This year’s Web Summit attracted over 22,000 attendees from 109 countries to Dublin for three days of expert speakers and demonstrations. Speakers on the conference’s nine stages ranged from legendary investors, start-up gods, sport stars and every category of techie in-between. Intuition’s attendees have come together to bring you their observations from the world-renowned technology event.

1.              “Mobile is replacing the web” – Jeff Haynie, CEO, Appcelerator

Currently there are 3.6 billion active unique mobile users. This figure will grow to 5.6 billion within five years as more and more developing companies come online. Padmasree Warrior, Chief Technology Officer and Strategy Officer at Cisco remarked that it has gotten to the stage that ‘most emerging markets are skipping web based technology and go straight to mobile.’ Since the Web Summit in 2013, the number of mobile internet users has surpassed the number of desktop users for the first time ever.

2.              Start-up to multi-billion dollar in five years

The founders of ridesharing app Uber attended the Web Summit in 2011 where they agreed the terms to a $26.5 million cash injection over a pint of Guinness. Three years later and the app is now valued at $18.5bn. Other noticeable mobile-first start ups that have reached billion dollar valuations are AirBnB, Dropbox and Xiaomi. This year the overwhelming majority of exhibitors at the Summit were displaying mobile technology products.

3.         “Half of payments are on mobile” – Pieter van der Does, CEO, Ayden

Mobile payments have always featured at the Summit but this year saw increased activity around the area, primarily due to Apple’s recent entrance into the market. Braintree, which was purchased by PayPal for $800m in 2013, deployed a mobile first strategy and have seen their user base grow to 80 million consumers this year. Venmo, a mobile-only peer to peer site payments site now facilitates $2.8bn in payments per annum in the USA. Payments are a real growth services among users on their mobile devices.

4.         “The shift to mobile is as big as from print to desktop” – Jimmy Maymann, CEO, Huffington Post

Some of the best known global publishing brands had a lot to say on integrating mobile into their business. Huffington Post have successfully embraced mobile and were quick to realize that ‘we can’t just say, if it works on desktop, it works on mobile’. Flipboard’s Mike McCue, commented that mobile is helping people link directly to other people, rather than webpages linking to webpages. Most interestingly, the Financial Times observed that weekend traffic is what people ‘like to do’ and “it’s all mobile”. This is further evidence that people are choosing their mobile devices as their preferred means of receiving news and content but catering to the mobile audience is not as straightforward as it seems.

5.         “It’s a lot harder than we thought” – Michael Acton Smith, CEO, Mind Candy

Mind Candy is a hugely successful gaming company that originally focused on desktop gaming. Their CEO admitted that they knew that mobile was going to be important but he recognized that resources into mobile were not invested in, as such, when they needed to fully engage with mobile to develop their business, it was a lot more difficult to do, than if they had looked at it strategically and invested in it earlier.

To conclude, the prevailing sentiment amongst attendees, exhibitors and speakers was that you need to focus on mobile and you need to begin this focus early. If you are lacking in the skills to go mobile, find with people with the skills because time and money wasted on mobile will have a detrimental effect on your business.

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