Azrieli Towers
Azrieli Towers Israel News Photo: Flash90

Things are a bit calmer in Israel, now that we're in the “after the holidays” period. But with the Rosh Hashana-Yom Kippur-Sukkot season behind us, Israel's hi-tech community can turn its attention to the round of hi-tech festivals set to hit the country this week. A total of some 30 events are scheduled in Tel Aviv this week, which will discuss, analyze, demonstrate, and otherwise concentrate on just about every tech topic under the sun – and on non-tech topics, as well, examining the impact of technology on those areas.

The main event takes place in Tel Aviv's port in the north of the city, and is called the DLD Conference. DLD stands for “Digital-Life-Design,” and true to its name, it seeks to evaluate and understand the impact of the digital lifestyle on life – and on design as well. The conference was first organized in 2005, and is the baby of Hubert Burda, chairman of a large German publishing concern of the same name (the company actually has over 300 titles, on and off-line, throughout the world). Co-chair of this year's conference is Yossi Vardi, the first Israeli (along with his partners) to make it big in the hi-tech world when ICQ was bought out in the '90s. Since then, he has taken on the role of “elder statesman” of Israeli technology, advocating for and giving advice to promising companies – and investing in them, as well.

Topics at DLD are wide ranging, with discussions centering on the expected – like “The Role of New Media in Social Networks Revolutions,” which will consider the impact of Facebook, Twitter, et al on work and school. Another session, titled “Telecom - Opportunities and Threats,” will look at challenges facing that industry. And “The Future of TV” will examine the implications to the industry as TV goes “on line.”

But some unexpected issues are on the agenda as well – such as the “school Principals as Agents of Change,” which will focus on using technology to educate for work and social cohesion, as well as a session on “Brain Machine Interface,” and a presentation by IBM execs on Watson – the big winner on TV's “Jeopardy” game show last year – and what it means for the future. There is even a session on satellites and space technology, and one called “Art Technology Interaction”- about how tech is changing the art world.

Surrounding DLD will be a number of other, smaller events, including one dedicated to social media (140conf), two dedicated to cloud computing (Amazon Cloud Conference, IGT International Cloud Conference), events for developers sponsored by Google and Facebook – and, of course, conferences dedicated to investors, VC's, angels, and all the other folk whose investments makes Israel's “silicon wadi” so dynamic. And, there will also be several events dedicated to Israeli startups, giving them the opportunity to strut their stuff and present their ideas and products in front of an audience that will include many, if not most, of the top names in the hi-tech world who made their way to be part of one of the premiere tech events worldwide.

Not to be outdone, Ernst and Young, the world-famous accounting and financial advice firm, is sponsoring Journey, its annual gathering of pundits, commentators, and wonks, who will also be discussing hi-tech, telemedicine, and many other subjects. Naturally, the E&Y event (at the Tel Aviv Hilton) is likely to be a bit more staid than the more freewheeling DLD – but fortunately, Israel's hi-tech arena is big enough to handle both approaches!