Google’s Digital Garage opened to more than 700 members of the local business community at an event held in Belfast earlier today (12 September 2017).
Gori Yahaya, Head of Training at Google’s Digital Garage, was guest speaker at the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) Annual Networking Conference and Business Showcase at St George’s Market in Belfast.
In a keynote speech Mr Yahaya provided advice for attendees on how to best reach their customers online, maximising the technology giant’s digital skills training platform.
The conference, which was held in partnership with headline sponsor Dublin Airport and supporting sponsor Belfast City Council, was designed to give companies from across Northern Ireland the opportunity to meet, engage and participate in networking activities aimed at creating new business connections. It also featured a large market place with over 100 companies exhibiting their products and services, showcasing the best of Northern Ireland business.
Vincent Harrison, Managing Director of headline sponsor Dublin Airport, said: “I was particularly delighted to speak at this NI Chamber event – a great opportunity for us all to showcase our business. Great business is done by meeting and engaging with people and this is a fantastic opportunity to connect further with many businesses in the region. Dublin Airport is Ireland’s gateway to the world and the Northern Ireland market is very important for us. We’re hugely conscious of playing a significant role in Northern Ireland’s economy and our connection with this event underpins this. More than 2 million passengers used Dublin Airport to travel to and from Northern Ireland last year and we’re bringing Northern Ireland closer to the world with a significant expansion in long-haul routes to North America, the Middle East and most recently to Asia-Pacific.”
Zymplify’s Chief Executive Michael Carlin and Pinsent Mason Solicitor Anna Flanagan, were also two of the event’s key speakers, with both participating on the conference’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) themed panel session.
From 25 May 2018, all businesses that hold personal data will have to guarantee that their data procedures are fit for purpose and compliant with the new regulation. While the GDPR is an EU-initiative, the UK government has already made it clear that the legislation will still take effect in the UK after Brexit. Businesses that are found to be non-compliant risk potential fines of up to €20 million or 4% of annual worldwide turnover.
Speaking at the event, Michael Carlin, Chief Executive of Zymplify, said: “GDPR is essential to us and key to everyone’s business. It is the most important change in data privacy regulation in 20 years and it is vital to understand the impact of the new regulations, particularly directed to marketing and technology. These are two important actions which all businesses are developing along with their products and services and the networking event provided an important opportunity for clarity on the subject for those attending. GDPR brings with it much stricter requirements on obtaining valid consent, on both inbound and outbound marketing, particularly on what should companies be doing now to get valid consent before May 2018.”
Anna Flanagan, Solicitor at Pinsent Masons, said: “Given the volume of changes the GDPR is bringing, organisations should already have begun preparing for next May. However if they have not done so yet, they can start to address the issue by carrying out a review of their current policies and procedures to ascertain their compliance with the new regime and our Information Law Team are supporting a range of local businesses with that process for example through a data protection audit. A data protection audit helps identify any weaknesses in the organisational or technical measures bodies currently use in handling personal data, and align them towards the particular requirements of the GDPR.
“With the significant uplift in potential penalties to 20million euro or 4% of global turnover whichever is higher, the costs of getting it wrong make proper preparation a prudent investment.”