Industry 4.0 training and consultancy provider IN4.0 at Manchester tech hub The Landing has  appointed two industry leaders to enhance its immersive tech and cyber expertise.

Bev McGowan, an industry leader in data and information security, joins the MediaCityUK-based digital and innovation hub as director of cyber security while Simon Benson, a global leader in XR user experience and award-winning Sony PlayStation pioneer, joins as director of immersive technology.

McGowan brings has more than two decades of experience in cybersecurity, working in financial services, banking and the insurance sector where she held a number of leadership roles in governance, risk, compliance, data governance, security and privacy.

She is also CEO and founder of The Specialists Hub and CyberPRO Security Services and Training and is chair of the Cyber Expert Group for the Cyber Resilience Centre for Greater Manchester.

As director of cyber security, she will spearhead The Landing’s critical cyber security assets including the launch of a Security Operations Centre to support Greater Manchester’s SMEs to reduce their risk of cyber-attacks.

Her role will also include developing a strong diverse digital talent pipeline within the cybersecurity space.

Benson is the co-founder of Realised Realities – a specialist virtual reality and immersive technology consultancy.

Previously, he was the director of Sony’s Immersive Technology Group where he was instrumental in the creation and roll-out of stereoscopic 3D gaming and was a founder member of the PlayStation VR project.

In his new role, he will create a centre of excellence for immersive technology and will accelerate the use of VR and XR to businesses across the region.

He will also lead the recruitment and growth of The Landing’s Immersive Technology start-up and scale-up community.

He said: “Immersive and interactive media is fast becoming an influential media element in our world and for the younger generation it’s their primary form of entertainment and media.

“Knowing that we’re bringing all that together at this location and putting that quality stamp on it and maximising its opportunity to make this a centre of excellence is exciting.

“This is an opportunity to bring my world class expertise to the heart of MediaCityUK and to enable businesses that are stepping into immersive technology to take those first steps with confidence.”

McGowan added: “I’m excited about what we are building at The Landing and what we are doing aligns with my experience, vision and values.

“With the acceleration of digital transformation, we need to make sure we have the best security and privacy assets to mitigate any risk of cyber-attacks to the region’s SMEs and act as an enabler for innovation.

“It’s also important for us to provide people with opportunities and make sure digital training is accessible to all. We’ve already seen a massive increase in the uptake of cyber apprenticeships in the SME market so there’s a big demand for training in this sector.”

Mo Isap, CEO of IN4.0 Group, said of the appointments: “I am delighted to welcome both Bev and Simon to the team. Together they bring a wealth of experience in cyber security and immersive technology and understand the critical role this plays in the SME community.