First Option’s #FirstThing series of free breakfast seminars at Signal House is going from strength to strength. Looking back over the 15 months since its inception, we have hosted six events with an average attendance of 25 guests. iStock_000019624957SmallThemes have ranged from mobile apps and other technically oriented presentations like encryption, cloud computing and 3D simulation to ‘softer’, HR related subjects such as the disturbing lack of women in technology (#GirlsinIT October 2013) and fun events like launching the Alresford Music Festival and our interactive online Christmas quiz. We have altered the format each time – sometimes a straight presentation, others have taken the form of a symposium/debate with Google Hangout participation or an interactive ‘workshop’.

For the most recent event, 30 attendees enjoyed an event ‘with a difference’ at the end of February. Alresford resident and ex RN weapons engineering officer Jonathan Read led a live demonstration of his company’s VBS3 software to illustrate how games-based technology is being used by the military for on the ground training. Two teams of two guests each paired up, navigated a LandRover around a course, shot targets and collected points on the way. We had a cross section of players from an ex Tornado pilot to undergraduates from nearby University of Winchester. Much mirth and some rather unusual military tactics later, Jonathan presented bottles of wine to the top two scorers.SeriousG6

This was certainly the most interactive so far in our series of events and everyone agreed that it was educational at the same time as being a lot of fun. We are planning more events for the forthcoming year with a varied selection of presenters and subjects to suit all – though theme is that they will all have some relevance to our core business of technology.

The next #FirstThing event is scheduled for Wednesday 30th April when another Alresford resident, Cisco’s Richard Chatwin (‘self confessed computer geek’), examines the development of telecommunications from Alexander Graham Bell’s first tentative call in 1876 to 4G and how it is set to further change the way we use the telephone.

It should be a fascinating session and we are grateful to Richard for his insight into the world of the ‘old dog and bone’ that we think we know very well.

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