Europe’s biggest technology conference, Web Summit has decided to go “fully online” this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak and said it will host 100,000 attendees online on its own conference platform, from 2nd to 4th December.
Web Summit 2020 will be the second event hosted on the platform, following the “Collision from Home” event this June, which had more than 30,000 online attendees.
Speaking on the development, Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave says, “Lisbon is still Web Summit’s home, but with growing Covid-19 outbreaks across Europe, we have to think of what’s best for the people of Portugal and our attendees. The safest and most reasonable answer is to host Web Summit fully online in 2020. We look forward to welcoming attendees back to Lisbon in 2021.”
The decision to hold Web Summit online in the interests of public health follows discussions with the Portuguese government and the city of Lisbon.
About Web Summit
Founded in 2009, by Paddy Cosgrave, David Kelly, and Daire Hickey, Web Summit is an annual technology conference held in Lisbon, Portugal, and is considered the largest tech event in the world.
The conference was originally held in Dublin, Ireland, until 2016, when it moved permanently to Lisbon, Portugal, and has expanded that deal to run up to 2028. Web Summit runs events throughout the world including F.ounders, RISE Conference in Hong Kong, Collision in Toronto, SURGE in Bangalore, and MoneyConf in Dublin.
Approximately 800 speakers will join this year’s event online, including Captain America star Chris Evans; Zoom founder and CEO, Eric Yuan; European commissioner Margrethe Vestager; Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer. The complete list of the speakers can be viewed here.
More than 500 companies have already confirmed they will exhibit online at Web Summit, including Cisco Systems, Siemens, UBS, Twilio, and Cloudflare among others.
Time & Topics
The opening ceremony will start at 12:00 SAST and will be hosted by Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina and Portugal Prime Minister Antonio Costa.
Scheduled talks throughout the conference include:
- From Gaming to Mainstream, by Discord CEO Jason Citron and Axios CTC Ina Fried
- From cashless to cardless: What’s Next? by Starling Bank founder Anne Boden
- The world’s first instant play gaming company, by Playco CEO Michael Carter
- 2020: the best and worst of social, by co-founder at That Lot, David Schneider
- Mobile gaming trends, by App Annie CEO Ted Krantz
- How AI can eliminate the world’s language barrier, by Unbabel co-founder Vasco Pedro
These are just a few topics, you can view the complete schedule here.
Canceled events this year
Already this year, summits set to take place in cities around the world have been canceled.
South by Southwest, the annual tech, film, and music conference in Austin, has officially been canceled because of the coronavirus. Reportedly, the event had been scheduled to take place from March 13 to March 22. This is the first time in 34 years that it has been canceled.
Another conference, Mobile World Congress, one of the technology industry’s biggest annual events, had been called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. More than a dozen major tech companies said they would not attend the event as the deadly outbreak continues to spread. MWC had been scheduled to take place in Barcelona from February 24-27. It typically draws more than 100,000 attendees and over 2,400 companies.
Several Amazon Web Services summits set to take place in cities around the world have also been canceled. Amazon’s (AMZN) cloud computing division opted to hold a virtual summit in June instead, which was the same month that Apple (AAPL) held its Worldwide Developer Conference online for the first time.
Earlier in June this year, Web Summit’s organisers were hoping to go ahead with the conference in Lisbon, with a combination of online and offline elements. However, with the pathway of the virus impossible to predict, organisers said the plans would be subject to Portugal’s health protocols for events.
Image credit: Web Summit