Salesforce (credit image/Enterprise Times/Roy Edwards)Salesforce opened its first AI centre in central London, welcoming more than a hundred developers and administrators to a free AI training event at the new venue. The centre will be a learning lab for experimenting and incubating new ideas, which will be shared with industry experts all over the world.

The UK AI Centre’s opening was attended by leading UK business and industry figures including Howard Dawber, the Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Growth, and Janet Coyle CBE, Managing Director of Grow London at London & Partners.
Salesforce, decision to locate the AI centre in London was hailed as a vote of confidence in the UK AI economy. The company is also using the UK AI centre’s opening to highlight and take action on the critical digital skills gap in the UK.

AI innovation and upskilling in London

During the opening keynote addresses, Dawber and Relina Bulchandani, EVP, Real Estate & Workplace Services for Salesforce discussed AI innovation and upskilling the next generation of workers. Salesforce has committed $4 billion to AI innovation in the UK over the next 5 years.

The company has also launched the AI Now Tour, the first in an ongoing series of similar events. The tour is designed to equip Salesforce developers and administrators with the skills needed to build future generative AI applications. This free-to-attend event also supports the company’s commitment to train 100,000 developers worldwide.

Paul O’Sullivan, UKI CTO and SVP Solution Engineering, Salesforce.
Paul O’Sullivan, UKI CTO and SVP Solution Engineering, Salesforce.

Paul O’Sullivan, Head of Salesforce UK AI Centre and UK&I Chief Technology Officer said, “We are thrilled to open the doors to the Salesforce UK AI centre. Welcoming developers from across the industry to join us for a free intensive full-day workshop on building the future of generative AI applications. This will be the first in an ongoing programme of skills sessions, all designed to help close the AI skills gap.

Dawber said, “The new Salesforce UK AI centre will play an important part in ensuring London continues to be a leader in AI innovation. A centre for global collaboration. We must continue to provide our workforce with the right skills so they can implement AI responsibly and effectively. This will boost our economy, as we build a better and fairer London for everyone.”

Relina Bulchandani, EVP, Real Estate & Workplace Services for Salesforce, said, “London is a world class AI hub. We are proud to have a thriving customer and partner ecosystem here. That’s why we chose the city for our first AI centre. The space will be a learning lab for experimenting and incubating new ideas. It will be shared with industry experts all over the world.

Enterprise Times: What this means for businesses

The UK AI market is predicted to grow from $21 billion to more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years. But the UK is facing a digital skills crisis that could impede this growth. Salesforce ‘s research suggests over a third of UK workers are using or planning to use generative AI at work. However, the majority (62%) lack the skills to do so effectively and safely. They do not feel equipped to effectively embrace the emerging AI technology, safely. As a result, training is going to be a critical part to ensuring UK enterprises reach the growth potential expected. It is very positive to see a major enterprise such as Salesforce, see this as a primary focus for the company.

Enter from stage left: The newly launched Salesforce’s AI Centre. It is a fabulous space that is expected to foster collaboration by bringing together industry experts, Salesforce partners and customers to drive AI innovation. At the same time providing a critical opportunity to upskill the next generation.

The only chink in this scenario remains data. The effective adoption of AI is heavily dependant on data. However, businesses, irrespective to size, sector or geography still have fundamental issues acquiring, managing and utilising data. Data quality, divides and silos still remain major issues within businesses, and an important obstacle to enterprises effectively embracing AI. Hopefully, the centre could develop some real use case, mentoring or learning materials to enable businesses to overcome this hurdle.




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