The Web Summit 2022 has brought together more than 70,000 people – attendees, startups, speakers, media, investors, and everyone interested in tech. The pandemic hit the conference in previous years, but now it’s striking back, allowing people from 160 countries to meet and interact. At this year’s Web Summit, there are 26 content tracks and 17 stages where every tech topic in the world will be discussed.
On the first day, several topics were raised, including questions regarding AI, metaverse, and Gen Z news consumption.
The opinions on Facebook’s ambitious plans to create its own digital universe were widely discussed, but somehow converged in the same conclusion: the idea is entertaining, but a monopolizing attitude leads to failure.
The Metaverse lacks the concept of the metaverse, according to Herman Narula, founder and CEO of VR and video game development company Improbable. The virtual world with no possibilities of natural growth and economical opportunities seems to be a still-born concept even in the early stages.
A discussion of Meta’s VR hardware cost was also brought up. By Narula’s words, it is “incredibly expensive, wholly unrelated to what customers want, and not yet compelling enough for use.”
Alexa is the most recognisable AI virtual assistant in the world. The future of its development was discussed with Amazon senior VP and head scientist Rohit Prasad. Over the past year, Amazon’s assistant has seen significant growth in usage.
Alexa’s next evolution will be integrating its behavior patterns into the user’s life. It will be able to help a user in a changing context, increasing its usability. A deeper integration with Smart Home gadgets will also be added.
New times call for unconventional decisions. Vice’s EVP, News, and Global Head of Programming and Development, Subrata De, explained Vice’s decision to create a Twitch presence, as well as why being on sites such as OnlyFans is a legit choice for a news organization.
“I don’t believe that there is one set of people who want news, or that people age into news. I think it’s up to us to find out where people are,” Subrata said.
The topic of whether social media platforms, which are largely made up of gen Z users, can be regarded as news sources was also discussed during this session.
It was concluded that Gen Z users get their news from each other. Despite their differences, they feel that they can trust one another. They don’t trust older generations or mainstream media.
All my respondents agreed the number of Web Summit 2022 attendees has risen in comparison to previous year.
“Our team attends Web Summit for the fourth time, and it’s nice that Web Summit is growing again in the second post-COVID year already. There are more booths, more interesting people, and more awesome projects. As usual, we are so grateful to Web Summit for allowing start-ups on every stage of development presenting themselves. There is also a noticeable trend toward crypto-friendliness – every year I see more and more crypto projects. I’m glad they’ve become a prominent sector of FinTech”, Taras Dovgal, Kikimora Labs co-founder, told me.
“This year definitely showed more crypto enthusiasts and people with the basic understandment crypto-technologies. Therefore, more attendees came to our stand and asked more questions about our project. As we stood in the FinTech area, our potential competitors and partners were nearby. We had a couple of interesting conversations, and we have reached out to several potential clients. There are so many more people around than last year. Many booths had themes about sustainability, ecological issues, which attracted more attention,” Kirill Arutyunov, CTO of NearPay, said.
“The organization sometimes lacks efficiency, but there are lots of those who are into crypto. Sometimes we even found a chance to address our target audiences directly. We’ve met many investors and guys who are making projects in FinTech, web3, and cryptocurrencies. We’ve met only a few people who have no understatement of these projects whatsoever. So, you see, the audience is definitely well-informed. And it’s great to see big companies like Google, AVS, and One Inch,” Yaroslav Reznichenko, Tech Lead at NearPay, added.
Also, David Virabian, Chief Product Officer at CoinPipe, shared his impressions on the first day of Web Summit, “It was interesting to see all the projects and services I’ve only seen or used online in person. In a way, it’s like all the Internet suddenly appeared in one place.
There were friendly people here, especially those working on the stands, but they were a bit tired. Anyone would find 70000 people overwhelming – it’s understandable. The event attracts people from all over the world, and you have to get up really early in order to attend. There is no way four days will be enough time to see everything and meet everyone. It’s not surprising – many of the people I spoke with were here for the first time.”