In three days at the RDS Paddy Cosgrave and the Web Summit team welcomed 22,000 attendees, to see 614 speakers, connect with 700 investors, tell their tales to 1,324 and drink 82,000 cups of coffee.
It seems that the theme for this year’s summit was most certainly “the internet of things”, how we are using technology and how connectivity is changing our lives for the better each day. It’s all about creativity, collaboration and experimenting.
Connectivity between devices and people in their homes, work and cars emerged was the big theme that dominated the discussions, deals, and bars around Web Summit 2014.
Aptly in what was his first public address, the newly appointed Ambassador for the United States, Kevin O’Malley, spoke about “The Great Tech Migration”, the power of tech in the political sphere. He focused on the opportunities for investment in the US, in the mid-west and cities that they may not have previously considered. He also spoke about the connection between Ireland the US in business and Ireland’s growth.
It’s all about that connection and collaboration. On the physical technology side Paul Daugherty, CTO of Accenture, pointed out that there will be 50 billion digital devices by 2020 and believed that “the internet of things will dwarf the mobile industry,” while for Jeff Hagins, Founder and CTO of SmartThings.
The reality is that smart devices are becoming more and more ubiquitous, monitoring our habits and preferences.
“It's about trust” said Nest founder, Tony Fadell, whose company specializes in smart devices for the home which was bought by Google for $3.2 billion this year.
“We're being invited into people's homes and we have to constantly prove this home by home and country by country.”
On day three Bono joined Eric Wahlforss Founder and CTO of Soundcloud and Dana Brunetti, Producer “House of Cards”, to discuss movies and music in the 21st century with the U2 frontman believing in the power of technology to give power back to musicians.
"Streaming services are exciting," he said.
"Songs are like our parents, they don't like being ignored and anything that gets your songs out there is a good thing. This is an experimental and exciting period so let's experiment and see what works."
“It’s hard to be cool and it’s better to be useful” was O'Reilly's sage advice.
Also on the main stage, companies from France, Estonia and Holland discussed how to scale companies outside of the Valley and across the diverse continent of Europe.
For Nicolas Brusson, Co-founder BlaBlaCar in France, 'things are changing for the better, but it’s happening too slowly, we need faster change’.
At the Music Summit Jimmy Chamberlin, CEO of LiveOne and formerly the drummer with the Smashing Pumpkins, discussed his experiences of the music business in the digital age. In discussing his career with the Smashing Pumpkins, Chamberlin revealed the extent to which the band adopted emerging technologies to reach its fans.
Also at the Machine Stage, Matt Turck from Firstmark, was one of the speakers who talked about the Internet of Things. The IoT he said, will herald the arrival of Web 3.0. He described the need for a new connectivity infrastructure. Our current networks were designed for voice calls and limited data. Billions of interconnected devices will be too much for the infrastructure as it is today.
This year’s Web Summit seems to have been a roaring success, despite the wifi issues throughout.
In just four years the Web Summit has grown from 400 attendees and Founder, Paddy Cosgrave is confident that the ever expanding Web Summit will continue to grow.