Industry Conferences - my first experience FinTech Week and Unbound Global London 2019
By Coleman Lucas, BizGees Volunteer
Edited by Zufi Deo, Co Founder BizGees
During my time with BizGees, I attended two conferences this summer. With one focusing specifically on the FinTech industry and the other centered around startup companies, there was one key takeaway that resounded through every speaker I heard from – technology is GROWING. However, with this growing trend, the speakers also presented various problems that are arising at both conferences.
The London FinTech conference consisted of many speakers working with cryptocurrency, a field I am not familiar with. This being my first exposure to the industry, it was an educational experience that highlighted how much I could learn about this space. However, even with my lack of prior knowledge, one thing was clear - the FinTech industry is rapidly growing. This became apparent during a keynote speech entitled “Following the Money – Global Investment Report”. This talk gave a comprehensive overview of the recent trends based on global research, but what really stuck out to me were the visuals. The speaker had prepared various charts that clearly showed an upward trend in numerous countries. I was shocked to see the immense growth. While I had heard talk of the industry in the news, I did not realize how widely spread its usage had reached. However, with this growing trend, there do come difficulties. While the common theme was that this industry is growing, the common problem seemed to be security.
One week later, I attended Unbound Global, London. Here, Ray Samani, Chief Scientist at McAfee, was also talking about cybersecurity and the reality of the problem. He discussed the importance of trust in this new digital age and recognized the role of cybersecurity as the foundation of innovation. He spoke of the immense cost cybercrime has produced annually and demonstrated its financial impact. He ended his talk by explaining that not all companies are trustworthy and revealed that he has found such companies and threatened to expose them.
Unbound London explored innovation in technologies across various fields. While I had the opportunity to hear from numerous experts in technology, to me, the most interesting thing was to see how they were using the technology to address different pain points. For example, Tania Boler, founder and CEO of Elvie, is using technology to combat taboos surrounding women’s health. Her innovative solution combines technology with aesthetics to create a product that women feel empowered using. Mark Apter, Head of Innovation at L’Oreal, showed how his company is using technology to make their consumer’s shopping experience better. Through a facial recognition machine installed in stores carrying their products, consumers can actually see what products would look best on them.
Just as with the FinTech industry, there are problems that arise with the digital age. Greg Ivanoc, from Google, spoke of the challenges facing one of their new features as it incorporates the English language. Emily Savage, from Digital Catapult, revealed that one of their new features is also facing difficulties as it requires visual images to be extremely accurate.
Although challenges were discussed at both conferences, it is a result of how new and innovative their ideas are. From our health, to our travel, to our experience in a store, these people are embracing the digital age in an innovative way. Overall, both conferences were eye-opening. I now realize how digitally dependent the world is and realize just how present technology is in my everyday life. I also realize that this presence is still growing and that in years to come, even more technology will be a part of my life.
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