The technological summit Web Summit returns to Lisbon, Monday and Thursday, where it will stay for another 10 years, with the organization promising “the best edition”, but without getting rid of controversies in this and the previous two years.
The Web Summit arrived in Lisbon in 2016 and brought 53,000 people from 166 countries, 15,000 companies, 7,000 CEOs, 700 top investors and 2,000 international journalists.
Last year, these numbers rose to a total of 60,000 participants from 170 countries, 1,200 speakers, 2,000 startups, 1,400 investors and 2,500 journalists.
However, these two previous editions were marked not only by the size and growth of the event but also by controversies.
In the 2016 edition, there were several difficulties in accesses (road and public transport, such as the metro) to Parque das Nações, area of the event, as well as problems in entry, with some participants not being able to attend the opening ceremony, for example.
Already last year, it was at the end of the event that the controversy was installed due to the use of the space of the National Pantheon to hold an exclusive dinner for guests of the Web Summit, situation that motivated several criticisms and led the organization to apologize ” for any offense caused “and to ensure that the event,” conducted with respect “, complied with local rules.
For this year, the organization has already promised “the biggest and the best” edition ever, with news and more than 70 thousand participants.
Still, the list of speakers for this edition has already spoken, prompting Web Summit chief executive Paddy Cosgrave to withdraw the invitation to the far-right leader, Marine Le Pen, to join the list of speakers after from various sectors.
The Portuguese Government even clarified that it had no intervention in the selection of speakers at the summit.
What is known about the Web Summit
Origin of Web Summit
Founded in 2010 by Paddy Cosgrave and co-founders Daire Hickey and David Kelly, the Web Summit is one of the world’s largest technology, innovation and entrepreneurship events and evolved in less than six years from a team of just three people to a company with hundreds of employees.
In 2016, the summit moved to Lisbon, with an initial forecast to stay three years. However, at the beginning of October of this year, it was announced that the event will continue to be held in Lisbon for another 10 years, ie until 2028, with annual counterparts of 11 million euros and the expansion of the Lisbon International Fair (FIL).
The agreement also provides for a termination clause of € 3.4 billion, which means that if the Web Summit wants to leave, it will have to compensate the state. This amount corresponds to the total estimated impact of the event, since, according to a source from the Lisbon Chamber, it translates to 340 million euros for each year of non-compliance with the agreement.
The Government, therefore, estimates that the economic activity generated by this event reaches more than 300 million euros, along with 30 million in tax revenues.
Like the previous two editions, the Web Summit runs between Monday and Thursday at the Altice Arena (formerly Meo Arena) and at FIL, in Lisbon.
The third edition will have “three new stages”: DeepTech, which will focus on the impact of technologies such as computing and nanotechnology in the industry and everyday life; the UnBoxed, where technology critics will analyze electronic products; and CryptoConf, which will discuss issues such as digital currencies.
In all, there will be 25 different conferences within a single summit to discuss technology-related realities in areas such as environment, sport, fashion and politics.
The 2018 edition in numbers
- More than 70,000 participants from more than 170 countries;
- More than 20,000 companies and over 1,000 ‘startups’;
- More than 1,000 investors and about 1,000 speakers;
- More than 2,500 international journalists;
- A pitch competition with 200 competitors;
- Tickets prices are around 1,000 euros (base), 5,000 euros (for directors) and 25,000 euros (for presidents of the Board of Directors);
These include 10 thousand tickets sold for five euros for young people between the ages of 16 and 23 and 10,000 cheaper tickets for women entrepreneurs under the Women in Tech program.
Some of the present speakers
Speakers such as former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actress Maisie Williams, eBay chief executive Devin Wenig, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider, fashion designer Alexander Wang and Microsoft Corporation President Brad Smith, among others.
The group of Portuguese speakers includes the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, European Commissioner Carlos Moedas, Prime Minister António Costa, and the President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.
Main partners of the event
Amazon Web Services, KPMG, Booking.com, BMWi, Mercedes-Benz.io, Volkswagen We, IBM, Cisco, Siemens, Microsoft, Google, Altice, EDP.
With regard to public transport, Metropolitano de Lisboa will monitor traffic on the Red Line during the Web Summit, with the aim of seeking to adjust supply to demand, as well as strengthening customer service in several stations.
At the same time, it will allow all participants of the technology summit to pre-purchase transport tickets through a digital platform, using credit card payment.
The Metro will also, together with Carris and CP – Comboios de Portugal and, in coordination with the Web Summit organization, be present at the event accreditation sites, namely at the Airport and FIL to provide information and referral of visitors, as well as selling the tickets at these locations.
The second and fourth (and last) day of the event will be marked by partial strikes of the workers of the Metropolitan between 06:00 and 09:30, which justify the paralysis with the disagreement with the proposed multiannual salary update of 24, 50 euros for the years 2018 and 2019, which should disrupt the service.
For those who travel by car, from Sunday until the end of the event, there are provisions for motor vehicle traffic throughout the surrounding area of Parque das Nações, under police surveillance.
The Alameda dos Oceanos, in the north-south direction, between the Rotunda of the Viceroys and Avenida do Índico, will be circulable, but circulation will be interrupted at the Alameda dos Oceanos near FIL, between the Portuguese Pavilion and the Vice Roundabout -Reis (south-north direction).
It will also be cut the Rua do Bojador, the section between the Altice Arena and the International Fair of Lisbon (east-west section) and Avenida do Atlântico, between the Lisbon International Fair and Sony Square.
They will be conditioned to Rua do Bojador between Avenida da Boa Esperança and Altice Arena and Boa Esperança Avenue between the Rotunda dos Viceroys and Hotel Myriad.
For those who opt for taxis, the company Cooptáxis announced that it will have part of the fleet with a thousand taxis and professionals “mobilized and focused” at the event.
As for users of electronic transport platforms, Taxify has announced that it will offer six-seat cars.
Regarding the arrivals by air, ANA – Aeroportos de Portugal assured that “Humberto Delgado Airport [in Lisbon] is prepared to meet the expected volume of visitors”.
ANA also notes that “preparation for the reception of visitors is made well in advance”, which is reflected, according to the airport manager, in “creating own spaces that not only generate better flows in the credence of the event but also provide better service to participants “as well as in the” enhanced wi-fi service to cope with increased usage. ”
“There are spaces dedicated to the accreditation of all visitors, as well as specific groups, and parking access and others in order to speed up the reception of this high flow of visitors,” said ANA, adding that it will also “strengthen signage and accompanying passengers “in the previous days and the event.
PSP has announced that it will adopt additional security measures and cut roads to the motorway from Sunday at Parque das Nações in Lisbon due to the 2018 Web Summit next week.
In a statement, PSP pointed out that “although there has been no increase in the threat level for this year’s edition, compared to 2017,” additional security measures will be taken “focused on prevention and proactivity” with the delimitation of perimeters and the control of visitors at the entrances, which include the use of metal detectors and X-ray machines.
The three mobile operators Altice Portugal, NOS and Vodafone Portugal will strengthen their networks due to the Web Summit, with Meo’s owner taking on the challenge of duplicating the data circulating in their networks.
“Altice Portugal, the technology partner of the Web Summit, has provided the venues for the event – FIL and Altice Arena – with a state-of-the-art wi-fi network, this being one of the main reasons for the transfer of the event from Ireland to Portugal, “the owner of Meo told.
Thus, “all conditions will be ensured to provide the spaces with Wi-Fi coverage of high density and high availability, adequate to the level of demand and the international dimension of the event, for which it is expected the simultaneous presence of more than 67 thousand devices, “he added.
Last year, the total number of devices connected to the ‘wifi’ network in the event was over 50,000, representing more than 2.1 million sessions and 45 terabytes (TB) of data.
In turn, NOS “will reinforce the mobile network in 2G, 3G and 4G technologies throughout the surrounding Parque das Nações, by placing a temporary mobile tower and network upgrade in the stations that serve the area “said the official source.
“Other areas such as Chiado, Bairro Alto, Príncipe Real, Lx Factory and Cais do Sodré will also be strengthened at the mobile network level. The Lisbon metro red line, although this year has already been integrated into the overall improvement plan of the NOS network, will also be targeted for intervention with increased capacity compared to the expected volume of visitors, “added the NOS.
Vodafone Portugal stressed that “whenever large events occur” the operator “carries out dedicated plans to reinforce the coverage and capacity of its mobile communications network”, and the Web Summit “is one such example, as an event where more than 70 thousand people with very demanding communication needs are expected. ”
In the last edition, he added, 6TB of data and more than 700,000 minutes of voice traffic was generated on the Vodafone network, “no failure or anomaly was recorded”.
Throughout the space where the event is held, more than 30 antennas and strategic points are installed inside and outside the premises, which reinforce the capacity of the mobile network in environments where there is a lot of data usage, said Vodafone, stressing that this year the operator “also installed a special antenna with ‘Massive Mimo’ technology,” which will serve as a basis for the 5G – the fifth mobile generation, which in the Portuguese market “is only used by Vodafone.”
Accommodation and catering
The Association of Hospitality Companies of Portugal (AHP) estimated a “close occupation of 100%” in the establishments of Lisbon next week, due to the Web Summit technology summit, which should be reflected in the prices.
“It is anticipated that hotels in the city of Lisbon will close with an occupation that is very close to 100% that week and the price will naturally adjust,” AHP said.
According to this entity, in the two previous editions, “there is to record that the participants stayed in the hotels of the city, but also throughout the region of Lisbon.”
“Other forms of accommodation were also highly sought after, especially by the younger participants,” he added.
For its part, the Association of Hospitality, Restoration and Similar Institutions of Portugal (AHRESP) predicts that participants in the Web Summit spend more than 61 million euros in the four days of the international conference on technology.
After listening to its associates, AHRESP estimated that the expected 70 thousand visitors of the third edition of the event in Lisbon spend about 61.6 million euros, in an average daily expenditure of 220 euros, of which 120 euros in accommodation and 50 euros in “restoration and animation”.
Like other editions, there will be parallel events to the summit, from “two major initiatives” in previous days, according to the organization.
This is why a conference on corporate innovation, aimed only at guests working in the innovation field of “some of the world’s largest companies” such as Mozilla, Allianz Technology, General Motors, P & G, Vodafone, the Lamborghini, among others.
In the weekend prior to the Web Summit, the Surf Summit initiative is taking place in Ericeira, where entrepreneurs, investors and speakers gather for two days of outdoor activities.
On the days of the summit and after the conference time, the Night Summit nightlife activities at the LX Factory and the Sunset Summit party at the Portugal Pavilion return.
Created in the 2015 edition of the Web Summit and updated this year, the ‘app’ made available by the organization allows participants to find the right people on the campus.
The application works on smartphones with iOS and Android operating systems serving as an entry ticket, to update the event program in real time and to recommend what discussions should be present and which people are supposed to speak and know, whether they are investors, startups or speakers.
The more data you have shared and the more active you are in the application, the more recommendations you will receive, in what is characterized as a “collaborative effort.” In addition, participants will also be able to communicate with each other via the application’s ‘chat’ functionality.
This year, new features have been introduced in the application, including the ability to make requests for meetings, follow speakers and have group conversations.