaber and seeing a real hologram of Princess Lea. His favourite film coming to life was the icing on the cake. 

The first experience in the fourth instalment of StarWars, was way back in the latter part of the 1970’s. So to see the developments and progressions of the film tech was mind-blowing".

skignz were super keen not only to visit, but also understand more of what the world's most famous and leading branding, Apple, are looking for in Augmented Reality.

Apple have made no secret over the last 12-18 months about where they see the importance of AR and how they are focussing quite heavily on it (obviously without telling us what exactly they are doing beyond ARKit). 

We hope that a potential follow up meeting in early 2018 will provide us with more guidance, direction and opportunity for the skignz technology and platform with Apple. Watch this space ...

In addition to the companies we visited the delegates on the mission proved, as ALL missions do, that sometimes it's not where you are visiting or what work /relationships you aim to establish whilst there, it's actually the people you're with (sort of a Big Brother intensive shared experience) that actually brings more immediate opportunities and scope for partnerships. 

This was certainly the case on this trip and the skignz team are looking forward to more focused meetings with quite a few of the other delegates. Again watch this space ...

As the skignz team have considerable experience from these Trade Missions to various locations across the world, we asked Si what did he think were the 3 most important things you need to consider when ‘Investing in a DiT Trade Mission’, because that's exactly what you are doing, you are investing time, energy, resources, and above all, funds to be involved.

Si’s three key points to consider are:
Research the location, does it fit with a business metric? Can you realistically produce 5-10 times more in revenue than the trip costs? If it's not about revenue and it's about understanding a marketplace, then be careful to make sure it's the marketplace you can not only deliver and do business in, but to understand also the impacts on the rest of the business if it's successful.

2. Pick the right people in your team to attend. Sending one person is more than enough. The reason I say that is, it forces you to engage with the other people attending and gets you out of your comfort zone, too easy with 2 to 3 of you attending for it to become a jolly. Focus is key!

3. Request what the likely agenda will be, who you will be seeing, when and why? If it's inward investment bodies, accountants, lawyers and other professional firms, don’t waste your time! 

If you want to do business in that country/location then you need to meet prospective customers, then if there is a market for your product or service, they will not only clarify that for you in more detail, but also all the other things will come after if you secure a new client or three.
In summary Si commented: “These trade missions are only as good as what you put into them, long intensive days, strict timetables of activity that if you don’t adhere to them, you will fail to get the benefit you seek.

Furthermore, you have made all the effort to get there, don’t be a wallflower, talk to the people around you who are also in the same boat and ask questions … especially of those people who are presenting or showing you demonstrations/examples. 
They are giving up their time to ‘host you’, get as much out of it as you can.

Also, be brutally honest with yourself and your colleagues when you return, debrief them:

What was good?
What was bad?
What inspired you?
What did you find out?

Everything you think will help you and the team in your business who weren’t present. 

They may ask questions of what you did, answer them honestly, they may see things that you don’t”.

Finally you need to enjoy it … yes you are there to work but in our experience ‘highest energy wins’.

We will keep you updated through our blog and reference this DiT inspired and creative event with our follow up and further actions as a result of ‘being there’ on the West Coast.

If you would like to know more about the UK DiT or the GREAT campaign then please visit.

If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website ( as well as the usual social media channels 

If you would like to download our FREE App then please Press here

Additional Images:


Sunday, 3 July 2016

IFB2016: skignz Review's the 3 week showcase

Last month we let you know that skignz would be placing a whole environment around the International Festival for Business 2016 (IFB) as part of our continued partnership with the GREAT Campaign.

Well, we can now say that having completed our time there, it was a complete success. 

Our Head of Operations, Jamie Clarke, went on to say "IFB in Liverpool was a successful event for skignz, in the people we met, the connections we made and the feedback on the tech that we received" 

Jamie had the pleasure to meet with Lord Price, Head of UKTI, who was really impressed with skignz and how to make AR useful.

Our CMO, Si Brown was also in attendance, and was very well received when speaking on the Blue Skies stage on the opening day.  

The speech was followed up by lots of discussion and interest in skignz, and saw both of our intrepid explorers busy throughout the 3 week festival, fielding enquiries, building relationships for the future and discussing potential projects with partners.

The GREAT Showcase was extremely well received throughout the three weeks, with thousands of visitors able to view, try out and discuss all of the superb elements of the Innovation, design and export is GREAT areas.

IFB was an extremely positive event to be involved with, both in terms of the exposure skignz gained from it, and also the press which it rightly received. 

skignz was also in action at the closing dinner, which recognised all contributors to the event and celebrated GREAT British Innovation and Business.

For further information, either find us on Social Media or read more on this blog. If you want to get in touch please email us

See a our Gallery of images below...



Monday, 6 June 2016

IFB - The GREATest Business Show on Earth….

In less than a week's time, the Greatest Show on Earth begins in Central Liverpool, UK on Monday 13th June 2016 running for 3 weeks.

As part of our partnership with the Prime Minister's Office and the GREAT Campaign, skignz will be providing a whole digital environment at the International Festival of Business in Liverpool at the end of June through to beginning of July. 

Attendees will be able to find their way from the trams and trains all the way to the Liverpool Convention Centre, and once there, be able to see various informative skignz to compliment the GREAT Campaign area.  

In addition to placing skignz around the location, skignz Co-Founder Si Brown will be speaking on the Blue Skies stage. 

Si will be sharing the bill with some of the most influential CEO’s and Entrepreneurs from around GREAT Britain and across the rest of the world.
IFB 2016 Business Club
This is a major coup for skignz at the this point in our development and allows us to showcase the technology to business leaders from around the world.  

A delighted Si said: 

“The partnership with the GREAT Campaign has proven to provide us with opportunities to gain exposure at events and locations which we wouldn’t of been able to previously. 

It’s obviously a great honour to speak at such a prestigious event.  

The team are looking forward to showcasing how we have been progressing and meeting some new contacts and networking with some of the brightest business minds from around the world”.

This event is part of a wider delivery of the skignz technology, we look forward to bringing you where on the planet it will be appearing next with our GREAT partners.

If you want to attend IFB 2016 or know more about it then please visit:

If you want to know more  about UKTI and how they can help you either export from the UK or do business in the UK then please visit:

To see more about the GREAT work being carried out abroad in promoting UK Plc. then please visit:

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Monday, 21 March 2016

SXSW16: The Greatest Show on Earth?

Passport - Check, Flight Details - Check, skignz QR Codes and Marketing Collateral - Check…. Ready to go..!

A 5:30am start on the long road to Heathrow for Co-Founder & CMO Si Brown and Head of DV Partnerships Jamie Clarke didn’t seem too bad. 

Although the constant rain all the way down one of the UK's busiest roads (M1 motorway) made the journey a longer one than expected… 

skignz was on its way to its first ever SXSW (South by South West) in Austin, Texas.  Widely regarded as THE Tech show to attend, SXSW is held annually in the One Star state in the USA and is attended by well over 100,000 people from all over the world.

Little did the two intrepid explorers realise, that upon arrival in Texas, the airline unfortunately decided to misplace Jamie’s suitcase. Then, upon arrival at the Hotel, there was a mix up with the booking and there was no room at the Inn!  

Somewhere to stay was quickly found in the form of a Motel (please imagine a motel, in the loosest sense of the word and your worst nightmare... you are not even close!) 

We then spent most of the early hours trying to book into another hotel for the remainder of our stay and assuming all was good in the USA. 

But these things happen in three’s don’t they? 
Well, they didn’t have to wait long, as at the end of the second day, Jamie left his phone in a 'hailed' Yellow Taxi and that was the set!

Jamie said, “At first, it seemed like fate had conspired against us.

But once we had gotten the three things out of the way, we were really pleased with how the trip went overall"

Things got decidedly better for the pair from there on in. Many thanks to colleagues at UKTi, Tech North and Tech City UK, who had supported skignz to be able to attend. 

We were also able to make some appointments in advance, so as to better utilise the time spent at the event.  

The whole environment was digitally enhanced by the presence of skignz to help attendees find their way around the huge city of Austin, finding Hotel Venues, the Party Venues, Registration and of course the excellent UKTi Great Britain House (which skignz made their base, throughout the week). 

“We placed skignz at all of the major areas of the event, guiding people to the Registration area, the Convention centre and helped the 'Lounges' to be found by people in an unfamiliar surroundings and generally showing people how useful visual way finding could be” said Co-Founder & CMO, Si Brown.


Our meetings with some of the 'largest brands on the planet' went well, with several meetings leading on to follow up meetings upon our return.  

Si and Jamie held the majority of meetings in the GREAT Britain House, which was a superb venue designed to showcase the best of British businesses to our American counterparts.

Some great comments were received by the team throughout the trip, with people using twitter to say that skignz had ‘made their trip to SXSW’ with one amazing lady (you know who you are!) even saying on twitter “Fan girling the skignz tech was the highlight of the trip”, so, good impressions made by the guys in Texas.

Overall, this was a productive, and tiring trip for the guys.  With skignz placed all over the grand old city of Austin, the greatest tech show on earth, became the skignz show in the sky...

Could different types of AR have been used to introduce the varying VR experiences, could the whole room be set up in such a way that everything was AR or VR rather than a collection of areas with companies trying to out do each other?

Imagine a 'curated space' with complimentary AR/VR experiences leading users through a journey, opening their minds to new possibilities, provoking thoughts and questions on how each step could be applied to their own lives, both personally and professionally?

It needs a coordinated approach and some serious engagement in order for AR/VR to go from a nice to have, pithy, transition piece in the middle of SXSW to a major focal point in 2017. Very surprising especially with all with the current levels of investment and interest in the two.

SXSW AR/VR track made me seriously 'beg the question', How long can these technologies be classed as 'The Future' rather than the 'Here and Now'?

Read Si’s Blog Post on his thoughts of the VR/AR track at SXSW here…

With the airline again messing up but this time with leg room on our return journey, we certainly have had a mixed type of trip but as always we like to focus on the positive and it's those positives we hope skignz will benefit from going forward.

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Thursday, 3 March 2016

skignz @ SXSW 2016

skignz will be providing a 'skigned environment' right across SXSW in Austin, Texas, US.

This will be a world first for SXSW, as visitors will be able to use the FREE skignz app to access 'virtual signs in the sky', helping them to navigate their way around as well as interacting with the skignz for further information and in some cases 'offers'.

skignz is so simple to use and the essential app for SXSW 2016.

If you don't currently have skignz then please feel free to download a copy (it's only very little at 1mB file size) of the skignz app for IOS or Android.

You can also scan the QR code (shown below) or on one of the many stickers across downtown Austin...

If you would like to come and talk to our guys then we will be in the 'Great Britain House' as one of the UKTI Tech Ambassadors.

They will be on hand throughout the Interactive show to demonstrate skignz, and how it might be applicable to your business or even for your own personal use...

Whether you want to use skignz to visualize your 'geo location data' and make it more accessible and useful, through to using skignz to find your friends in downtown Austin during SXSX?

All events are taking place at the 'Great Britain House' (206 East 4th Street, Austin, Texas. (AKA Wanderlust Yoga) 

Please note that the 'Great Britain House'  is open 11-14 March from 9am-10pm daily

Just look for the skignz (just like below)...

For Further information on SXSW Interactive please visit:

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Friday, 30 January 2015

Boston, BABCNE and our very own Mr Brown

The date is the 1st December 2014 and not only is skignz embarking on the 1st day of December but Co-Founder and CMO was setting off to Boston MA, USA, to speak to some of the worlds largest brands.

Joining Si on this trip was a delegation from the North East of England including UKTi, NECC and a number of businesses keen on finding out what Boston has to offer them.

Deb McGargle, the awesome Co Founder of Particular Law, one of the UK's leading law firms working with start up tech companies was Si's travelling companion. Si takes up the story of the trip:

Deb and I were routed through Dublin from Newcastle and the biggest shock we came across was Passport Control, normally what you have to go through in the country you land in, was in Dublin Airport, right after you went through security. US Sovereign soil in Ireland. Hence no time for duty free or even breakfast! The trip had begun.

Both Deb and I are still not quite sure if this is a good idea or not, as it felt rather strange, but upon landing in Boston and literally getting off the plane, walking through a corridor, one door took us right out onto the taxi stand where the other led us to the baggage carousel. Not the usual miserable face wanting to know your 'inside leg measurement' as proof your visit to their country is for anything worthy.


BABCNE (British American Business Council of New England) and the British Consulate were fine hosts and many of their board members were on hand through our trip to welcome us and introduce us to many different people. I was slightly shocked as the President of BABCNE, Ken Vacovac was my own father's Doppelganger! The Boston, Malcolm Brown. Both seemed that their counterpart was probably the best looking guys in their native towns ... mmm!

Back to business and whilst I was off spending a number of days in meetings with different organisations including UKTi, Microsoft, CIC, British Consulate, Local Government office and a number of local businesses, Deb was off meeting other lawyers across Boston, whilst taking some time out to address a group of students at Harvard Law school! As one does!

I'm very privileged to say that I've actually known Deb since we were in primary school and she's equally at home in the House of Lords or Harvard Law as she is in a start-up company's garage trying to understand their next move!

I spent a lot of time showing demo's of the skignz technology to various audiences including many people from our own delegation, in turn finding out what got those guys out of bed on a morning. I must say we had quite a wonderful eclectic group of people and thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Over the years I have been on a number of delegations with UKTi and I always enjoy meeting and enjoying talking to others who have gone on the trip. I think I find a kindred spirit that these guys are prepared to get off their derriere and go out and make things happen. There does not seem to be an age, sector, industry or background barrier. They are all out there as I am trying to make things happen on a global scale, trying to get a slice of the bigger pie than what is on offer in our own immediate areas.

Not many of you will know this but both Gary (skignz other Co-Founder) and I met on a UKTi mission to Cannes, France way back in 2001. I believe we were the only people to secure work from that trip, but that was from each others' company as we went on to build a strong partnership and longer lasting friendship and now a partnership.

So if you have not spoken to UKTi or been on a 'Trade Mission' Sector visit, then I highly recommend you do, not just from a business perspective but also from your own personal development point of view.

Back to Boston and BABCNE, where some of us were invited to their Christmas Luncheon at the Harvard Club. A most splendid afternoon was had by all and I walked away with quite a few prizes from their quiz ;-).

Another reason for the trip was to engage with their Venture Capital Community to try and get an understanding of what they are looking to invest in, what profile of company, stage of growth etc. However nothing prepared me for the 'sheer size of this VC Community'.

In the building, One Broadway, in the centre of the Cambridge area of Boston, they have five times as many Venture Capitalists than the whole of Europe combined! Yes you did read that right! From what I was told, their combined wealth would place them as about the 5-6th world's largest GDP!

After pitching skignz to a number of potential VC's I then went on to take a look at the government buildings, the Consulate General's Residence for an early reception and a visit to WCM, one of Boston's top media agencies.

One of the visits that really stuck out in my mind and was probably most relative to skignz (other than the fine people at Microsoft - you know who you are ;-) ) was visiting CIC (Cambridge Innovation Centre) also in the same building as ALL these VC's and the British Consulate.

After showing us around the start up and growth accelerator areas, they invited us to take part in their Thursdays weekly gathering, free beer and plenty of interesting people with similar interests in creativity, tech and all at different stages of their business growth.

I even had the opportunity to speak to some Russian students who were on an exchange programme for four weeks. It was really interesting to see what they made of the tech scene compared with their homeland. Obviously this conversation took place in Russian, with me being fluent! Yeah, right oh!

In summary, Boston was an awesome experience, a worthwhile trip and a great opportunity to meet new friends, catch up with old friends and expand the gospel of skignz ... speaking of gospels ... Gospelware who were another awesome company on the delegation I spent time with.

I had met Ryan previously but it never ceases to amaze me, his passion for all things in the mobile tech sphere!


Since the trip we have already met one of the key guys from Microsoft for lunch in Newcastle, UK, we have pitched skignz to the most senior people at 3 different leading global brands.

We are hoping that a delegation from Boston & BABCNE will come over to the North East of England for the return leg! They are very welcome and I'm hoping that between BABCNE, UKTi, British Consulate, and the NECC, plus the guys who went out in December can make this happen in 2015.

skignz will certainly be returning to see our new friends in Boston in the coming months as we increase our US activity and fingers crossed with the 3 brands we have already engaged with ...

Watch this space as we update you all through the year on our progress stateside ...

If you would like to know more about BABCNE and what they do, even how they can help you and your business then please visit

Would like to know more about UKTi and see how you can take part in their annual activities. Please visit

If you would like to pray at the altar of Gospelware, see how these guys eat, sleep and breathe mobile. Please check them out at

Do you have a tech business and need the best legal support team on the whole planet then you need to get in touch with Deb and her team at Particular.

However if you just want to know how skignz could help your Business or even just be a cool thing to have for your own personal use...