Web Summit 2021 featured a number of conferences covering various themes ranging from the Metaverse and Facebook’s scandals, through debates on how journalism should be conducted, to the tasting of meatless steaks! There was definitely something in there for everyone’s taste…
Discover a selection of the conferences that made the biggest impression on our team:
Axel P. – CEO
Facebook will not fix itself.
Roger McNamee, Author of Zucked: Waking Up To The Facebook Catastrophe
I particularly appreciated the contrast of perspectives between the value system of tech companies (efficiency, speed, profitability) and the democracies of Western countries (discussion, consensus). A conference that puts into context the unmissable news related to the various challenges faced by Facebook this year. Don’t miss it here:
Maëlys D. – Account manager
Spinal Cord Sci-fi: Beyond paralysis.
Grégoire Courtine and Jocelyne Bloch (EPFL), David Mzee (Switzerland), Mary-Ann Russon (BBC).
One of the conferences that caught my attention the most was a project led by EPFL researchers, who studied the brain-spinal cord interface to allow paraplegics to regain the use of their legs. Through the videos showing the evolution of their work throughout the years and the easy-to-understand vocabulary in a very technical subject, the speakers delivered a captivating conference that was accessible to all.
It ended in a very moving way with the testimony of one of the patients arriving on stage… by walking! Seeing the dedication of the speakers made it all the more impactful, giving hope for the future of the healthcare sector.
Manon R. – Account manager
AI for heart attack prevention: The story of Iker Casillas.
Iker Casillas, World Cup winning goalkeeper
The power of technology in the service of health gives hope for the years to come. A very interesting conference by a talented sportsman who, after severe health problems, wanted to innovate to preserve his fellow sportsmen. I really appreciated his vision, and his energy, which motivates us to always give 100% of ourselves.
Making it in the media
As a woman, discovering the paths of other brilliant women is very inspiring. Cristina Ferreira shared her experiences and the keys to success in a world that is sadly still too patriarchal. I particularly liked her energy and her expressiveness, which I want to draw inspiration from in my professional life.
Michael V. – Experience & Interface Designer
DreamWorks – Using tech to create magic + Dream it, then make it happen!
Kate Swanborg, SVP of Technology Communications at DreamWorks et Mark Rolston, Founder at Argodesign.
A flawless storytelling speaker, Kate Swanborg captivated the thousands of visitors in the main hall (including me) with the compelling story of DreamWorks (Shrek, KungFu Panda) and how this animation studio used technology and user experience to ensure their success, not only in theaters but also at their workstations and in everyday life within their company.
Their collaboration with ArgoDesign for the redesign of their work interfaces and various business tools is an excellent testimony of the importance of design for the well-being of employees and productivity in a digitized business.
MasterClass – The Startup launchpad : From lab to market at EPFL.
Isabelle Casado, Head of Startup Funding Program at EPFL.
I particularly enjoyed the presentation of different startup success stories from EPFL labs and how an academic environment that reinforces the entrepreneurial spirit can contribute to the development of innovative ideas that grow into healthy and successful companies.
Whether through financial support, coaching from experts from the professional world, or the provision of resources for advanced prototyping, EPFL has clearly established a recipe that fosters innovation.
Diogo F. – Developer · Full Stack
Evervault: An “Encryption as a Service” Startup.
Today, much of the data that leaks onto the darknet is the result of someone with malicious intent gaining access to databases at the victim’s location. Evervault, a startup we met at the Web Summit, is trying to solve the problem by allowing developers to encrypt sensitive data directly into their database.
This means that if that database is stolen, the valuable data is unusable. However, if this key is stored at the developer’s site, it can be stolen just like the database: this is why Evervault stores the key and manages the encryption itself instead of the developer.
Evervault acts as a “proxy” before the data enters and exits for encryption/decryption. Given the ever-increasing number of cyberattacks and data thefts, this approach seems to be a good start to counteracting hackers.
A flawless 2021 edition
In addition to offering dozens of interesting conferences, the Web Summit is clearly an opportunity for any team working in digital innovation to stay up to date, meet influential players, and expand its network internationally.
Don’t miss the next edition of the Web Summit which will be held in Lisbon from 1 to 4 November 2022, we look forward to seeing you there!