With the new decade underway, technology is evolving at a rate that’s almost impossible to keep up with. While there’s plenty to be gained from reading the best tech blogs, watching content marketing videos and attending webinars – nothing quite compares to the immersive world of the tech conference. From the wealth of free goodies big companies are giving away, to the hottest start-ups showing off their ground-breaking tech, the only downside is that there’s never enough time to attend them all.
But seriously, as well as being the best way to network, It’s the ideal opportunity for start-ups to meet would be investors, while getting the run on the competition. Or maybe you’re just looking for a little inspiration, in which case, where better than a conference playing host to the world’s greatest tech gurus.
With that in mind, we’ve made a list of 12 tasty tech events/summits/conferences to mark in your calendar from all four corners of the globe, to keep even the most tech savvy globe trotters happy.
Name: Are you CES Ready?
Date: January 7-10
Location: Las Vegas
What better way to overcome those post-Christmas blues than to head to Sin City for CES. Brought to you by the Consumer Technology Association, CES brings together the greatest minds in consumer tech, such as Hyun-Suk Kim, President and CEO of Consumer Electronics Division, Samsung - Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Technology Association - and more.
A full list of topics can be found on the website, but suffice it to say, the top tech trends for 2020, such as 5G, self-driving cars, cryptocurrency, augmented and virtual reality, and much more, will all be on the agenda.
(Image source: https://ces.tech)
And if it’s your first trip to Vegas, make sure you take a few hours to check out the strip – it would be rude not to.
Can’t make it to CES? Then check out these honourable mentions…
Industry Preview – A look ahead to the year in Marketing Technology
East Meets West – A start-up event for those looking to network and for those seeking inspiration.
Name: EmTech Asia
Date: February 25 & 26
Assuming you haven’t spent all of your hard-earned cash on casinos and lap dances during your visit to Las Vegas, why not jump on a flight to Singapore for EmTech Asia. Brought to you by those tech-typing wizards at MIT Technology Review and fare trade giants Koelnmesse – this is the place to be for all of you with a penchant for emerging tech.
Speakers include David Budden, the Research Engineering Team lead of UK AI research experts, Deep Mind and Graham Ruby, Principle Investigator of Calico, the R&D aging experts (who I’m hoping will come up with a way for me to live forever before I die from a KFC and coffee overdose)
Some of the more intriguing subjects up for discussion include - Making Decisions on Behalf of Humans: Designing Intelligent Systems - Countering the Dark Side of AI and Naked Mole-Rats: Role Models for Healthy Aging (bet you read that last one twice).
And whatever you do, if you visit Singapore, make time to visit The Gardens By the Bay, the nation’s most notable feature.
Can’t make it to EmTech? – then check out these honourable mentions… It’s dev heaven.
Devnexus – The professional Developers Conference.
Dot Swift - The European Swift Conference.
Developer Week – World’s Largest Developer Expo + Conference Series.
Date: March 9 - 12
Location: Washington DC
Not since the moon landings has there been a time when the talk of space travel has been so exciting. And at the heart of many a conversation is one name, Elon Musk. And for those looking to attend Satellite 2020, Musk has been confirmed for the keynote on Monday.
It’s not just space travel on the agenda though. Satellite 2020 will be covering telecoms, media entertainment and more.
For those with an interest in Sat-tech but who are still pretty new to the game, Tuesday morning includes a crash course to help you get up to speed.
Got a few hours to spare during your visit? Well, you don’t need us to tell you what they big attractions are in Washington, but if you fancy something a little different than the White House, we recommend the Washington National Cathedral as apparently it has a gargoyle that looks like Darth Vader, and that alone must be worth the price of admission.
Can’t make it to Satellite 2020? – then check out these honourable mentions…
Code Beam – The only conference in North America covering Erlang and Elixir
Name: Dublin Tech Summit
Date: April 22 & 23
Time to fly to very sunny Dublin…
Since Web Summit packed its bags in 2016 and headed for sunnier shores, Tech Summit has really come in to its own.
Situated at the RDS centre in the heart of Dublin, the conference promises to “bring together some of the most influential tech and business leaders to Dublin for two days of growth & development, knowledge sharing, covering the latest trends, networking, and of course…the craic!”
Whether you’re a start-up looking to get noticed or simply Joe public with an interest in emerging tech, Tech Summit is the place to be the fourth Wednesday of April.
Talks not to be missed include David McCourt, Chairman and CEO of Granahan McCourt Capital and Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO of Space X
And…The RDS centre is less than a 30 minute drive from the Guinness factory – You’re welcome!
Heading to Europe and can’t make it to Dublin Tech Summit? – then check out these honourable mentions…
React Summit 2 – The biggest react conference worldwide
JS Kongress 2020 – Pushing the limits: Massive Platforms, Data-Driven Architectures, and Modern APIs.
Date: May 13 & 14
In recent years Poland has become a major player in the tech industry. A country oozing in tech talent, it’s become a hub for tech innovation. And that has given birth to several great tech events, not least of which is Infoshare.
There are 11 stages covering everything from programming to the one that caught my eye, the Marketing Stage which will feature everything from the impact of tech on marketing to current trends.
There’s also a start-up contest based on business potential, team and product level of innovation - with a not too shabby first prize of €20,000. Good luck!
While I’ve enjoyed many a trip to Poland, I haven’t visited Gda?sk, but rumour has it the old town tour is worth checking out.
Like the idea of staying in Europe but can’t make it to Infoshare? – then check out these honourable mentions…
Name: Typhoon Con
Date: June 15-19
There are very few countries where technology is more at home than South Korea. So why not get your globe-trotting shoes on and head for the nation’s capital.
Aptly named after the first year’s con nearly being cancelled due to a typhoon, this is one to bookmark for those security enthusiasts among you.
According to the website, “TyphoonCon focuses on highly technical security issues such as vulnerability discover, advanced exploitation techniques and reverse engineering”
One of the highlights of the event is the TyphoonTWN 2020. This immersive hacking competition includes great workshops and a bucket load of cash for those with the skills to pay the bills.
If you’ve any free time during your visit there’s loads to do in Seoul – personally, I’d recommend the trip to the DMZ. Just remember to stay on the south side…
If you can’t make it to Seoul, there’s lots more going on in Asia in June – check out these honourable mentions…
ConnectTechAsia – Tap into Asia’s state-of-the-art digital infrastructure.
CES Asia – Where the future shows off
Name: MoneyNext Summit
Date: July 1 & 2
There’s more to London than just tea, cricket and Her Majesty the Queen. England’s capital plays host to countless tech events each year.
From blockchain to RegTech, MoneyNext is the event in London for those with a business interest in the rapidly evolving financial world that we now live in.
If 2019 is a glimpse of what to expect, then the 2020 conference is sure to see many big names in the world of finance take to the stage.
Topics for discussion include the role AI is playing in finance and the future of cryptocurrencies.
There so much to do in London, but if you don’t have much time, I recommend taking a ride on the London Eye, which offers epic views of the city.
Name: Gartner Catalyst Conference
Date: August 24-27
Location: San Diego
This was an easier pick than some of the other months. As well as producing a wealth of insightful content, Gartner know how to put on and thought-provoking conference. So with that, we recommend the Gartner Catalyst Conference.
The topics on the list this year aren’t listed yet. However, 2019’s delicious menu included Cloud Computing for technical professionals, Application Development at Platforms for Technical Professionals and Infrastructure, Operations and Cloud Management for Technical Professionals, and more.
And if like most tech heads, you love a good app, Gartner has its own conference navigator to help you manage your daily schedule.
If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of the tech conference, then there’s no better option than Balboa Park.
Spending your August, a bit further north? – then check out these honourable mentions…
eTail - Thousands of Retailers. Hundreds of Insights. One Classic eTail Experience.
Summer Camp for Geeks – (This looks like great fun)
Name: SA Innovation Summit
Date: September 16-18
Location: Cape Town
Our next event takes us to the mother city where the SA Innovation Summit takes place. Born from the need to commercialise tech in SA, the event has grown considerably over the years to one which we’re happy to recommend.
As with many conferences of its type, this is where start-ups and investors come together. There’s not much info on the website about this year’s event just yet. However, it’s safe to say that the focus will very much be on South Africa, and the content as a whole, with the ultimate objective being to “accelerate economies”.
There’s loads to do in Cape Town, but if you’re short on time, it has to be the Table Mountain cable car:
More of a fan of AI than start-ups? Check out AI Expo Africa!
Name: World Summit AI
Date: October 7 & 8
Amsterdam is known for 2 things - yes, historic building and canals – (if you were thinking of two other things then shame on you). But the capital of the Netherlands is also good for several quality tech conferences throughout the year.
Describing itself as the world’s leading AI summit, World Summit AI is a great two day event that focuses on all things artificial intelligence.
There’s a host of speakers throughout the day from the likes of Google, AWS, Facebook and more. And if previous years are anything to go by, the 2020 summit is one not to be missed.
If you’ve got a few hours to spare in the Dam, I recommend checking out the Van Gogh museum. Just book tickets online as the queues can be very long if you just turn up. Trust me, I know!
Can’t get enough of Amsterdam, check out these honourable mentions
On Brand – Europe’s leading branding conference for marketing and creative professionals.
Name: Caribbean Developers Conference
Date: November 11 - 14
Location: Punta Cana
It’s not just white beaches, clear waters and cocktails on offer in the Caribbean (though that’s as good a reason as any to head to Punta Cana) – This beautiful town on the east tip of the Dominican Republic, turns tech for 3 days every November for the Caribbean Developers Conference.
As well as being “designed to bring together software professionals and entrepreneurs across languages, platforms, and industries”, CDC prides itself on being family friendly. The event provides childcare as well as a host of activities. So, if you’re desperate to attend a tech conference this year but can’t get away on your own – this is perfect!
Never mind the best things to do – Just book a two-week vacation and set off for sunnier shores with the entire family.
Can’t make CDC? Check out these honourable mentions
WSJ Tech D. Live – Tech’s most ambitious minds, on stage and on the record.
TensorFlow World – Join the machine learning revolution
Date: December 6 & 7
We finish our calendar with a trip to Latvia. Quite frankly, there’s not a lot going on in December, but for those software devs among you, why not give yourself an early Christmas present and attend this two-day conference.
In addition to coding, the event focuses on architecture and leadership with some great “no bullshit” talks as well as workshops for those looking to get their hands dirty.
As well as a host of beautiful parks and a beach that’s just a quick bus ride away, not that you’ll be catching many rays in December brrrrr, Riga is home to a plethora of beautiful architecture (not the I.T kind) that will take your breath away.
Can’t make it to Riga? Well, there’s not much else going on in December so maybe take a trip to Lap Land to meet Santa.
The best tech event
Name: Web Summit
Date: November 2 - 5
Over the last few years Web Summit has become one of the world’s premier tech events. As well as being attended by tens of thousands each year, it has welcomed countless high-profile speakers including Bono, Elon Musk, Tony Blair and Edward Snowden. Snowden appeared via live feed as jet setting around the globe isn’t currently his thing.
(Image source: https://websummit.com/)
Web Summit is also the place to be for Women in Tech, with many great names speaking at recent events, such as UFC icon Cris Cyborg, Wikipedia’s own Katherine Maher and Olympic gold medallist Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE. And there’s so much more. Another highlight is the Alpha start-up program which connects promising start-ups with potential investors.
Web Summit may well be the best tech event in the world, and since it’s move from Ireland to Portugal, it has gone from strength to strength. We can’t say enough good things about this event, and if you have the time, and the money for a ticket, this is the place to be come November 2nd.
Did we miss any?
What constitutes the best tech event is very much a matter of opinion, and we’d be surprised if any seasoned attendees agree with our entire list. As well, as bringing an element of diversity to the list, we made sure we travelled the world, taking in the likes of Africa and even the Caribbean.
That said, if you think we missed any must attend tech conferences, or niche ones that may have slipped under the radar. Why not let us know and maybe we’ll add them to next year’s list.
Thanks for reading. See you at the summit…