Kelson Martins Blog

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 Introduction

This year, I had the incredible opportunity to attend the 2018’s edition of WebSummit, which is hosted in the beautiful city of Lisbon, Portugal.

Original from Dublin, WebSummit had its first conference in 2009, having the participation of around 400 attendees. Fasting forward to 2018, an incredible 70.000 attendees were present and today, the conference is seen as the biggest tech gathering in the world.

WebSummit hosts a vast amount of micro-conferences inside it and there is a lot going on in parallel so a good approach was to go with a prepared schedule so no time was wasted in navigating through some big waves of knowledge being offered. The complete list of micro-conferences can be found here.

That being said, this post presents 5 facts that in my opinion are worth being shared. Please note that there is a much bigger list but for the sake of simplicity I will keep it to 5 points.

Let’s go.

1. Quantum Computing

An incredible talk about Quantum Computing was given by IBM’s Scientist & Senior Manager Dr. Telia Gershona.
The session covered information about the evolution of Quantum Computing up until today, and valuable information was presented on how the developers, researchers, and the community, in general, can get started on exploring, learning and developing Quantum applications.

For that, IBM was showcasing a technology entitled IBM Q, which provide Quantum Machines in the cloud for the community to leverage.

Details about this initiative can be found here.

Developers that want to get started as soon as possible can go directly to the Github project Qiskit Terra, where they may find an incredible list of resources to get started.

Finally, Dr. Telia Gershona’s session can be viewed below.

2. Furhat, by Furhat Robotics

Well, let me tell you something. I am extremely excited about Furhat and its applications.

Basically, Furhat is a social robot that aims to provide a range of different interactions to the user.

Think about a robot that can change personas on the fly, switching its “personality” so that it may assist users on specific topics. Example of this would be a persona for language teaching, another for an interview recruiter, airport assistant, and many many others.

Official release video:

For developers, the company is promising to provide a well documented and capable SDK so that we have the means of developing many different and useful applications for it.

3. Magic Leap

Magic Leap is a hardware that aims to provide a unique experience through AR. The hardware headset combines cameras, sensors, speakers in the promise of delivering unparalleled experiences.

To better understand its capabilities, the following demo video taken from the official Magic Leap official youtube channel can be seen:

Magic Leap also provides its creator program, which is aimed at Developers to avail of its Lumin SDK and its other creator tools for the development of content for the platform.

This SDK supports the top industry tools such as Unity and Unreal Engine, so VR developers will feel home on using Magic Leap SDK.

Is Magic Leap a hype? maybe, maybe not. But I am excited to see where this will go in the years ahead.

If you are interested, the hardware is available for the not so affordable value of $2,295.

4. Headspace

Now, did you ever hear about Headspace? If not, I would strongly encourage you to check it out.

Headspace is a meditation platform that has the goal of promoting a better mental health to its 30 million active users. Headspace apps are available in web and mobile versions.

I am personally a huge fan of Headspace and I have been using it for a few years. A continuous use of the application has the power to change our lives, especially in today’s world that is full of information and software/adds that has the only purpose of grabbing our attention.

The reason that I am including Headspace on this list is that they participated in WebSummit providing some incredible workshops.

Did you know that:

  • We spend 90.000 hours of our lifetime at work.
  • By the age of 30, most people will have had 7 or 8 jobs.
  • 80% of workers hate their jobs. (Not me thankfully)

I am emphasizing these points so that we can appreciate the importance of keeping a clear and calm mind. And for that, I trust that Headspace may assist.

5. Networking

More important than the conference itself, is the vast amount of people that I met and connections that I made.

In the evenings, WebSummit extended its reach to the beautiful nightlife of Lisbon where attendees gathered around many different Bars to discuss technology, opportunities, challenges and much more.

Meeting hundreds of people from different parts of the world is one of the best takeaways that WebSummit provides, as this expands our thinking about different aspects.

It is not uncommon that we enclose ourselves in our own world and end up missing important things, concepts and advances in this fast pacing world of technology.

To overcome that, nothing better than meeting people from different areas, with different expertise and experiences.

Conclusion

This post aimed to provide information about some of the best topics experienced at the WebSummit.
2018 edition of WebSummit was my third participation (others were 2014 and 2017) and I encourage anyone to attend in the future given the opportunity. I guarantee that a great deal of information will be absorbed regardless of the attendee’s field of expertise and experience.

As a bonus, attending the conference will give attendee’s the opportunity to visit Lisbon, which is a magnificent city.

To conclude, I’m informing that a part 2 of Websummit 2018 coverage that will focus on Startups will be posted soon, where I will mention some interesting Startups that are worth keeping an eye on.

Stay Tuned!

 

Software engineer, geek, traveler, wannabe athlete and a lifelong learner. Works at @IBM

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