Robot companion, cyber shoes and other innovations at Webit
Hosted in Sofia, the festival is one of the largest tech events in EuropeValentina Spiridonova
Webit.Festival Europe has earned its reputation as one of the worlds most attended and globally renowned large-scale tech events and this year it did not disappoint as well. For the eleventh consecutive year, Webit gathered in Sofia between 13 and 15 May hundreds of the greatest minds of mankind - among them were top executives of huge corporations, founders of businesses, investors, entrepreneurs, academics, politicians and media representatives.
All of them took part in the event to discuss the future of Europe and the world in the context of technological development over the next 5 to 7 years. Among the topics were the processes of digital transformation of public and private institutions, the media environment driven by the vast amount of data we have today, Industry 4.0, quantum calculations, Artificial Intelligence, space technology as well as the transformation of the digital and marketing field through the online search engine and video marketing and social networking trends.
During the first day, the over 15,000 attendees coming from 120 countries, 500 accredited journalists and 500 investors could also see some of the most intriguing tech discoveries of the last few years. One of the innovations that made its debut in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, was world's very first sex robot Harmony - a AI-driven love-droid built by Realbotix, that raises the questions of human interaction and sex-bot addiction since it can not only offer the perfect sex experience, but also adapt to its owner's character, remember important aspects of his personality such as fears, ambitions, desires so thus delivering the most enjoyable conversation and interaction. Another interesting innovation, presented at the festival were the so-called Cybershoes - world’s first foot-worn VR locomotion accessory, which fully immerses players in the game using natural movement.
Afterwards, the second day included inter-day affiliate events such as interesting Microsoft Booth talks, where software company experts discussed with their guests and a workshop of the European Council, weher on Innovation was held within Webit, which discussed the new EU funding program for innovation. World's largest startup challenge called Founders Games was also running at Webit with over 4000 applications from startups from all around the world - from Silicon Valley, USA to Hangzhou China, through Singapore, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada, Russia, Korea, Ghana, Kenya, Poland, Iceland, Australia, UK, Spain, France and Germany. Eventually, the big prize of €200 000 worth of investment was given to the Kenya-based startup Wefarm, which provides more than a million East African smallholders with a digital platform for share farming know-how.
The two-day festival concluded with the presenting of a document, which is the first to outline business needs and expectations of the next European Commission mandate. This peculiar roadmap is aimed at showing the opinions of the private sector and the way it thinks the continent has to take to fight its competitors around the world.
Despite becoming a global forum and a flagship of innovation, entrepreneurship and new technologies since it launch in 2018, however, next year the festival will no longer be held in Sofia. Instead it will be hosted in Valencia, Spain with the aim of bringing even more popularity.