Web Summit Main Stage  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Web Summit Main Stage Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was all very high-tech as around 10,000 visitors gathered in Dublin for the Web Summit at the RDS. Another 600 were at an IATA travel conference in the National Conference Centre. So imagine how the restaurants, pubs and similar businesses that open late to cater for guests felt when they were faced with overnight water restrictions amounting to a cut in supply between 8pm and 7am.

It’s because the infrastructure in place is old and needs to be replaced. Dublin City Council says that the extent of the leakage is largely owing to the age of the network, with an estimated 1200 kilometres of the network being over 50 years old. In addition to this demand can rise during a cold spell if taps are left running in an effort to prevent frozen pipes. The normal demand for water in the Dublin Region is 540 million litres per day. However during a cold spell demand can increase to a staggering 636 million litres. This means that the treated reservoirs such as the one at Ballymore Eustace in County Wicklow empty at a much faster rate than they can fill, which leads to a depletion of treated water storage reserves.

Anyway the main problem for delegates at the RDS appeared to be the breakdown in the wifi system upon which each visitor is so dependent to do business. It seems to have crashed temporarily owing to the large numbers attempting to sign in. Despite these difficulties, I’m sure plenty of networking was done and new contacts were made with potential investors for startups.

Invest Northern Ireland stand at Web Summit in RDS  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Invest Northern Ireland stand at Web Summit in RDS Photo: © Michael Fisher

One of the stands I visited was that of Invest Northern Ireland. Another was representing Berlin as a city to do business.


Web Summit, RDS  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Web Summit, RDS Photo: © Michael Fisher

The main hall at the RDS complex in Dublin was a hive of activity during the Web Summit. Presentations being made on various stages. I immediately noticed the stands of some major players in the world of business: Microsoft, PayPal, Verizon, Bing and a host of others including media players such as the Irish Times and RTÉ. But walking through to the next hall is where I found the real activity and what I thought was the most interesting part of the event.

Presentations at the Web Summit  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Presentations in the Startup Village Photo: © Michael Fisher

This was the Alpha Startup Village. No large stands as in traditional exhibitions. Instead, each exhibitor was standing beside a board which had a poster with the name and some details of the company and on the wooden shelf underneath, there was room for one laptop. This is where new companies are born and bred. These exhibitors are young entrepreneurs all with different apps to promote and looking for investment. Much of their time here is spent networking and when two of them separately stopped me for a chat (seeing my media badge), I was happy to speak to both companies about their stories.

Gaylord Roukine of ilooove.it  Photo: © Michael Fisher

Gaylord Roukine of ilooove.it Photo: © Michael Fisher

Interested in mountain climbing? Then Gaylord Loukine from Namur in Belgium has just the app for you: http://climbing.ilooove.it/ is designed to help climbers around the world to share their passion for the sport, to discover new spots for climbing and also to make new friends in what they hope is an inspiring way.

Bastien Sannac of meludia.com   Photo: © Michael Fisher

Bastien Sannac of meludia.com Photo: © Michael Fisher

The other app I was introduced to promises a new perspective to help you understand music. Bastien Sannac is the founder of http://www.meludia.com/login which employs twelve people and is based in Paris.