Over 5,000 people have gathered for the inaugural eMerge Americas Techweek Conference, hosted at the Miami Beach Convention Center. In addition to the elaborate booths of sponsors from various sectors, including education, health and the financial sector, the conference has an array of speakers on a variety of topics, grouped into categories such as “Innovate,” “City of the Future” and “Mega.”
Of special interest was a session by the famous Cuban dissident blogger, Yoani Sanchez, who spoke on her decision to shift the focus of her blog by creating an information transfer system for the general Cuban population. She stressed that information is change and that simply giving the Cuban people the ability to acquire information will be a catalyst for change in the regime. She urged attendees in the audience who visit Cuba to bring into the country any old devices, such as iPads, computers or iPhones.
The conference has also brought many foreign startups looking to make a mark in Miami, including Startup Chile, Wayra and Angel Ventures Mexico. Due to its proximity to Latin America, Miami is a clear target as the headquarters for development of these companies.
The innovators behind the conference envision a “techie” Art Basel, and have planned many after-hours social events and social media-charged initiatives to accompany the conference.