With the Web Summit in Lisbon, one of the most important tech conferences in the world took place this year from 01 to 04 November 2021 - and for the first time regularly since the outbreak of the Corona pandemic. What was held last year as an online event, this year took place in the Portuguese capital with over 42,000 participants and attendees at different locations.
Latori staff Filipe Santiago and Abdoulaye Djibril Bah had the opportunity to attend Web Summit 2021 and shared some insights with us for this review.
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What awaited visitors at the Web Summit in Lisbon?
The event is known for attracting some of the superstars of the tech world. In 12 years of existence, the event has grown from a conference with 400 participants to a summit with over 40,000 visitors. The event has brought together world-class speakers, promising start-ups, international media and tech investors from over 100 countries around the world. People from a wide range of backgrounds gathered to network, highlight current market trends and express ideas and visions for the future.
The topics were as diverse as the speakers. In addition to start-ups and tech companies, speakers such as Game of Thrones actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, former athlete and entrepreneur Dr Wladimir Klitschko, football legend Iker Casillas, polarising Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement Ayọ (formerly Opal) Tometi were in Lisbon to speak on the event stage.
A range of talks, masterclasses, exhibition stands and roundtables on a variety of topics in the online world were on offer, as well as networking events away from the stages and in the evenings after the conference.
Filipe and Abdoulaye, who were at the Web Summit for the first time this year, attended countless masterclasses and talks, some of which started with long queues due to the rush of visitors. Below is a screenshot of the timetable, which participants could compile themselves with topics for the conference days via app:
What was Latori's objective at Web Summit 2021?
Latori visited the Portuguese event for the first time this year to gain new experience, get a fresh perspective on the important topics in the industry and to explore what significance the Web Summit can have for its own agency success. "We knew that we wanted to find out on the spot what new solutions are on the market. What new technologies are there? What knowledge can we bring back to Germany from there, for example, and incorporate into our work?" says Abdoulaye about his participation.
Continuing education is a priority at Latori, so team members always have the opportunity to express their interest in exciting webinars, conferences or master classes. The participation in the Web Summit was already planned for 2020, but was postponed by one year due to the well-known situation.
Which topics were particularly exciting for e-commerce agencies like Latori?
The range of topics was endless, even if of course not all of them are relevant to our own way of working. Masterclasses such as "Security in the Cloud" or "Getting started with AI", which were hosted by Amazon Web Services, are particularly memorable. "These topics are also very important for us as an agency, as they are similar to the problems we deal with on a daily basis," says Abdoulaye. "They talked about security systems on the server and how you can make backups yourself, for example to receive notifications when other employees make deletions. The topic was very important for me," he continues.
The exchange with various start-ups and exhibitors could also open new doors for Latori and present IT solutions that can support future work with customer projects. For example, participation in the conference might have found a way to implement proof of age on Shopify shops. This is important for companies that sell goods such as alcohol online and is currently difficult to implement.
Participation in the master classes was not always easy, registration for them took place several weeks ago and yet long queues of spontaneous visitors who wanted to take part gathered outside the event rooms. The exclusive places for around 100 participants were fully booked at all times.
When is the Web Summit in Lisbon worthwhile and when is it not?
It is the well-known curse and blessing at events like the Web Summit in Lisbon: the topics are broad and the impressions endless. However, this also means that there is no depth. Problems are roughly touched upon and discussed rather superficially. Aspects such as the topic of security, which could theoretically be debated for days, are dealt with briefly and succinctly in 20-minute lectures. The companies hosting the master classes naturally highlight their solutions, as Filipe also sums up.
The question of whether the Web Summit is worthwhile for visitors is therefore closely related to the goal of participation. If one hopes to get solutions and answers to specific problems, summits like this could turn out to be the wrong place to go. If, on the other hand, you are attending to network with industry experts and companies and to strive for joint cooperation in the future, or to find investors for your project or start-up and to get an overview of the pain points and trends on the market, the Web Summit in Lisbon is just right.
Filipe also says: "We had contacts with companies that offer solutions that we can probably use in the future. One was constantly in exchange with other visitors. I think that if you have your own stand at the fair as a company, it can also prove worthwhile and have a great benefit."
Abdoulaye summarises the relevance of participating as follows: "If you start from Latori, which is a company that can cover almost everything around backend and frontend, it is difficult to find the right topic for everything. Especially in the backend area, many implementation solutions have been missing here. The Websummit is worthwhile for people who want to inform themselves roughly and want to sell or invest. You also get new food for thought on topics that you can then get more in-depth information on outside of the trade fair."
Web security, the impact of the Corona pandemic, climate change and many other topics were discussed by the tech industry at Web Summit 2021. At the beginning of the conference, the Mayor of Lisbon, Carlos Moedas, declared that it was his dream to make the city the "world capital of innovation" and called for a "digital revolution". We already know that Latori will be a part of this and will continue to position itself in the front ranks when it comes to implementing technological trends.
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