Monday 25 September 2017

Dublin Web Summit: Day 2 review

Katie Byrne and Peter Flanagan report from the Dublin Web Summit in the RDS

WHAT: SmartThings was announced as the winner of the Spark of Genius Award yesterday. The company allows customers and developers to invest in technology and products that computerise every aspect of their lives, from boiling their kettle to fixing their plumbing.

"Our vision in SmartThings is that the smartphone becomes the remote control for everything in your daily life," said CEO Alex Hawkins.

The potential of SmartThings is staggering. It is creating, rather than facilitating, a need; as well as hosting a limitless marketplace for technology builders and buyers. One to watch.

WHO: Michael Acton Smith, Mind Candy (Moshi Monsters); Victoria Ransom, Wildfire; Barry Sonnenfeld, film director; David Rowan, Wired.

HIGH POINTS: Daphne Koller's (co-founder of Coursera) vision for the future of learning. She wants to offer free education to everyone. "Who knows where the next Steve Jobs is living?"

Courses recently offered a free Stanford University online certificate in Artificial Intelligence. One hundred thousand pupils enrolled and one student from Kazakhstan used his certificate to get a job in Twitter. With 70,00 students signing up each week, the lecture hall is fast becoming a thing of the past.

LOW POINTS: The lack of marketing materials (even just a slogan would have done) supplied by the 250 or so start-up companies. With just a logo showcasing each stand, it was difficult to discern what they were offering -- Cindy Gallop of Make Love Not Porn reckons couples should start uploading videos of their lovemaking as a direct assault on the porn industry. Unfortunately the idea, though honourable, is as unrealistic as the industry she is attempting to undermine.

PEARLS OF WISDOM: The keynote speakers once again spoke about the importance of the Smartphone-first approach to developing. Acton Smith of Moshi Monsters cited a recent study that showed that 40pc of his young users were logging on via smartphones. Sonnenfeld reckons 3D movies are a direct attack on piracy. In e-commerce, it's all about offering an intuitive, personal shopping experience, with 'curated' being the new buzzword. Wunderkind Brian Wong of mobile rewards company Kiip sees a future in "quantifying ourselves", with a focus on fitness/body overhaul apps that track, and reward, progress. Optimised browsing is another talking point.

QUOTABLE QUOTES: "People working in media and technology are the change-makers of this world," said internet activist, Wael Ghonim, who spearheaded pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt.

Irish Independent

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