Web Summit dogged by wifi problems for a second year

Giants of the world of tech assembled for the Web Summit in Dublin yesterday but the event was dogged by wifi problems from the start.
Web Summit dogged by wifi problems for a second year

Some of its 42,000 attendees took to Twitter to vent their frustration about the lack of connectivity and journalists from around the world complained about being unable to file on the day’s activities on time.

Colin Tonge from Dublin described the Web Summit wifi as “shocking as always”, and Kate Brodock, an adjunct professor at Syracuse University, called it “spotty”.

However, unlike last year, Web Summit CEO Paddy Cosgrave did not take to the centre stage to apologise for connectivity issues.

Instead he said on Twitter: “We’ve flown past 1 terabyte of data downloaded on wifi before lunch today.”

A spokesperson for the Web Summit did later acknowledge some attendees were having wifi issues.

“The wifi at Web Summit this year is holding up,” the spokesman said. “It is obviously a huge technical challenge to deliver seamless wifi service at this scale.”

Connectivity was one of the issues Mr Cosgrave had raised when discussing the summit’s future with Taoiseach Enda Kenny before moving the conference to Lisbon.

For this year’s event, Web Summit took exclusive responsibility for the operation and performance of the wifi network.

Among the speakers were Dell founder Michael Dell, Facebook’s head of technology Mike Schroepfer, and American ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Mr O’Malley said the business relationship between Ireland and America was of major importance to US President Barack Obama.

“It is very important to President Obama that the business relationship between the United States and Ireland continues at the brisk pace that currently exists. Right now we are at about $40bn (€36.5bn) each year in trade and about $400bn in investment between our two countries. We are at a position where there are 700 American companies doing business in Ireland and about 250 Irish companies prospering in the US.”

Mr Schroepfer showcased Facebook’s main technology developments planned for the next decade. Facebook is working on artificial intelligence “so computers evaluate photographs like humans”, he said during his demonstration of the cutting-edge technology.

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