2017 Dublin Tech Summit highlights: UX, Security, Ads, Social and PR

Inaugurated in 2017, Dublin Tech Summit is a conference that connects different areas of technology, including business, marketing, security, money, development, big data and more. It was held at the Convention Centre Dublin on 16 and 17 February of 2017.

Dublin Tech Summit at Convention Centre Dublin building

Below are the most interesting topics I had the pleasure to watch and learn from on the second day:

User experience is about making people feel good

Ivo Teel, European Tech Director at Riot Games caught my attention from the very beginning when summarising his view of what is user experience. “UX is how to make someone feel. Much deeper than just how something looks, is to ensure that it will work well”, he explained. His company is the publisher of the massively popular PC game League of Legends (LoL) and different from the common social media scenario, his most reliable place to hear feedback from gamers is Reddit.

Christian Marc Schmidt, Founder of Arrays, also pointed out an interesting way to see UX: “is about becoming transparent, disappearing”. He suggested the activity tracker wearable Fitbit as an example of good UX. “Data visualisation that causes a behaviour change”, explained.

All speakers agreed that prototyping and testing are key when designing a product or a service. “If it is complex, something is wrong”, completed Pia Betton, Director Consulting at Edenspiekermann.

Security and the future of IoT

Internet of things (IoT) is becoming more and more common in our lives. On a personal level, people have Fitbits and an Amazon Echo at home. On a business or government levels, infrastructure management, and environmental monitoring are also there. According to David Gilbert, a reporter from VICE Media, security does not come first yet in these products. He played the role of a moderator in the panel “IoT is Growing at a Rapid Rate but has it Neglected Security?”.

For Sheila Colclasure, Global Public Policy and Privacy at Acxiom, is necessary to be ethical to find out what is really useful for users in the arena of privacy and security. Currently, there is a lack of regulations in this field and she believes at some point the pressure to ensure safety will come both from users and regulators.

Mike Smith, a Solutions Architect at Sungard Availability Services believe that most people are not aware of what they are sharing, so they will not be able to put any pressure in this field.

David Gilbert, Sheila Colclasure, Mike Smith and Rik Ferguson at Dublin Tech Summit

In the panel was also Rik Ferguson, VP Security Research at Trend Micro, who addressed his concern that people do not see any problems in sharing small bits of personal data, but leaving big data unprotected can cause problems. “Online criminals are data-drive”, he explained. To give real examples, Rik mentioned that Somali pirates are using AIS radars (automatic identification system) to discover in advance what type of ships are approaching before taking action. He mentioned as well cases of USA cities where infrastructure online is not encrypted.

The low security in IoT was as well addresses in another talk about “Making The Connected Home A Reality” later in the day. “The foundation should be security. Feeling like home is to feel secure”, compared Ivan Hernandez, Head of Consumer IoT EMEIA at EY. He believes as well that smart homes will only become popular when start proving its value to non-tech savvy users. “The potential is fantastic, but now it is just a bunch of expensive gadgets” he completed.

Other speakers in the talk agreed with Ivan in this matter. Philipp Schuster, Managing Director at Loxone, complemented that “there is a bit of fright between (IoT) manufacturers” and “it is a risk to open the interface (of products) for other companies to control”, to explain the lack of integrations between different IoT manufacturers for smart home products.

In resume, there is still a lot to improve before home IoT really become an integral part of people’s lives.

Adblock is trying to be the good guy

Loved and hated, adblockers are trying to put themselves as a regulator of “reasonable” advertisement on the web. Till Faida, CEO of eyeo / AdBlock Plus, invited publishers to join the nonprofit committee of AcceptableAds.com, where they intend to find a common ground between users and publishers of what amount of ads would be reasonable for both. They claim that fewer ads availability will also increase the value of each impression in the long run. Interesting to note that not just images (banner, interstitials) but also native ads are considered in this platform.

Adblocker Flattr Plus presentation Dublin at Tech Summit

The company is also preparing the release of Flattr Plus for later this year. This service will allow users to pay a monthly subscription to avoid ads and the company will provide micropayments between publishers visited by each user every month.

As mentioned earlier, many speakers use the stage for to teach and to pitch, so it is always important to take the messenger in consideration.

How to pitch the media

One of the few press-related panels, “How To Pitch The Media” remained on a basic and safe level. My guess this is due to a very wide audience who are into many other things than PR. They still managed to give good and useful advice for startups. A quick summary of this panel can be put out in a list:

  • Email is still the best way to approach journalists
  • Journalists are looking for stories, not just products
  • Pitch about the problem and how your product solve it and help users
  • The subject line of an email is key to cross the first barrier of attention
  • Focus on your most valuable press niche, do not try to pitch everyone
  • Storytelling in PR is underestimated (journalists want stories!)
  • If you are jumping into trendy stories, you must add something. Do not force.

This summary contains advice from all the speakers in this talk: Federico Guerrini (Contributor at Forbes), Jacqueline Simmons (Executive Editor at Bloomberg), Mike Butcher (Editor At Large at TechCrunch), David Gilbert (Reporter at VICE Media) and Ayelet Noff (Founder & CEO at Blonde 2.0).

Closing time

I attended only the second day of Dublin Tech Summit and can say it was worth to be there from opening to closing. The Dublin Convention Center is just the right size for the event and in most talks was easy to find a place to sit (although none were empty. No waiting lines anywhere (bathrooms, food, cloakroom), WiFi running smoothly, hired and volunteers staff doing a great job too, so a well-organized event expecting 10.000 people (not sold out).

For someone who is used to go to marketing conferences (which might include a big part of State of Digital audience), a quick advice: take your talk watching decisions based on the topic and the companies of who is speaking. Part of it will be a sales pitch, just so you know what to expect.

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Gustavo Pelogia

About Gustavo Pelogia

Enthusiastic SEO, fanatic blogger and graduated journalist. Gustavo Pelogia lives in Dublin and is a Client Manager – Search & Analytics at Mediavest Ireland. He can talk about Seinfeld all day long.