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Speaker Biographies

Confirmed Speakers

Nicola Yates

Nicola Yates

CEO, Connected Places Catapult


Nicola Yates is Chief Executive of Connected Places Catapult, the new organisation from the combined Future Cities and Transport Catapults.

During her leadership at Future Cities Catapult, Nicola led a significant organisational turnaround of the business, implementing a new organisational structure, overhauling its financial management systems and processes, introducing a new commercial approach and developing a fresh and consistent focus on knowledge management and dissemination.

Nicola is an experienced city leader. Prior to taking up her role at Future Cities Catapult, she was City Director at Bristol City Council. She has held leadership roles at Hull City Council and North Shropshire, Harborough, East Northamptonshire and Blaby District Councils.

Nicola is currently a trustee for the independent policy think tank ‘Centre for Cities’ and is a member of SOLACE (the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives) and the Chartered Institute of Housing. She has featured in the Local Government Chronicle’s ‘Top 50 most influential figures in local government’ and was awarded ‘Woman Achiever in Housing’. In 2010, Nicola received an OBE for services to local government.

Conor Burns

Conor Burns

MP, Bournemouth West, Alderney and Branksome East


Conor Burns MP has been Member of Parliament for Bournemouth West since 2010. Conor’s parliamentary career has comprised of roles in the Treasury, The Northern Ireland Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy. From July 2017 – July 2018, Conor served as Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary, Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP.

Ruth Spencer

Ruth Spencer

Digital Economy Manager, BCP Council


Ruth jointly leads on BCP Council’s Smart Place strategy and implementation which incorporates the development of the Lansdowne Digital Testbed and the creation and management of BCP Council’s Smart Place Research & Development Consortium, which includes global businesses, local SMEs, Dorset LEP and other public sector bodies.

Prior to joining BCP Council, Ruth spent over 10 years in London in the private sector in digital media publishing and transformation for FTSE 100 company, Pearson, and then Penguin Random House. She ran Penguin Random House’s strategic partnerships portfolio, working with companies such as Skype, Amazon, Apple and Transport for London in support of the direct-to-consumer strategy. As Head of Marketing, she led the digital marketing and product development team for the Penguin brand which included winning a series of Webby and Guardian Innovation Awards.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith

5G Testbed and Trials Programme Director, DCMS


Ian is the Programme Director for the 5G Testbeds and Trials Programme which will deliver the Government's ambition to be a world leader in 5G.
He has over 25 years working within Government, vendor and operator environments. He has extensive experience defining future network strategy and evolution, exploring new business models, and the delivery of large and complex network programmes from concept through to operation.
Ian Joined DCMS from Ericsson where he was the Head of UK Design, Plan and Deployment team delivering services and infrastructure for all the UK operators.

Luigi Ardito

Luigi Ardito

Senior Director of Government Affairs, Qualcomm


Luigi Ardito is currently working as Director of government affairs for Europe, Middle East and North Africa at Qualcomm and drive Qualcomm spectrum and regulatory policy agenda in Europe and MENA dealing with various government entities and industry organizations. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Luigi worked for over a decade at Sony Corporation both in Japan and in the UK. Luigi gained also professional experience at France Telecom and at the Italian Public Broadcaster RAI.

Luigi has extensive experience in the Media and Telecom industry as well as the Semiconductor Industry gained through his assignments at Qualcomm, Sony, France Telecom and RAI. He holds an Electronic Engineering Degree gained at the Politecnico di Torino in Italy and a Master of Business Administration gained at the Henley Management College in the UK.

Ian Dabson

Ian Dabson

Commercial Specialist, Infrastructure and Projects Authority


Ian has wide commercial experience having started and developed businesses at all stages to IPO/M&A.

He has delivered regeneration and transformation in large corporates as a line executive as well as managing integration and planning post merger/acquisition.

In addition to line responsibility Ian also held design authority for TMT infrastructure, OSS/BSS and process & innovation in a number of environments. He has undertaken due diligence internationally, led large procurements and provided consultancy both independently and as a SME within businesses. He also chaired BT training forum, led Openreach diversity and well being programmes, established graduate programmes and sponsored and developed performance improvement initiatives.

Ian has Bachelor and Masters degrees in Engineering and many technical and postgraduate qualifications including an MBA from London Business School.

He currently works supporting central government in digital infrastructure matters.

Robert Franks

Robert Franks

Managing Director, Franks Ventures


Biography will appear soon.

Stephen Hilton

Stephen Hilton

Strategic Advisor: Smart City Region, West of England Combined Authority


Stephen is Strategic Advisor on the Smart Region for the West of England Combined Authority, where he has developed and led work on the Bristol and Bath 5G Smart Tourism Testbed. Stephen Is also the Founder of Bristol Futures Global Ltd – a smart city consultancy that focuses on inclusive smart cities delivered through public, private, ‘people’ partnerships.

Stephen has 20 years experience of developing and delivering city strategy and was previously awarded the title of Local Government Innovator of the year.

Stephen is a Fellow of the University of Bristol, a Trustee of Bristol Architecture Centre and a Board Director of the Bristol Pound Community Interest Company.

Stephen has a severe genetic visual impairment, which gives him a unique and valuable view of the world.

Xavier Nuñez

Xavier Nuñez

Innovation Business Unit 5G, i2CAT Foundation


Innovation and entrepreneurship professional. Passionate about 5G, Smart Cities and the new industrial revolution. Also for the new social paradigm that they can represent.

Certified Project Manager (PMI) and ITIL Foundation Certificate, specialist in the ICT field. Business developer and connoisseur of the technologies involved in the different business areas, with a focus on client and project, as well as to create "Taylor made" services in each case.

Disseminator and lecturer in different fairs and conferences in different fields, as well as participant in different standardization, standardization and regulation tables of the electronics and telecommunications sector.

Very involved in the associative world, I believe in associations as engines of change and support for the professional and the entrepreneur. My development in this field has allowed me to meet and enjoy a large number of professionals in the sector and establish friendly relationships with many of them, which I am most proud of.

Dez O'Connor

Dez O'Connor

Business Development Manager, CISCO


Dez has been innovating across the telecoms sector his entire career. Having lead product development in several service providers Dez has overseen the network evolution from 2G, to 5G. He has also ran a telecommunications management consultancy serving customers across Europe, Americas and Asia.

More recently, with Cisco systems, Dez is involved in the development of 5G and WiFi6 as well as acting as CTO in UK Governments Cisco lead 5G Rural-First consortium testbed designed to make the case for Rural coverage.

Dave Happy

Dave Happy

CEO, Telinet


Following a Combined Studies degree, Dave obtained his Masters from Exeter and in the Netherlands. He has 30 years expertise in the sector, beginning with Motorola in PMR and Cellular, then building advanced fibre and coax local loop networks with Regional Bell operating company US WEST. He was the first telco employee of the business that became Virgin Media where he obtained their Operators licence, obtained nation-wide free spectrum in the 10GHz band by winning a spectrum beauty contest, helped build their first Satellite Earth Station, oversaw a £40m subsea cable project, and as a reasonable linguist, assisted with France Telecom/Orange’s acquisition of a stake in the business.

He is a former pro bono non-Executive Director of BT’s “Connected Earth” operation where he helped to secure UN support for its collection. Before setting up his own spectrum and cyber security business he was with Samsung Electronics, as Vice President of EU Affairs in their R&D operation where he was worked with (amongst others) ETSI, Tech UK and Digital Europe.

He conceived of the Ordnance Survey Bournemouth spectrum mapping project and recently hosted Ofcom’s Group Director of Spectrum and the Director of Spectrum Policy on the Orkney islands where he is now working as part of the DCMS funded 5G Rural First project, exploring spectrum sharing (“Dynamic Spectrum Access”). He is currently part of the Ofcom stakeholder group preparing for the World Radio Conference (“WRC”) 2019 which he has previously attended as part of the UK Government delegation. He has spoken widely over the years at Forum Europe, 5G World, the FTTH Conference, Westminster e-forum, Tech UK, and the UK Spectrum Policy Forum

He is also active in the cybersecurity domain and is currently assisting a major Plc with cyber issues. He has specific expertise in assisting Councils with 5G related spectrum and security issues, and recent Council customers have included Bournemouth and Basingstoke.

Mani Manimohan

Mani Manimohan

Senior Director of Public Policy, GSMA


Mani has a diverse track record that blends more than 10,000 hours in each of technology innovation, product strategy and policy making with leadership of bold initiatives at large technology firms, tech start-ups, regulatory authority and industry bodies. At GSMA, he leads the global policy research and in-market delivery activities across a portfolio of digital infrastructure policy and regulatory topics. In his early career, he developed statistical algorithms and designed real-time software systems for innovative tech products, including the first 2G/3G handsets and software defined base-stations. Before joining GSMA, he worked with OFCOM (UK) on a number of regulatory reviews. In recent years, he has authored and collaborated on thought leadership pieces on internet value chain, open internet, online platforms, data economy, 5G infrastructure, competition frameworks and licence models. Mani is a Master’s Scholar of the University of Cambridge with a First Class Honours degree and a Doctorate in Information Sciences.

Dimitra Simeonidou

Dimitra Simeonidou

Professor of High Performance Networks, University of Bristol


Dimitra Simeonidou is a Full Professor of High Performance Networks at the University of Bristol. She is also the Director of Bristol’s Smart Internet Lab, the CTO of Bristol Is Open and co-founder of the SDN start-up Zeetta Network).

Dimitra studied at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece where she received a BSc and MSc in 1987 and 1989 respectively from the Physics Department. She gained her PhD from the University of Essex in 1994 and then spent four years with Alcatel Submarine Networks where in her role of Chief Engineer she pioneered the introduction of WDM in submarine networks. In 1998 she returned to University of Essex to pursue a long-term career in academia. At Essex she established the internationally renowned High Performance Networks group (HPN). In 2000 she also founded the start-up company Ilotron which received $10M venture capital funding (3i) to develop WDM switching equipment and was subsequently acquired by the US company Altamar.

Dimitra joined University of Bristol with her team of 20 researchers in September 2012 after 15 years at the University of Essex. Her research group has now grown to 45 researchers and is consistently being recognised as one of the top Optical Networking groups in the world.

Dimitra is a leading academic and entrepreneur in the fields of Optical Networks, Cloud Networking and Software Defined Networking. Her research is focusing in the fields of high performance networks, Data Centre Networking, Software Defined Transport Networking and Smart Cities. Dimitra is in the editorial teams of leading Journals and chairs committees, conferences, standardisation groups and fora in the relevant bodies. She is the author and co-author of over 400 papers in peer reviewed journals and international conferences, book chapters, several standardisation documents and patents.

Stephen  Slough

Stephen Slough

CIO, Dorset CCG


Stephen currently holds a number of roles in the Dorset healthcare System. He is the CIO for Dorset CCG, Dorset Healthcare and Dorset County Hospital. With these roles he covers the delivery of IT services across Primary, Community, Mental Health and Acute care settings. He leads three capable teams ensuring the day to day experience of the staff and people interacting with technology at those organisations is the best it can be.

He is also the Portfolio Director for the digital transformation of healthcare services in Dorset as part of the joint health and social care transformation plan for the Dorset ICS. It is here that technologies like 5g can be used to challenge normal practice and introduce other disruptive technologies that will transform the way care is both provided and received. Our mission is to ensure that services are available and delivered not just for our urban population, but for all of the Dorset population.

Louise Lancaster

Louise Lancaster

Joint Head of Barrier Busting Task Force, 5G, DCMS


Louise joined the Digital Infrastructure Directorate within the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport in 2017, initially working on the 5G Testbeds & Trials Programme before joining the Barrier Busting Task Force, where she focuses on tackling barriers to deployment of mobile networks. These include access to land, access to spectrum and consideration of the planning regime.

Before joining DCMS, Louise spent more than twenty years in the telecoms industry, working for both fibre and wireless network providers in a variety of legal, regulatory and policy roles.

Daniel Shamplin-Hall

Daniel Shamplin-Hall

Policy Adviser - Devolution and Digital Connectivity, Local Government Association


Daniel is a policy adviser at the Local Government Association specialising in digital connectivity, trade and investment and economic growth. Most recently, he ran the Post-Brexit England Commission, a project exploring the opportunities and challenges facing rural and coastal areas of England in the coming years.

Jo  O’Riordan

Jo O’Riordan

Head of Spectrum Policy and Telecoms, techUK


Jo manages the Spectrum Policy Forum, the industry voice of spectrum users in the UK, and works with colleagues in the Communications Infrastructure team.

During university she worked at Islington Council and then the Industry and Parliament Trust, an independent, non-lobbying, non-partisan charity that provides a trusted platform of engagement between Parliament and UK business.

Since gaining a BA(Hons) in Globalisation and Governance she has managed an array of national and international policy-based events. Most recently she worked in policy and public affairs at the consumer engagement campaign behind the smart meter rollout, Smart Energy GB. Here she predominately managed the organisations engagement with MPs and local government alongside external speaking opportunities.

Outside of work Jo likes spending as much time as possible with her dog Fudge, as well as cooking, watching live comedy, and exercising.

Martin Fenton

Martin Fenton

Director of Spectrum Policy, Ofcom


Martin is Director of Spectrum Policy in the of the Spectrum Group of Ofcom (UK). He is also Chairman of ITU-R Study Group 5, the group responsible for all terrestrial radio frequency services. Martin is an expert in international and domestic spectrum regulation; specialising in spectrum policy, interference analysis and RF performance. He has 20 years’ experience in spectrum management at the UK communications regulator, Ofcom, and its predecessor, the Radiocommunications Agency.

Adrian Hale

Adrian Hale

Smart City, Transport & 5G Strategic Planning, BCP Council


Adrian jointly leads on BCP Council’s Smart Place strategy and implementation which incorporates the development of the Lansdowne Digital Testbed and the creation and management of BCP Council’s Smart Place Research & Development Consortium, which includes global businesses, local SMEs, Dorset LEP and other public sector bodies.
Adrian is a chartered civil engineer, with a background of senior management in local government with a particular emphasis on delivering high quality public services and value for money. He is a Peer Reviewer with the Local Government Association and is an advisor to the Dorset LEP on both digital and transport infrastructure. He has led on a number of successful major funding bids for regeneration, transport and digital projects.

Stephen Temple

Stephen Temple

Visiting Professor , Surrey University 5G Innovation Centre


Stephen Temple is visiting Professor at the Surrey University 5G Innovation Centre and chairs the Spectrum Policy Forum Cluster 2 that focuses on spectrum sharing. He is also on the IET Communications Policy Panel and helped set up the IET spectrum sharing initiative 5G Further-Faster.

In the private sector he pioneered ntl’s (now Virgin) broadband Internet, harmonised the digital cable TV platforms of merged cable TV companies and become MD of their networks division. He was later director of special projects in Vodafone's HQ Corporate Strategy.

At an earlier period in his career at the DTI he was a co-creator of the GSM and his GSM Memorandum of Understanding established cellular mobile as a global industry. He also brought about the digital terrestrial TV in the UK and was one of the founders of ETSI. At the DTI he led the mobile world into the 1800 MHz band and a quarter of a century later, at the 5G IC, was the inventor of the “5G pioneer band” approach adopted by the RSPG for Europe.

Simon Pike

Simon Pike

Spectrum Expert, Independent


Simon Pike has several decades experience in spectrum policy and management. From 1999 until 2016, he was Chief Engineer, Regulatory and Spectrum for Vodafone Group, which he represented in UK and international bodies including the ITU, CEPT (its European counterpart), NGMN and GSMA. He has attended the last five World Radiocommunication Conferences as a member of the UK delegation and chaired the International Cluster of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum. He is now an independent consultant, and he spent a year as Technical Adviser to the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials team.
Simon Pike has several decades experience in spectrum policy and management. From 1999 until 2016, he was Chief Engineer, Regulatory and Spectrum for Vodafone Group, which he represented in UK and international bodies including the ITU, CEPT (its European counterpart), NGMN and GSMA. He has attended the last five World Radiocommunication Conferences as a member of the UK delegation and chaired the International Cluster of the UK Spectrum Policy Forum. He is now an independent consultant, and he spent a year as Technical Adviser to the DCMS 5G Testbeds and Trials team.

Wenbing Yao

Wenbing Yao

Vice President, Business Development and Partnerships , Huawei


Wenbing Yao joined Huawei UK in 2008 and took up the role of VP Business Development and Partnerships in April 2018. She is an Advisory Board Member of UK5G and Board Member of TechUK. Since 2017, Wenbing has been with Huawei Corporate Elite Program on end to end network transformation. Between 2012 and 2016, Wenbing was the Director of Strategy and Marketing, responsible for developing the mid and long term business strategy for Huawei UK; driving strategic business development in areas including 5G, IoT, Smart City, Big Data, Media and Broadcast, Data Centre IT infrastructure; leading joint innovations with key telecom customers and organising market communication activities. Before 2012, Wenbing held various positions in a global account in Huawei, leading the solution marketing and industry and research collaborations team.

Wenbing received her Ph.D degree in Communication and Information Systems from Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, P.R.China, in 2001. She was a lecturer in wireless communications at Brunel University from 2003 to 2008, and a research fellow from 2002 to 2003 in heterogeneous networking technologies and mobile healthcare systems.

Wenbing lives in Basingstoke, and is a keen badminton player and a dog lover.

Chris Shephard

Chris Shephard

Director - Development, BCP Council


Chris worked his way through University College London, running Sunglass Hut on Oxford Street and Brighton, selling sunglasses to tourists.

He moved on to work in high street recruitment agency Brook Street in Victoria, winning top consultant and branch of the year awards in the process placing temps in Government departments.

Chris then moved back home to the south coast, moving client side to work in the public sector in Economic Development. His roles have always been business facing, working with industrial estate occupiers in West Sussex and Financial and Business Services companies in Hampshire.

Chris now heads up Bournemouth’s Economic Development & Sustainability Team, helping businesses to grow, thrive and act sustainably.

Outside of work Chris is a family man, happily married with two kids under 5. He enjoys going to the beach, eating out and trying new craft beers when the opportunity arises! He is a keen commuter cyclist, enjoys watching any sport with a ball involved, and listening to and playing music.



Friday 5 July, 2019
09.00 to 16.00




Hilton Bournemouth

Terrace Rd, Bournemouth BH2 5EL

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