Web Summit was born in Dublin, Ireland. It was founded by Paddy Gosgrave (CEO), David Kelly and Daire Hickey. However, the Irish government wasn’t able to guarantee the conditions required by Paddy Gosgrave. Web Summit is, in fact, a huge event which requires infrastructures, public transports, Wi-Fi and price control practiced by the hotels. Because of that, the CEO started searching where was the best place to host the event and on the 23rd September of 2015, Paulo Portas and Paddy Gosgrave announced that the Web Summit would stay in Lisbon from 2016 to 2018 , with a chance to continue for two more years. However, on October of 2018, the Portuguese government announced that the event would remain in the country until 2028. When asked about his choice, Paddy Gosgrave said that it was the optimism of Portuguese entrepreneurs that made him decide to move Web Summit to Lisbon.

With this opportunity, Lisbon adapted itself to the event. For example, this year, as happened in the last editions, Lisbon’s metro offered 3 new vouchers (which includes Carris, Metro and CP) with big discounts in order to facilitate the access to Web Summit. The total amount to be invested on Web Summit from 2018 to 2028 is 110 million of euros (10 million per year).

However, the investment is expected to have return: for Leonardo Mathias, assistant secretary of state for Economics in 2015, at the time of the announcement made by Paulo Portas and Paddy Gosgrave, the expected return for Portugal was around 175 million euros. For António Costa, prime minister of Portugal, Lisbon receiving the Web Summit until 2028:

“Means much more than 30 millions of euros from a direct tax revenue. It also gives the image that Portugal can attract technological companies to create employment and better salaries.”

— António Costa

His words confirm the idea that this event is included in a national strategy called Startup Portugal, a set of 15 measures in order to support entrepreneurship launched in 2016.

2019 Edition

Talking about this year edition and starting by some of the speakers that will enlighten us, Huawei brings us its Deputy Chairman of the Board and Rotating Chairman: Guo Ping. Mr. Guo joined Huawei in 1988 and has served many roles in the company, including Rotating CEO. He’s a major figure from the Chinese giant and will surely talk about Huawei’s current point of reference: the approach to 5G. 5G could potentially offer higher download speeds, a much more stable internet connection and a larger capacity of app handling. It could also pave the way for several technologies such as improving the artificial intelligence in robots, automated cars and even holographic videos.

Furthermore, the CEO & Chairman of Verizon, Hans Vestberg will talk to us about the Eight Currencies, or eight performance attributes, that should be considered when implementing 5G in any device. These are through service deployment, mobility, connected devices, energy efficiency, data volume, latency and reliability. With its many potentials, it’s quoted as something that “doesn’t happen overnight” and the attributes could be seen as a blueprint for maximizing the potential of the 5G technology.

From the EU commission, comes its Commissioner for Competition and executive vice president for the next commission: Margrethe Vestager. Former Minister in Denmark and political leader of the Social Liberal Party, she is the main cause of the multimillion dollar fines against the giants of Silicon Valley like Facebook, Google and Apple. She promises an “Europe fit for the digital age”, enforcing more control over technological companies.

We also have from Amazon its Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and vice president: Dr. Werner Vogels. This former Lisbon resident is the man behind the success of the recent technological changes in Amazon, the Amazon Web Services, the multifunction cloud system that just made its first event in Portugal in Nova SBE.

Also virtual reality is going to be debated. With the rise of technological progress, the idea of an immersive 3D environment that puts a physical entity into an imaginary world sounded too good to be true for some, but with the success of devices such as the Oculus Rift, this idea has thrived. Meanwhile, the use of Augmented Reality, also known as AR, has also made adding information onto a simple photograph or video easy, with heavily used apps such as Snapchat and Pokémon Go being favorite smartphone apps according to the Google Play ratings.

The event will count with more than 1000 speakers and a lot of themes to be discussed. Web Summit will take place at the Lisbon International Fair (FIL) and Altice Arena, around the area of Parque das Nações. On the week before the event, prices ranged from 1500€ to 4995€.

From our part, we subscribe the message from professor and President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at the end of the last year edition of Web Summit:

“We are seeing xenophobia, intolerance, racism, closing of societies and economies, trade wars, closing of borders all over the world. I’s up to each of us to use the digital revolution for dialogue, for peace”

— Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa

For sure, Innovation (in economics, science, arts) is the way out to a better world.

Article Written By João Mário Caetano, João Diogo Rodrigues and Daniel Calado

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