Web Summit 2018
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend Web Summit, Europe’s largest tech event, hosted in Lisbon.
Around 70,000 people across the globe attended, so it was an impressive conference to be a part of - branded by Forbes as ‘the best technology conference on the planet!’
The conference was split into different stages including the health conference, money conference, content conference and main stage, to name a few. There were many talks showcased throughout the summit, but a few of the key themes that interested me the most included the following;
Is the customer experience (actually) getting better?
Customer experience has long been talked about, but it seems that some businesses have still not seemed to grasp the importance of it. A panel discussion, including representatives from companies such as Weebly and TodayFM, talked about how customer service on social channels is still extremely poor with the discussion centring around whether brands are not investing in these external channels or are just simply ignoring them.
Customer experience is now king of the digital world, yet it seems that businesses are often thinking big but missing the small that can have a huge impact. The panel also talked about how a business is never too small (or too big) to have an streamlined journey and customer experience.
Sharing stories through technology
In a separate talk by Netflix, they insisted that companies can (and should) model their business around creating excellent customer experience through story-telling. Netflix sits at the intersection of entertainment and technology, but its main purpose is to use the power of the internet to give their audience control over the entertainment they love. The Chief Product Officer at Netflix emphasised that their audience want authentic storytelling, irrelevant of where they live or what language they speak.
Creating authentic stories was also evident on the main stage talk by Hanson Robotics. Through the live demo of Sophia the robot, who can generate over 62 facial expressions, it was clear that robot intelligence is becoming more impressive each year.
Can technology really cope?
With the population growing at a rapid rate, technology will inevitably have to increasingly scale. A panel discussion including representatives from Symantec and the US department of Health & Humans, talked through the challenges arising from people still wanting to connect with other people (instead of robots, VR or apps), and striking the right balance between human and virtual interactions.
The panel also focused on how technology can help healthcare workers manage growing patient populations with diverse needs, incomes and backgrounds – and discussed the very real information security threats and challenges surrounding the sharing of personal medical data. Even though this talk was part of the health conference, it is clear that with the rising population, it could relate to most industries that will need to scale up by 2050.