Web Summit 2015 – Day 1 

Just catching my breath after day 1 of web summit. Wow! How can it get any better? And it doesn’t feel like day 1, as networking and talking tech began yesterday. I shared a coffee with Ed Walsh from EMC after registration yesterday, and an excellent conversation set the scene for the web summit. I’m really looking forward to the EMC/GE panel event tomorrow. 
The big thing for me is to compare this with last years event, and see how the tech landscape has shifted. We are seeing a lot around the usual topics – analytics, mobile, social. The big additions this year is that it seems more focused per vertical, with medical and retail featuring prominently. I believe the key drivers are simply around the concept of “process and life optimisation”. The Internet of things (IoT) is everywhere, both in talks, conversation and startups. Virtual and Augmented Reality are also a hot topic this year. 

With 2000 startups, there are multiples of everything, so trying to pick out the cream can be a challenge. The best advice I could give to startups is to have 3 key differentiators ready, along with three of their biggest clients. Selling is a key component of technology, and it can be overlooked. 

I attended some really cool talks today, with the future of healthcare talk on  the centre stage generating a nice buzz because it applies to everyone. Amit Singh from Google also spoke very well on how machine learning will be an enabler. Rob Mee, CEO of Pivotal held a captive audience with some fascinating insight into enterprise software analytics they provide. A thought leader with a unique vision. 

Ramji Srinivasen of Counsyl speaking at panel event on future of healthcare

The athmosphere does indicate the size of the tech landscape here in Ireland. Even when having coffee yesterday, I bumped into Fintan and Adrian from Firmwave, who bring really cool technology around firmware and software design for IoT. Check those guys out tomorrow. It was also great to catch up with the team from Analytics Engines in Belfast. A company with great momentum, drive and a suite of analytics services in numerous verticals now including manufacturing and life sciences. 

One key element that you see is that we have a huge advantage in how small our island is as its natural for collaboration to occur, and it’s going to be crucial to technology enablement in this country. Everyone has a role to play, from the kids to the elder generation. Coderdojo again has a strong presence, and we can learn from the kids creativity and enthusiam. Never lose it. Again I met lots of bright talented people in tech at Web Summit, none more so than Andrea Graham from EMC, who despite her age, acts and converses like someone far more senior, and has even built her first company. People like Andrea have a big role to play in Irelands technology future. 

It was also great to see such a cultural diversity, with over 100 countries represented. I am fascinated by tech landscape and trends in Africa. With such huge populations and not having a widespread number of tech solutions, it seems like the perfect landscape as a Testbed for new technology. This year there are a number of alpha startups from Africa on display. Awesome to see. 
An interesting dynamic is also see how startups have progressed in a year, it was good to see startups like Algolia progress so well. 

Me and Alexander Farrell from Aveeza chilling near main stage!

So now it’s onto day 2! Expect another update tomorrow. 
Finally – Go team Tyco! 

Graham Baitson, Glenn Fitzpatrick and myself modelling the Tyco t shirts!

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