This year we have not traveled kilometers, from one stage to another, dodging a tide of attendees; We have not been able to queue to touch the latest robot created, or chat coffee in hand and face to face with any of the innumerable participating startups.
And yet we have been able to do all of that. Like all the events of this unusual 2020, Web Summit also moved to its digital version from December 2 to 4, a little later than we are used to. The world’s largest technology conference was held daily for eight hours as a marathon of technology and innovation and as a showcase for startups that are changing the world. And it managed to transfer its usual effervescence online with more than 104,328 attendees from 168 countries, 1,137 speakers, 2,229 journalists, 1,145 investors and 2,007 startups.
He also looked for creative solutions so as not to lose the essence of Web Summit’s characteristic networking through the “Mingle Hours“, spaces between the different talks that allowed you to meet other online attendees at random. As if it were a blind date, an algorithm selected the participants based on their interests so that they could share knowledge and experiences for 3 minutes.
However, there is no doubt that this year the usual themes had a different tint, much more real, much more intense. It is said that it is necessary to look to the past to learn from mistakes; But in these unprecedented times that we are living in, we have to look to the future to solve those mistakes and build a better future for humanity, a better society for all and better means of communication that add value to our lives.
Looking back, 2020 will not be remembered as the best year of our lives. But there are exceptions; This year has not been a terrible one for everyone, and some companies have experienced the best of their years. We’ve come to rely more than ever on online products and platforms, and tech companies and brands have thrived like never before in the past 12 months. A fact that was reflected in Web Summit, where the technologies that have flourished have drawn a panorama of growth within their sectors. The key now is that these companies manage to maintain their growth rate during 2020, demonstrating that their business models are relevant even when freedom of movement is fully restored.
Reflecting on the future, discussions as relevant as the balance between privacy, data security and freedom of expression were opened at Web Summit. A debate led by figures such as the President of the European Commission Úrsula Von der Leyen who explained the imminent application (before the end of 2020) of the new DSA and DMA, a package of new legislative proposals aimed at putting order in the world digital and limit the enormous power of big technology.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the world wide web, explained his plan for a decentralized, more honest, free and secure internet. And in a year in which the vulnerability of our health has been demonstrated, there was talk of defeating death, neuromedicine and the protection of our neuro-rights.
Sustainability was one of the central themes in a more mature Web Summit, in which the climate danger is much closer. We saw how the union of sustainability and technology is already enabling companies to be much more profitable.
Regarding the media, there was full agreement in all the speakers: the future (present) is completely digital, the e-commerce boom is already unstoppable and will be enriched by the improvement of Artificial Intelligence and specifically machine learning.
We discover the interesting transformation of sectors such as fashion thanks to technology, with brands like Burberry completely reinventing their customer journey to become the starting point of digital inspiration with exclusive designs for your avatar in video games and a social store with Tencent in which to pay with Burberry virtual currency.
And, something that we already smelled, it was confirmed that streaming and live media will be the next generation of entertainment, with proposals such as HBOmax promising simultaneous releases of some Warner Bros titles, which open completely new competitive scenarios in the media. Communication.
An exciting and promising future. Now it remains for the media, brands and consumers to be able to rise to the new challenges and opportunities that arise from now on.
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