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Posted on August 28, 2019 by staff

‘World heritage site can lead digital industrial revolution’

The Ironbridge Gorge, a world heritage site and ‘one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution’ is set to usher in a new digital industrial revolution says Tim Luft.

Tim Luft, a Government technology dealmaker for the Department of International Trade, said he believes that fast-paced advances in technology combined with the creative mind-set of Ironbridge, can see the Gorge leading a charge for change into the fourth industrial revolution.

The world heritage site in Telford was one of the first to be designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the UK.

“If you go back to Ironbridge during the first industrial revolution, people were innovating and experimenting with new materials and creating new products that they didn’t really know what they would be used for at the time,” said Luft, founder and owner of Telford’s VR Simulation Systems and champion for the Telford Business Forum.

“There was no knowledge of smelting iron so that you could build a bridge or a tower – they were just experimenting.

“Fifteen of the top 20 jobs in tech don’t exist yet for children when they leave school because they don’t know what they are going to be – technology is moving forward that quick,” says Tim.

“You can argue that the US Silicon Valley started at lot of this, but where there is an opportunity for Ironbridge is for it to say ‘could we create an environment and encourage that creativity with our young people?’.”

Luft’s VR Simulation Systems will bring its tech to the Festival of Imagination, a festival funded by Arts Council England’s Cultural Destinations Tourism Fund which was secured by Telford & Wrekin Council.

Using VR and augmented 3D, it hopes to engage people with a recreation of Abraham Darby at The Furnace which will interact with visitors from Sunday, September 15.

“If you inspire just one child to do one thing then it can make a big difference. If we can inspire people to think they can be innovators and invent and think about doing things slightly differently then that would be wonderful.”