NGI values on show at Web Summit

ECboothThe Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative teamed up with the European Commission to showcase its initiative and funding opportunities at the Web Summit in Lisbon last week, 5-8 November. The Web Summit was a huge ICT conference, attracting around 70,000 attendees and billed as the world’s largest gathering of entrepreneurs.

NGI showcased its work at the prominent EU booth in the exhibition area and also hosted and participated in talks and side-events. The main NGI Workshop was held at the startup workshops stage on Tuesday 6 November – probably the busiest day of the conference – with every seat taken. The workshop was hosted by Dr Monique Calisiti, HUB4NGI Coordinator and CEO of Martel Innovate.

The NGI was introduced by Olivier Bringer, deputy and acting head of unit at European Commission DG CONNECT and in charge of the NGI initiative. He said that, since the NGI began in 2016, it had grown, and Europe saw further opportunities in areas such as democratisation, decentralisation and regulation, as well as development.

“It’s important for EU to be not only where we regulate the technologies but where technology is developed,” said Bringer.

“The NGI is a joint effort. We need social innovators, high-tech SMEs and entrepreneurs. The internet has changed and it needs to change more. But it takes time. Which is why the EC has a funding programme for the next ten years.”

NGI-related open calls with funding ranging from €50-€200k were outlined. Michiel Leenaars from NLNet talked about how projects could get help with cascade funding from his organisation and Isabella De Michelis from ErnieAPP outlined how embedding key NGI values such as privacy into technology can both benefit users and generate profits.

The workshop presentations can be downloaded here.

ngiworkshopNGI also participated in the “European Night” hosted by the Social Good Accelerator, again talking about funding as well as highlighting NGI values such as social good in technology. The EU’s 5 million Blockchain for Social Good prize was mentioned.

Finally, the NGI Salon organised by NGI Move was on “You have ten years to save the Planet – A Millennials’ narrative for the Next Generation Internet.

ngisalonFor the duration of Web Summit, there was much focus on the values and causes the NGI initiative exists to promote. The event kicked off with internet inventor Tim Berner’s Lee launching his “Contract for the Web” which aims to put humans squarely back in the picture when it comes to building the internet of tomorrow.

Over the next four days, we heard talks about decentralisation, democratisation and the interwoven nature of tech with social good and indeed social change. It was an excellent platform for the NGI to reach a large audience of tech entrepreneurs, startups and SMEs.

The EU were prominent at the conference, with several commissioners speaking on stages and in panels, including the EU’s Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on centre stage talking about the fundamentals of privacy, democracy and change in a digital world:

“We need digital society on a human scale so the technology will serve us.”

NGI also handed out flyers and USB shields at the EU booth during the whole conference, which were well received. Attendees of the workshop were given NGI-branded power banks, helping spread the word to join and support the initiative.

Stay tuned for our exclusive interview with Isabella De Michelis from ErnieAPP and Jennifer Veldman from Datawatchers on NGI Millennials.

The workshop presentations can be downloaded here.

NGI Twitter moments at the Web Summit 2018.

To join the NGI initiative, please browse to Join NGI webpage.

Next events where you can meet NGI team will be the Internet Governance Forum – IGF 2018, 12-14.11. 2018 in Paris, and the ICT 2018, 04-06.12. 2018 in Vienna.