February 11 - 12, 2020Dubai Internet City
Earlier this year, over 200 speakers participated at STEP Conference and shared their experiences with over 6,000 attendees.
STEP2018 took over Dubai Internet City, transforming the space into a festival celebrating technology and innovation with industry changers and movers.
Below is a breakdown of the 6 coolest sessions that took place at the Main stage, STEP Money, STEP X, STEP Digital and STEP Start stages, and their takeaways:
An interesting conversation took place at the main stage between Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer of the Facebook Creative Shop, and Fadi Yaish, former Executive Creative Director at Impact BBDO.
Throughout the talk, Mark expressed the importance of creativity in the business world, and shared the key factors for winning with content and creativity which consist of: Authenticity, humanity, collaboration and commitment to deliver something great to the world.
In a discussion between the futurist, technology and communication enthusiast, Ms. Tahani Karrar, Ripple’s Sagar Sarbhai shared the story of Ripple in becoming the leading international money transfer solution in the world, and told us about their work with Middle East stakeholders, and about the future of XRP.
Sarbhai pointed that XRP’s main differentiation lies in its direct contact with central banks around the world, to educate, and build awareness about blockchain and digital coins. Also, considering that XRP is a liquidity tool and it’s much faster than other coins out there, Sagar confirmed that XRP is not trying to replace fiat currency like bitcoin, it won’t be used as a payment mechanism, but instead Ripple is working to complement fiat currency by using XRP as a medium to efficiently and seamlessly transfer fiat currency from one country to another in real-time and on-demand.
Ali Elamine, co-founder at FitRepublik, shared with Wamda’s Khaled Talhouni, a personal story about the biggest failure his business faced on the STEP Start stage.
“The sports industry is not as simple as going to the gym; it’s another example of technology”, said Ali. Failing to manage productivity was FitRepublik’s main pain point, and after failing to find a tailored CRM to manage his business and data, Ali decided to start “Studio Republik” to turn his business into an IP of creating a CRM from scratch to put business intelligence into practice in the sports industry.
Bibop Gresta, Chairman at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, Frank Noppel, Co-founder and CEO at Flugauto, and Aya Sadder, Incubator manager at Intelak, shared insights and facts about the hyperloop technology, flying cars, and the transformation in the way we’ll be commuting 5 years from now.
It’s a fact that the hyperloop technology costs a huge amount of money, however, according to Bibop, the real issue with investing in this technology is not the cost as much as it’s the return on this investment, and that’s why stakeholders are now focusing on reshaping the entire transportation model instead of just working on reducing the cost to maximize efficiency.
Frank, then added that the best way to work in such projects, like Flaugato, is to involve the regulators early on in the discussions in order to make it happen.
According to Neil York Smith, Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence at Delft University of Technology, “AI is more than machine learning or deep learning; artificial intelligence is about representation of the real world moving from representations to meaning.”
From this triggering statement shared on the STEP X stage, Neil tapped into 3 aspects of citizenship in the AI age which are identity, legal rights and social rights of robots vs. human beings. He raised questions discussing if AI will support the democracy of a citizen or instead control it.
In the end, the future of citizenship can be determined by how regulators decide to use this technology, and how much they will protect human citizens, taking into consideration the extent to which robots and AI will be involved in decision making.
After Careem’s latest acquisition of RoundMenu, we invited Zachary Finkelstein, VP of corporate development at Careem, and Abdulaziz Al Loughani, Managing partner at Faith Capital Holding, to tell us more about the patterns of acquisitions in the region and the future of investment.
Zach and Abdulaziz shared some advice with the startups attending STEP saying that ideally founders should be focusing on building long term, independent, self sustainable, and viable businesses, because that’s how and what will attract their best acquirers.
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Special thanks to our guest judges Ned Jaroudi of @awscloud, Mosab Azizi, of @TheSpaceKSA | @BadiaVentures and Basil Moftah of @GlobalVC_MENA.
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