#Slush16 – What you missed in Helsinki

Last week, members of the Bambuser team were lucky enough to be in attendance at two of Europe’s biggest events; Slush in Helsinki and the News Xchange conference in Copenhagen – Both events inspired us, but what did we really grasp from those?

Massive crowds from all around the world gathered in Helsinki, Finland, for this year’s highly anticipated #Slush16. Slush is regarded as one of the leading industry events for tech and startups, gathering major players in the global tech scene, investors, and new enterprises. Thanks to Slush’s growing popularity from previous year’s success, it was a sell-out event. Once again, Slush lived up to the hype! It was extremely well organized, providing fantastic experiential displays and demonstrations, and of course, outstanding content and speakers.

As with any major conference or exhibition, when you have that many great minds, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, and subject matter experts together under the same roof, the result is usually something very special. And nothing less can be said about our experience at Slush this year. The Iris platform representatives from Bambuser left the event full of excitement and armed with lots of new ideas to implement into our organization.

In regards to mobile, our area of expertise, there was very little presence (if any at all) on mobile live video, with the concentration being on mobile apps. Despite the event itself being streamed externally via Periscope, as far as we could see, there were no mobile live streaming companies exhibiting at all. We found this very surprising. In our opinion companies should be leveraging mobile strategies such as live video, now more than ever. As new technologies are fast emerging, dominating spaces like VR and AI, the ability to broadcast mobile live video will become increasingly more important.

The main attractions which drew in the crowds were the various presentations from ‘The Rockstars’ of the tech space — the likes of Daniel Ek and Sebastian Siemiatkowski, co-founders and CEOs of Spotify and Klarna, Skype and Atomico’s co-founder, Niklas Zennström, along with talks from heavy investors like Arielle Zuckerberg.

Amongst all of the amazing keynotes and panel discussions that our team attended over the course of the event, some key themes emerged. Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Artificial Intelligence were some of the main talking points, in both keynotes and demonstrations. Deep Tech and FinTech were also heavily featured throughout the conference, as well as Food, Healthcare, and Design. Music was also a big element this year, with Slush dedicating a separate area to all things music related. Chris Barton, the founder of Shazam, led an interesting discussion on the progression of music, music technology, and introduction of self-programming composers. Overall we feel that the overarching theme of Slush 2016 was… The Future! What does the future hold for technology, businesses, and the general public? Discussing where experts expect us to be in 2030 and beyond, down to the realities of 3D printing food and other essential materials. All really exciting stuff… our team was incredibly inspired just by being there!

In addition to Slush’s main schedule, the networking opportunities at events like this are not to be underestimated. It’s crucial for any business, as you get the rare opportunity to meet an abundance of potential customers, partners, suppliers, and investors in a short space of time, in one location. Speaking face to face with people about their business needs, not only generates potential revenue for your company but also helps you to understand where missing links lie within your own product and marketing strategies. Being on the ground in such an environment is so beneficial for your business in order to seize the opportunities presenting themselves within the market. We’ve been to many events over the last couple of years, but we found Slush this year to be extremely rewarding in regards to obtaining personal learnings and highlighting areas of our business and customer segments, which we need to focus on more going forward.

So now that Slush has drawn a close for another year and our Iris team is back at Bambuser HQ, I’ll leave you with some of the key priorities on our to-do list, based on all of the things we learned last week:

Refine and perfect your 5 minute (and even 30 second) pitch – If you can’t verbally describe what your company does in a clear and easy to understand way, then how can you expect to portray that sentiment in all of your marketing materials and your online presence?

Take the key concerns of your customers, and make the solution to those problems part of the unique selling point of your product or service.

And like the keynote speakers at Slush this year, lead customers on a journey to see what the future could hold for them and their industry. Present them with a vision, changing their perspective on ‘what could be’ for their business (…with the help of your product or service), and divert them away from the status quo. For us, this means leading them into the future of mobile live streaming.