Helen Tonks, Managing Director of Hydraulics Online Ltd

Cicada client the Institute of Directors (IoD) is hosting a practical event to inform business leaders about the potential benefits of AI to their organisations. AI can transform global business practices and improve performance, but how will it impact SME businesses, and how do they go about harnessing AI technologies?

A panel of industry experts will explore the challenges and opportunities the new technology presents for SME businesses, with an afternoon of interactive AI clinics, networking and panel discussions.

SMEs face a raft of barriers to adoption ranging from lack of awareness of the benefits of AI to lack of resources and skills, as well as concerns about reputational and legal risks. Open to both IoD members and non-members and being held at the Midland Hotel, Manchester, the event will walk attendees through the Al landscape, with panellists sharing their knowledge and best practices, and providing insight into their own experiences and market trends.

Attendees will learn about where to start with AI, whether funding is available and what technical expertise they will need, when they are likely to see a return and the legal issues they need to consider.

Key speakers include Helen Tonks, Managing Director of Hydraulics Online Ltd and Dr Annabel Latham, Senior Lecturer, Department of Computing and Mathematics at Manchester Metropolitan University and Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Helen Tonks will share why Hydraulics Online chose to enter an established, tight-knit marketplace with a proposition that effectively turned ‘the norm’ on its head; the power of purpose and vision, and the role that digital has played in the business’ success to date, as well as the opportunities that AI presents.

UK STEM ambassador Dr Annabel Latham has helped SMEs develop AI products and services through the AI Foundry, Centre for Digital Innovation and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships. She will focus on the key challenges of ethics and public trust in AI, research and development and the practicalities of developing AI systems.

There will be a Q&A session and the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub will be in attendance to discuss the funding and support available for Greater Manchester Businesses seeking to adopt AI. Manchester Metropolitan University will be holding AI surgeries, either for individual businesses or for small groups, followed by speed networking between business leaders in the North West.

IoD Ambassador and organisation psychologist at Think Organisation, Sarah Clarke said: “The speed with which generative AI is revolutionising every corner of our world is unprecedented. Amidst colossal opportunities to elevate productivity, equally monumental risks loom. As directors we must grasp the true essence of generative AI to empower us to make more informed decisions. Join us to delve into the intricacies of AI, connect with visionary directors, and discover the wealth of support and expertise available to guide you through the uncharted territories of this transformative tool.”

Tickets are £18 (inc VAT) for members and £30 (inc VAT) for non-members. Price includes refreshments. To book go to: Better Director Series: Navigating the AI landscape -15 May 2024 | Business Events | Institute of Directors (iod.com)

15 May 2024, 3:30pm — 7pm – The Midland Hotel, Manchester

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