The Urban Happening at DLD in Tel Aviv drew crowds of onlookers.(Credit: Maya Margit)

Israeli Festival Shines Spotlight On Technological Innovation (with VIDEO)

Thousands of international guests take part in DLD Tel Aviv, which highlights latest hi-tech trends

Israel has the highest number of start-ups per capita in the world, which translates into roughly 6,000 in a country of 8.5 million people.

Elements of this technological ecosystem were on full display at the DLD Innovation Festival in Tel Aviv, where investors, entrepreneurs and tech enthusiasts caught a glimpse of the latest hi-tech trends. Israel’s largest annual hi-tech event, DLD features conferences, parties and other happenings that together highlight cutting-edge products and ideas.

“DLD Tel Aviv is a platform which enables multi-national companies to create their own events in order to promote meetings and interactions between start-ups and corporations,” Ruth Koren, one of the co-founders of the festival, explained to The Media Line.

Koren noted that the festival is attracted a growing number of participants each year, not only to the headlining digital conference—during which key industry players give lectures in topics ranging from robotics to blockchain to artificial intelligence—but also to the associated social gatherings.

“Some of the events take place on the beach and there was a party last night until four in the morning, which was hosted by one of the sponsoring companies,” she said. “We try to create something [so] they will remember the experience of being in Tel Aviv, and I think that’s what people take home with them.”

One of the most popular occasions is Urban Happening, which takes place along historic Rothschild Boulevard. There, dozens of interactive art exhibits are set up, people give presentations and meetings take place between representatives of companies.

One start-up that set up shop at Urban Happening has developed a platform that enables individuals to connect with artists who transform dreams into illustrations. “In the 21st century, many of us are very much connected to technology and less to our imaginations. Dreame is a reminder to connect to who you are and your imagination,” Sharonna Karni Cohen, founder and CEO of Dreame, explained to The Media Line.

Sports was another area of focus, in particular the many applications of virtual reality in this domain. Texel’s software, for example, will soon enable fans to experience what it is like to have front-row seats at games of their choosing. The start-up is set to partner with broadcasters in the near future to offer the service on a pay-per-use basis.

“We are using virtual reality technology to basically teleport [people] into the best position at a venue—first row, VIP—you name it,” Amir Segev, co-founder and CEO of Texel Virtual Reality, affirmed to The Media Line. “This means that for the first time, content owners can sell the best seat in the house over and over again.”

Crowds also lined up to inspect Wave-ability, a specialized surfboard designed for people with disabilities. The idea first came to Inbal Reichler 16 years ago after she suffered an injury during her service in the Israeli army that left her paralyzed from the chest down. Before the incident, Reichler had been an avid surfer.

“We had to design a surfboard that I can lie down on and maneuver in the water,” Reichler, who is the CEO of Wave-ability, conveyed to The Media Line. “You can’t do too much with a wheelchair and you need help all the time. But when you’re inside the water you’re free again; you can move wherever you want and I think that kind of freedom of movement is something that everybody needs to [experience], especially people with disabilities.”

Overall, about 110 international delegations and 4,000 guests from around the world took part in the DLD festival in Tel Aviv, a veritable hi-tech playground for all.

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