Web Summit Lisbon: technology and innovation from a humanized point of view

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Our participation in the Web Summit – Lisbon this month has generated many reflections among our employees about the future of technology and innovation in the world. Always aware of the trends in our area of expertise, we participated in the event represented by our Head of Operations, Murilo Magalhães, and our Business Development Manager, Paula Cárdenas, who shared some insights with us.

Foto: Murilo Magalhaes

Metaverse, the future of the Internet

It’s not news that the Metaverse has been gaining strength. Still seen as a universe for gamers, Meta’s Head of Product, Naomi Gleit, brought the subject in a more realistic angle, and raised the topic for discussion in talks, debates and approaches by many of the companies present at the Web Summit.

Today, Mark Zuckerberg’s company has invested billions annually in the development of the Metaverse, even if at odds with investors. Optimistic about the project, Gleit said that “the Metaverse will happen with or without Meta’s investment.” She also argued that the Metaverse is an evolution from the current Internet, in 2D, to 3D.

Gleit talked about the virtual space as a complement to reality in several areas, such as fashion, medicine, education, and entrepreneurship, but without replacing the connection between people in real life. “There is a misconception that the metaverse is replacing being present in person, that’s not the intention,” the executive argued.

“It was impressive how present the metaverse was in the discussions, in companies’ booths, which offered experiences in the virtual world, and also in the conversations. It is a subject still little explored by the general public, but very present among companies and experts in technology and innovation,” said Murilo.

Cryptocurrencies, a reality

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, founder and CEO of Binance, one of the world’s largest brokerage houses for buying and selling cryptocurrencies, brought the discussion about cryptocurrencies and blockchain to the main stage of the Web Summit Lisbon, showing the growing influence of the topic in the global technology ecosystem.  

Cryptocurrencies have been around for 13 years, which is considered new in the tech universe, and are still the subject of much discussion.

“At the Web Summit, much was said about the importance of evaluating the projects involving cryptocurrencies well, studying and evaluating their security and applicability, and also the volatility of the market. It is a universe with a lot of room for discussion,” said Murilo.

The whole world speaks the same language of technology

One of the things that most drew attention at the event was its plurality and worldliness. Both in terms of audience and speakers. There were over 1000 speakers from 160 countries, more than the 128 nations represented in the previous year.

“This brings a diversity of perspectives, of cultures, of seeing how each country lives its technology and innovation. As much as these are global themes and the trends are shared throughout the world, hearing representatives from different countries broadens our way of looking at technology and its future”, analyzed Murilo.

Another point observed within this theme of diversity was the large participation of women in the 2022 edition: they represented 42% of the audience.

“The Web Summit is committed to closing the gender gap. We could see many booths during the event being represented by women in the technology universe, and startups focused on empowering women even more to shape the future of technology. I think these spaces are very relevant for us because they create development opportunities for STEM women, strengthen our network, so we can be mentored by highly relevant women in the industry. All this for greater empowerment in the technology industry,” commented Paula.

Startups and their ideas winning the world

The Web Summit Lisbon was attended by more than 2,300 startups, an increase of more than 30% compared to last year, when the number was 1,519. “This shows how open the market is to new possibilities, with more incentives in various places of the world, so ideas can become products, which can have a positive impact on people’s lives,” said Murilo.

From Brazil, there were 270 startups, selected by Sebrae. The Brazilian presence was very strong at the event; we were among the five countries with the greatest number of representatives. A huge Brazilian stand was the meeting point for many Brazilians and a showcase for what has been built nationally.

This wide participation expanded the vision of the event’s organization, which is preparing an extra edition for 2023 in Rio de Janeiro, in May. “International investors are eyeing Latin America and Brazil in particular, attracted by some of the hottest startups in the region. Last year, Brazil had more than ten companies that achieved unicorn status and the country’s startups turned over $9.4 billion, triple the value of 2020,” said Paddy Cosgrave, founder and CEO of Web Summit.

The Web Summit – Lisbon showed how much Portugal has invested in digital transformation and has become a meeting point for professionals and companies with innovative ideas. The November edition next year is confirmed, and the country’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, spoke about the expectations for 2023 and Brazil’s participation in the event. “I am going to Rio de Janeiro. But, promise me that you will come back to Lisbon and bring the Latin Americans with you,” Sousa declared.

Around here, we are already looking forward to new exchanges of knowledge.