As emerging technologies begin altering every major industry, event organizers will see more meetings, conferences and exhibitions dedicated to the intricacies of innovation.
One of the most impactful technologies is blockchain — a backbone network infrastructure technology. It’s converging with IoT, big data, additive manufacturing, machine learning and AI to power exponential, industry-wide shifts.
In order to understand how industries are changing, and how to be involved in the movement, conference organizers need to know which topics are relevant and interesting to their attendees.
Based on my experience as the co-founder of a blockchain company and a regular speaker at industry conferences, here are the areas I believe upcoming events will be covering:
Finance is focusing on cryptocurrencies and tokenization.
In the early 2010s, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were viewed in a negative light by most people in finance.
However, the principal value of blockchain in this industry — that the network and nodes validate transactions, rather than banks — has helped the technology gain traction.
In fact, a recent survey by PwC shows that 46% of executives believe finance is the current industry leader of blockchain.
As more people and institutions get involved, new opportunities arise. Now, tokens are being created to represent traditional financial tools, like gold and natural resources. And security and asset-backed tokens are capable of representing stock, equities or assets. Equity tokens, which function like traditional securities, will help to bring more liquidity to early investors. Even tokenizing assets like fine art is opening up new investment opportunities in old markets.
Overall, finance is one of the most intriguing industries for blockchain applications, and the interest will only continue to grow.
Identity is being shaped by blockchain-based identities.
The notion of having a digital identity is not new.
But blockchain is converging with the trend of digitizing important personal data, and together they’re accelerating the move towards paperless, permanent identities.
For example: many refugees find themselves in a new country without identification documents or bank accounts. That makes it much more difficult for them to access financial and legal systems in order to start new lives. Blockchain-based solutions are currently being used in refugee camps to give people control over their identity data — and the implications for the rest of us are massive.
Having an immutable link to your identity, even without a passport or ID, has enormous consequences for governments, financial institutions and individuals who want greater control over the data they generate.
Digital identities on the blockchain will continue to gain momentum as a key topic of discussion as more people begin to recognize the convenience and benefits of blockchain-based identification.
Supply chains are becoming more connected and transparent.
The linking of the physical and digital worlds is one of blockchain’s most important feats. And those in the industry are already seeing the effects of the physical-digital link on supply chains in commodities and pharma.
For instance, the Responsible Gold platform is tracking conflict-free gold from the moment it leaves the mine to its eventual resting place in a vault. That allows investors to confidently buy gold, knowing it was ethically sourced.
In pharmaceuticals, the MediLedger Project blockchain is helping drug manufacturers and suppliers meet the Drug Supply Chain Safety Act’s regulatory requirements, while also adding value to the ecosystem through the streamlining of chargebacks and settlements.
Blockchain’s influence on supply chains won’t stop with those industries, however.
There’s still a lack of transparency and accountability in supply chains throughout industries like cosmetics and personal care, coffee, luxury goods and many more.
As blockchain affects some of the most essential industries, event organizers have to be cognizant of how these shifts will impact the nature of conference agendas and speakers.
If they understand where and how innovation is happening, they’ll be able to help organize the events where people gather to contribute to the evolution of emerging technologies.