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The DLD Innovation Festival in Tel Aviv was about creating a platform between the creators and users of technology with Tel Aviv at the centre of all the action.
Two days, close to a 100 speakers, 100 startups, winners of Start Tel Aviv from 21 different countries and delegations from 30 countries. DLD 2015 held in Tel Aviv on September 8th & 9th lived up to its name of being Israel’s largest international Hi-tech gathering. An estimated 10,000 guests and over 3000 of them from overseas braved the weather (Israel was affected by the sandstorm that had swept the middle-east) to visit the city’s historical ‘HaTachana’ venue for the innovation festival.
It was not just the startups who were there at the HaTachana venue - tech giants like Intel, Amazon Web Services, Facebook, AOL and Twitter too had set up shop. They were almost unanimous in their reason of being in Tel Aviv. Romain Huet, Developer Relations, Twitter, said, “We have heard a lot about the festival here in Tel Aviv and it is a great place to show what you are working on next. The tech-scene is vibrant and our entire team is excited to be here.” Romain was there to talk about Twitter’s latest offering – Fabric, a tool to make developing mobile applications easier.
Amazon was represented by none other than their CTO Werner Vogels, for the third straight year at DLD Tel Aviv. Vogels was a featured speaker at the event and his choice of topic was smart applications though machine learning. He also spent time walking through stalls set up by Israeli startups. Understandable as Amazon acquired an Israeli semiconductor development firm earlier this year.
Another tech giant, who had set up their pavilion over 1000 square feet of the railway compound, was Intel. The company commonly known for its range of efficient processors, was there to show its futuristic work in virtual, wireless and fully automated systems – for eg. Creating an airport lounge that is fully automated from check-in to boarding your flight. As Guy Bar-Ner, Director of Intel’s Israel Sales & Marketing, put it, “Sci-fi is history. The future is already here. If you can imagine it then we can create it. We are here for the first time and we want to show the world the things we are doing apart from making motherboards.”
The lectures, seminars and technical sessions saw packed houses on both days of the event. Day 2 saw none other than Israel’s favourite ex-president and Noble Peace prize winner, Shimon Peres in a five-minute chat with the organiser of the event, Yossi Vardi. Peres, known for his backing of the electric car concept, spoke at the event on the need to spend money to create value for humans i.e. get internet to the middle-east to increase people-to-people interaction, as only 4.5% of the total population is hooked to the net.
Alongside the festival, the city hosted a wide range of events that took place simultaneously with lectures, panel discussions, technical sessions, meetups and cocktail parties around its Rothschild Boulevard, to name but a few.
Yossi Vardi, Co-chair of the event, and popularly known as the godfather of Tel Aviv’s startup industry, summarised the response to the event in a Q&A session with the press. He said “When we pitched it to the municipality a few years ago we were unsure of the response and now everyone seems to like the event a bit too much. We are actually a bit overwhelmed when we saw people standing in line for close to 30 minutes to get inside”.