Neil Garner wowed us with some of the technological advances that have been made over the last 20 years and how he has been very much involved in innovation in his own career – shaping disruptive innovations like mobile contactless payments, proximity marketing and mobile wallets (before Apple Pay) from the very early concepts, through technology development to taking the product to market, working alongside many large global organisations.

He is currently co-founder and CEO of Thyngs.net (Turning everyday objects into interactive Thyngs); Co-founder and CEO of WhiteSpace Norwich, a co-working ‘Tech Hub’, and Vice Chair of TechEast which focuses on raising the profile of and supporting and scaling Digital Tech businesses in the East of England. Whilst originally from the Midlands, Neil is passionate about the county of Norfolk (which, as well as a great place to live, he believes is a perfect testing ground for innovation before taking it nationally or internationally).  Together with other local organisations he is working towards evolving Norwich as a Tech City.

Before we had the chance to ask what the latest technological trends were, Neil shared with us the ‘Smart’ tattoos that he had developed for the Warner Brother’s Wonder Woman film – essentially you tap or scan the tattoo with your mobile phone and it takes you to a website with information about the film.  It’s Neil’s vision to encourage a closer interaction between the virtual and physical world – particularly for the younger generation who are in danger of learning everything they know from their smartphones.  The idea is that if you are walking past a point of interest in the City, your device picks this up and takes you to a website with information about its history – great for treasure hunts or City trails!