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Second annual TechIE Conference explores the future of technology

Second Annual TechIE Conference

IE University students held the TechIE conference, hosting 20 top-tier companies discussing topics like mobility, fintech, insurance and so-called future of work.

More than 20 companies converged on El Matadero in Madrid to celebrate the second annual TechIE Conference, one of Europe’s biggest tech gatherings, featuring panels on mobility, e-commerce, technology and the future of work.

The student-organized TechIE Conference was the joint effort of five IE clubs with the support of Campus Life. It explores the future of technology and innovation and the implications of the rapidly changing environment, bringing together experts from leading companies and the wider IE Community.

TechIE ConferenceBorja González del Reguera, Vice Dean of Data Science and Technology, opened the one-day event highlighting the need to create a new framework of thinking to explore and succeed in the future of technology. Keynote Speaker Prashant Kumar, Senior Product Manager for Amazon Italy & Spain, then took the floor and captivated the 180 attendees with a comprehensive talk on emerging technologies in the e-Commerce world and how Amazon is leading this transformation.

“By 2026 more than 50% of all the purchases worldwide will be made online, so we are in front of a shift in the behaviour of consumption,” he expressed. “In order to be at the top of the game, we need to be obsessed about our customer and focus on 4 main pillars: speed, value for money, convenience for their lives and the trust they have in us. We can never forget about the quality of the service we are providing.”

Prashant then joined the first panel discussion, Retail & E-Commerce, alongside representatives from Amazon, El Corte Inglés and Sephora. Artificial intelligence and data usage were the center of discussion, looking at the different approaches each company uses to adapt to new consumer behavior, using different available technologies to personalize experiences.

“We are on the verge of a real transformation. Nowadays Sephora is interacting with the customers digitally to offer them the best experience with makeup even in online platforms. We were one of the pioneers in changing how women interact with makeup, and we believe this is only the beginning of using Artificial Intelligence to tailor to their needs,” Irma Ugarte, E-Commerce & Digital Marketing Director of Sephora, said.

The next panel, the Future of Work, brought to stage representatives from Iron Hack Madrid, Microsoft, IE Exponential Learning, Malt and IE University to discuss the implications and skill sets of the jobs that will lead the landscape of technology and innovation in years to come. The participants emphasized challenges the industry faces regarding the scarcity of resources, over population, climate change and the phenomenon of massive migration.

Panelists offered advice about the necessary skills to succeed in an ever changing society.

“You don’t need to know it all, but you need to be willing to learn it all.”

“Embrace creativity, embrace the unknown, and never stop learning. It doesn’t stop when you finish your degree or your master, there’s so many things that we don’t know that are impacting the way we experience life, and the learning mindset,” advised Ricardo Mesquita, Head of Immersive Learning at IE XL. “Your life is not defined by your one page CV. Companies value when you’re giving before you take, you don’t need to know it all, but you need to be willing to learn it all.”

TechIE ConferenceWhile the different panels took center stage, four different workshops were held in Casa del Lector, navigating through topics like Cryptocurrency, Deeptech Startups, Big Data & Machine Learning and how to transition from an MBA to the Startup World. During the sessions, attendees were able to interact with the panelists and engage in conversations about the challenges of new technologies and the future of the industry.

Before the conference closed, the last two panels debated Fintech & Insurance and Mobility. Companies like Cabify, Revolut, Verse, BCG, Lime and Deliveroo examined managerial decisions leading to more sustainable practices, applying new technologies like Robotics Processed Automation and AI to mimic human behavior.

Panelists addressed the need for new legislation, highlighting challenges posed by outdated laws.

“To be sustainable doesn’t mean you are sustainable from the first day. In the first years of a company you are trying to develop the first processes of input and output, but you can’t do it in one go,” said Daniel Bedoya, General Manager Europe for Cabify. “How we can change our process and operations to achieve this sustainability is where the real challenge is.”

The initiative was sponsored by IE Campus Life, Talent and Careers, The Web Development and UX/UI Design School Iron Hack, the Mobile Payments App Verse, the Corporate and Catering business Deliveroo and IE Exponential Learning.