All digital roads lead to Dublin for summit

Ali Tracey constructs a keyboard arch for the Web Summit at the RDS.

For the next three days, Dublin is the online capital of the world, as hundreds of tech experts take to the podium for this year’s Web Summit.

Europe’s largest technology conference, the summit will host more than 20,000 attendees in the RDS between now and Thursday.

Though the event is only four years old, it has quickly become a main fixture in the world’s annual tech calendar.

Speakers include Bono, model Lily Cole, actor Adrian Grenier, and David Carr of the New York Times.

Eva Longoria will also be in attendance — the actress taking to Twitter recently to ask about things to do in Dublin and posting real-time updates about her journey here.

Bono, fresh from the recent controversy over U2’s latest album which was automatically uploaded to millions of iPhones and iPods around the world, is to talk about the future of music, media, and marketing.

Celebrity speakers will mix with homegrown talent such as John Collison, co-founder of multibillion-dollar payments company Stripe, one of the world’s most important online payments firms.

The founders of Hailo and Dropbox will also give talks, as will the vice-president of engineering at Google and the MD of Silicon Valley Robotics.

For the first time, the event will have a specific focus on the sporting world, with footballer Rio Ferdinand, UFC star Conor McGregor, and rugby player Jamie Heaslip on hand to talk about the future of sporting businesses.

Film, music and food will also feature, with celebrity directors, producers and chefs all speaking at the event.

According to the organisers, the majority of attendees are flying in from the US, Europe and Asia.

Co-founder Daire Hickey said he was delighted with how the summit had grown in recent years, saying it’s now “bigger and better than ever” and “reaching a wider audience”.

He said that with 80% of the attendees coming from overseas, the Summit is probably the biggest international event Ireland will host this year.

Overseas visitors will be taken on free tours of Dublin and can avail of one of the many additional events organised, such as wakeboarding, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, or kayaking up the Liffey.

Mr Hickey said: “Fáilte Ireland has been a partner of ours since 2010, almost from the beginning. They want to show the best of Ireland and so do we.”

Wifi spots by Stephen Rogers

There will be more than 340m wifi hotspots by 2018, one for every 20 people on the planet, a leading provider has claimed.

IPass, which describes itself as the world’s largest wifi network, said there are 47.7m hotspots around the globe, equating to one for every 150 people.

It said at present, Europe is the “continent of wifi” account for 50% of the world’s hotspots. However, it says in four years Asia will strip this continent of that title.

IPass also found that France has the most hotspots in total, followed by the US and Britain. However, by 2018, the prediction is the US will have the largest number, followed by China and France.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen the emergence of the ‘wifi first’ generation,” said Evan Kaplan, president and chief executive of iPass. “Wifi has become cool again; in fact it’s seen by most as an essential utility, just like water or electricity.

“Most of the devices we use are wifi only and even on the most advanced 4G handsets, 78% of data goes over wifi. Simply put, it’s the network of choice for consumers and soon they’ll be able to roam this alternative network of millions of hotspots.”

IPass also said wifi was also on the move; becoming available on 60% of planes and 11% of trains by 2018, compared with 16% of planes and 3% of trains now.

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