Web Summit – Martel is back from the future!

Last week, Martel was in action at the Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal. This huge tech conference is one of the world’s largest gatherings of entrepreneurs. There was an inspiring, music-festival atmosphere where thousands of people could share their vision and work for the future of our society. See our highlights, below.  

Over four days of Web Summit, we heard dozens of snappy, 15-30 minute talks and expert panels, with some big names on centre stage including internet inventor Tim Berners-Lee launching his new “Contract for the Web”. Berners-Lee says, with 50% of the world now online, it is time for humans to take more control, and more responsibility, for shaping their digital future.

Martel’s CEO Dr Monique Calisti presented how to join the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative. She moderated a session at which Olivier Bringer, from the European Commission and acting Head of the NGI Unit at DG Connect, introduced the initiative and outlined relevant EU funding opportunities to engage top innovators and researchers in the creation of a better internet.

“The NGI session was a great success and shows our commitment to develop next generation digital technologies for the good of our society is the only way forward,” says Monique Calisti on the way back from Lisbon.

The Web Summit hosted four huge pavilions’ worth of exhibition space. Companies ranging from big guns such as Google and Netflix to tiny SMEs and startups were all vying for the attention of around 70,000 attendees. Here too, Martel was on the spot at the Social Innovation Village, exhibiting the CAPS initiative and our Digital Social Innovation efforts. European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas, French Secretary of State for Digital Affairs Mounir Mahjoubi, Portuguese Minister of the Presidency and Administrative Modernisation Maria Manuel Leitão Marques and Web Summit founder Paddy Cosgrave all came and visited our exhibition booth.

“It has been a honour and a privilege to be at the Web Summit and to demonstrate some outcomes of our work. We also welcome Carlos Moedas’ announcement on the EU’s commitment to funding social innovation,” says Calisti.

Moedas said the EU will fund more social innovation “because it’s the future of innovation” under the upcoming Horizon Europe programme. This is good news for Martel, with many of our projects focused on digital social innovation.

We’ll be preparing a longer article projecting some of the major tech trends for 2019 as observed at Web Summit and elsewhere, but for now, a few more of our highlights from the Web Summit.


Coolest thing

A person being sprayed with liquid nitrogen in a materials-technology demo. Literally, the coolest (liquid nitrogen is -196 degrees Celsius).

Scariest idea

The notion that some children born today might grow up with an A.I. “sibling” from birth.

Good news

Athens winning the EC’s European Capital of Innovation award. We love cities where innovation means empowering citizens. Συγχαρητήρια!

Biggest disconnect

Sophia the robot failing to work in her press conference after appearing on stage – she couldn’t answer a single question… oops, problems with the internet cables!

Call to action

Tim Berners-Lee launched his Contract For the Web, which ties in to many of Martel’s projects’ work on social innovation, building a more human-focused internet, and shows we’re in the right space.

EU commitment

The EU’s commitment to a better digital society is strong. Carlos Moedas, Margrethe Vestager, Vera Jourova, Ann Metler all talking about how technology ties into human rights and values, and Europe’s place in developing and upholding this.

More manifestos

The Social Good Accelerator launched their Social Innovation Declaration. It complements the DSI Manifesto that Martel helped put together two years ago, which you can still sign.

Show me the money

The EU talked about its open calls, with €50-200k Euros funding available in the NGI space, as well as the ongoing 5x €1 million blockchains for social good prize.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth analysis of some of the biggest trends for 2019 including what’s next for AI, human-centric decentralisation and the promises of big data. Sign up to our quarterly newsflash newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!