Every fall, the most western European capital used to turn into the center of a hyper-dense concentration of technological entrepreneurs, evangelists, investors, and inventors. Yes, Web Summit in Lisbon has come back this year after two years of pandemic restrictions.
43K participants from 128 countries, more than 1500 startups, and 872 investors - such are some of the Web Summits indicators, given that the last event was significantly smaller than previous ones. Undoubtedly, the post-pandemic world became the highlight of the Summit. Two years of through-screen communication and other challenges caused by the pandemic make us feel delighted from ordinary acts like hand-shaking or pushing in the crowd. Obviously, the experience of virtualization forced by COVID-19 formed Web Summit's discourse and aroused new digital solutions represented at the venue.
Artelogic’s squad has come to the Web Summit with an internal startup Snaplore - a collaborative knowledge base for decentralized teams that allows for easy creation, structure, and the sharing of knowledge. Being at the beta-version stage, we are inspired by new customers and their feedback and comments. Besides that, we had a great network and caught the tech industry trends that used to soar around when such a vast amount of trend makers were gathered in one place.
Let me share some insights that could shed light on the trends of the tech industry in the near future. Web Summit has always been an excellent indicator of where the tech industry is heading, so it was no exception this year.
Even though most startups, venture capitalists, and R&D efforts are vigorously fighting for the green future of the world by launching eco-friendly ways for city mobility, it was interesting to observe that many websummiters are still far away from believing that the net-zero times are any closer. Despite the ecological impact, some decent part of the event participants prefer driving their own car rather than switching to more Earth-friendly alternatives.
Though, looking into 2040, most people see themselves more easily switching to autonomous vehicles or even teleportation. So we just hope to see some innovative startups in Web Summit 20xx soon enough. Nevertheless, many startups exhibited at Summit claimed they develop unique solutions for fighting climate change. It means that appropriate trends are being developed, and the VC industry is ready to invest in such initiatives.
Connectivity and convergency became Web Summit’s buzzwords. Many startups harness the idea of connecting people in their prototypes. Many speakers discussed how to converge the different realities, spaces, and even universes. This looks very likely given the viral Metaverse discourse launched by Facebook.
When we talked about technology two years ago, we expected them to design our future experience. But two pandemic years have brought humility to our way of thinking. Now we prefer to learn about the human experience before the design of cutting-edge technologies. For example, many speakers highlighted the technologies and services that can merge the individual and office spaces or streamline the remote work process, given the lessons of a forced two-year virtualization.
So, in that aspect, trend makers go beyond standard services like video conferencing or chats, staring in the VR, emotion recognition, and other immersive technologies that allow for realistically virtualizing all environments. Frankly speaking, many Web Summit talks spun around remote work, work-life balance, "one life" concepts. As usual, "dark times" force us to re-evaluate what it means to be a human being.
What is our general conclusion as representatives of the software development company that globally delivers hi-tech solutions? The demands for digitalization will increase, but, on the other hand, there could be a demand for high-quality and flexible solutions developed by specialists with exceptional expertise. Use cases and customer experience will dominate over technologies, even such viral as AI or blockchain. Hence, besides the focus on engineering, the innovative company has to leverage expertise from other domains, such as psychology, marketing, or social science. We talk a lot about human-centered companies, so why shouldn't the future be the same?