Driving Innovation in Dublin
Two days into ‘the best technology conference on the planet’ in Dublin, my head is reeling – and it’s not from the Guinness. The Web Summit is many things, but first and foremost a celebration of the power and scope of human ingenuity.
The event is huge, spread over several locations – and crawling with people, laptops and business cards. You can hear several different languages being spoken – people have come from all over the world, as far as New Zealand and Australia. The air is feverish with excitement as pitches are made, contacts established, details exchanged – and that’s just amongst the long lines of start-up stands showcasing the latest bright idea. ‘The place is full of nerds,’ I overhear someone say. It’s undoubtedly true – but these are extremely cool, ambitious nerds judging by the innovation on showcase.
There is an atmosphere of invigorating optimism about the future. Reminiscent of a music festival, there are several different stages dedicated to talks on a variety of technology-related topics – from enterprise and digital marketing to sports and music, via the so-called library stage – my personal highlight, featuring talks about the relationship between technology and politics, ethics and social action.
The predominant message is that the internet has, and continues to change the world. Media outlets are constantly decrying that the world is going to hell in a hand basket – the environment, the economy, entire political systems have become obsolete. On a slightly smaller scale and a bit closer to home, we’ve got old business models dying a lingering death as tradition gives way to new-fangled technological ways. Banks, TV broadcasting, even supermarkets – staples of modern life – are all struggling to innovate. Tradition is on the out – we’ve certainly noticed it as clients are constantly looking for an edge on the traditional research methods they’re already using, for instance.
Instead of engendering the gloom and pessimism we so often encounter in our daily lives, these changes have given rise to a flurry of innovation, invention and incredible resourcefulness and vision. The focus is on how society can adapt to change, how obstacles can be surmounted and lives made easier through technology – anything from upping your reading speed to creating 3D-printed food.
So what does it mean for the world of video content and emotion measurement? The Realeyes stand saw a lot of action – there was certainly a constant flow of people making funny faces at our Emotion Mirror! We met many interesting people – from companies eager to find new ways to test their video content, to media platforms looking for greater insights into buying and distributing creative. But beyond our core business, we also had many a conversation about further applications of our technology in industries as diverse as gaming, education and health.
This sanguinity and faith in the technology of the future is inspiring to say the least. It’s reassuring to know that the world is full of people with innovation on the brain, having ideas they believe in, willing and able to try and make them happen.
*Image from the WebSummit 2014 brochure.