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We couldn’t miss the Lisbon Web Summit, Europe’s largest technology marketplace!

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Notes on Web Summit, Lisbon 2016

I attended the Web Summit 2016 in Lisbon last week, one of the leading tech events in Europe, which brings together start-ups from all industries as well as established companies such as Facebook or Cisco to present their success stories. The event gives attendees the opportunity to meet some of the most influential CEOs, founders, investors and political leaders in a very informal atmosphere.

Web Summit is billed as the place ‘where the tech world meets’ and I would like to dismiss any scepticism about this from the start. The start-up bubble is huge and this event, which itself has grown bigger, was teeming with happy startuppers trying to secure a place in the spotlight and to present their ideas. And yes, the event was attended by a number of celebrities who added a touch of glamour to it, such as Luis Figo, the former Barcelona and Real Madrid football player.

Survival of the fittest

There were many established and traditional companies demonstrating their continuing relevance in the world of new technology. Cisco presented its Innovation Grand Challenge winners, including a drone locator, and Philips’ Chief Innovation Officer spoke about new technologies and IOT changing the nature of healthcare with a speech that sounded that it had been written more for government officials rather than young tech community.
The traditional strength of such companies lies in their powerful R&D labs and historical ability to come up with products with large scale potential.
In the very fast paced, simpler and saturated world of technology, the big players still control the market; however, for this to continue, they must respond to new challenges by launching new products quicker and at a higher quality than start-ups do with their alternative solutions.

Blockchain changing FinTech

In my view, blockchain is here to stay. To simplify, it is not a technology but a network of trust, which makes life faster and more convenient. The hype is real and it has the ability to permanently change supply chain finance and how lending and borrowing works. Many banks are taking these new concepts seriously and setting up blockchain labs in order to be able to find the right solution and yes, to understand what is coming as well. There are many blockchain specialists and the most successful ones amongst them do not promote their ability to understand blockchain but rather solve old problems in a new way. So watch this space.

Social for you

Can new and alternative social networks become different and better than Facebook? Yes, they can. While Facebook is not going anywhere, we are seeing the rise of many specialised social networks, which connect people and give them credible information about other users, ranging from animal dating, which allows you to find a partner for your pet, to the systematic monitoring of statistics of sport skills and abilities, which allows for kids to be trained, scouted and selected by sports teams.

Artificial intelligence, IOT changing the urban fabric

It is becoming a lot more apparent that we are going to face a reality of constant change, where equipment, tools and people will be picking up trends that will then rapidly fade away. Shopping with self-checkouts will allow you to smoothly move through a shop with one click payments making you forget that it is you who is actually paying for the goods. The technology for smart-everything, including objects powered by artificial intelligence, will also have the ability to remember your preferred settings. That said, the question is whether we will be able to provide strong use cases for this artificial intelligence to perform valuable service.

So to conclude, would I go to Web Summit again? Possibly, yes. The way I prefer to work is to carefully select partners and build a strong use case, which makes a proper business sense. However, it is becoming harder and harder not to act as a kid in a toy store. If you are looking to visit a Disneyland for technology, the Web Summit is the right choice for you.
Vladimir Masinsky, Team Leader of HB Reavis’ Innovations Team

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