They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place and for Web Summit co-founder Paddy Cosgrave this seems to have been the problem. As Mr. Cosgrave took the stage for last night’s opening ceremony in Lisbon, the WiFi issue that led to the relocation of the event from Ireland to Portugal reared its dogged head once more.
After giving his opening speech to an estimated 15,000 attendees, Mr. Cosgrave attempted to connect to a Facebook Live broadcast demo. Unfortunately he was unable to as there appeared to be a drop in the venue’s WiFi.
“I don’t think it’s working,” said Mr. Cosgrave, before adding “let’s not worry about that. We’ll try again later.”
A spokeswoman later laid the blame on “a glitch in Paddy’s phone”, but attendees were not convinced with many of them commenting on the incident on Twitter. Unreliable WiFi has been a reoccurring problem for the Web Summit and was a contributing factor to the organisers’ decision to host this year’s event in Lisbon.
The event had already been delayed by 30 minutes due to the late arrival of a large number of attendees. Mr. Cosgrave said that as many as 3,000 people were unable to make it into the 15,000-seater Meo arena, the location of the event’s main stage, and instead watched the opening ceremony outside on screens.
However, the rest of the opening ceremony was free from glitches and included an interview with actor and director Joseph-Gordon Levitt, plus contributions from Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa, former EU president José Manuel Barroso, and former President of the UN General Assembly Mogens Lykketoft.
Mr. Cosgrave revealed that over 53,000 people have registered to attend this year’s Web Summit, up from the 28,000 who attended in Dublin last year. A further 19,000 are expected to attend community and side events, up from 14,000 last year, bringing the total number of attendees to somewhere around the 72,000 mark. It remains to be seen if the move to Portugal pays off as Mr. Cosgrave hoped it would.
A later attempt to connect to a Facebook Live broadcast proved successful.
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