How Summit Engine Powered CES Remotely
CES is more online than offline this year, as nearly 200,000 people fell to 45,000 in the physical world. One CEO told me he spent most of his time in a hotel suite making Zoom calls. Exuberant dinners have given way to room-service burgers. Certainly, there are many bright spots in this dark constellation of events. But the trend of atoms becoming bits continues.
This year we spent most of our time in Digital CES, both the app and the website, which are provided by Web Summit, a company that organizes the eponymous technology conferences. Paddy Cosgrove, co-founder and CEO of Web Summit, created Summit Engine for his own company and began developing the app in 2011 for his own conferences. There are now more than fifty engineers working on the project. I highly recommend that you take a look at this product. That’s the first thing CES has to show you, and that’s saying a lot right there. Like all great technology, I bet you haven’t even noticed it.
Following the Covid-19 outbreak, Web Summit moved all of its events to its proprietary online software platform, developed in-house for over a decade. In December 2020, 104,000 people attended the Web Summit online. The company therefore felt ready to support CES, the largest technology event in the world.
Summit Engine has several notable features. To recreate the serendipity of a real-world event, Summit Engine has a Mingle feature, which allows attendees to network in a chat roulette-style video conference. Every three minutes, Mingle places attendees in a new room with someone chosen through Summit Engine’s matching algorithm. I’ve reviewed five interesting and articulate executives and entrepreneurs at a glance. People I could be friends with. This is the kind of serendipity that people travel the world for.
The app has an exceptionally good and useful searchable directory, which includes both individuals and businesses. I found it interesting that the CES app is listed under “social media” in the iOS app store. It made me wonder if these large-scale, all-encompassing conferences will grow into persistent communities in the metaverse.
CES is the second global organization to authorize Summit Engine, after the United Nations hosted a United Nations Development Program event on the platform in March 2021. Summit Engine was used in the first in-person event of the Web Summit in two years, in Lisbon from November 1st to 4th. , 2021.
“We are delighted to have been chosen by CTA as the digital platform provider for CES, and we understand what complex, large-scale events like these demand,” said Paddy Cosgrave, Co-Founder and CEO. from WebSummit. “We’ve been quietly building our software, Summit Engine, for nearly a decade to augment our physical events, so it’s been easy for us to bring them fully online during the pandemic. Now we can use this software to manage every element of an event, whether it’s for 100 or 100,000 people, in person, online or both. Jean Foster, senior vice president of marketing and communications for CES said. “Working with Web Summit allows CES to once again reimagine the way we come together and collaborate as an industry.”
Summit Engine has many competitors, including Hopin, which we used at the VRARA Global Summit in 2021. The private company’s latest round of funding pegged a valuation of $7.95 billion. According to Marketwatch, the online conferencing category is estimated to be worth US$4.21 billion, doubling by 2027. Factors such as globalization and mass adoption of remote working will drive the expansion of the market.