Ever thought it was possible to have a massive global tech conference in an ancient Croatian coastal city known for its beaches, tourism, and Roman ruins?
Apparently, it is possible!
Over the course of a few sizzling hot days this September in the city of Zadar, attending my first-ever Infobip Shift Conference I learned that the expected market size by 2027 of artificial intelligence (AI) will be a scorching $407 billion, while also hearing from techies & businesspeople coming from as far as the US to as near as Dubrovnik & Zagreb.
Between listening to a roundtable talk hosted by the CroAI Meetup association in the restored Duke's Palace (Providurova Palaća) where we got to hear from the Minister of EU Funds & Regional Development who is also of relatively younger generation, to joining hundreds of visitors at the main stage of the city's modern stadium SC Višnjik, the event proved to be a memorable one and certainly opened a discussion on a very relevant topic, the common theme of discussion being AI trends.
This being the Croatian coast, one of the longest lines at the event turned out to be the coffee line in the lounge area, and that early macchiato certainly helped fuel things up for more sessions in the afternoon, along with paying a visit to dozens of exhibits, robotics demonstrations, and a drone flying simulator.
Will Croatia's coastal region of Dalmatia turn into the next Silicon Valley? I think not exactly, and for good reason, but with time we could see a unique Dalmatian approach to cultivating a tech ecosystem that could be both economically and structurally viable for the long-term, now that there is tailwind behind it.