From June 11th to June 13th, Málaga, Spain, became the epicenter of digital innovation as industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and visionaries gathered for DES 2024. Our company, Wapping Networks, proudly participated, immersing ourselves in three days of groundbreaking discussions, cutting-edge technology showcases, and invaluable networking opportunities. 

DES is known for bringing together the brightest minds in digital transformation and technology to explore emerging trends and navigate the challenges shaping the industry’s future. This year’s event was no exception, featuring an array of engaging sessions, interactive exhibits, and insightful keynote presentations. 

As we reflect on our participation in DES 2024, we are filled with optimism and excitement for the future of digital innovation. The energy and enthusiasm permeating the conference halls were palpable, underscoring the industry’s resilience and capacity for transformation. From exploring AI applications to discussing sustainability, the conversations held over three days highlighted the transformative potential of technology and strategic foresight. 


Day One: Embracing Cutting-Edge Technology and Strategic Leadership 


The first day of DES set the stage for a dynamic exchange of ideas and insights. Attendees were welcomed to a bustling expo area where the latest exponential technology was on display, and B2B meetings facilitated meaningful connections. 

  • Welcome DES session: The event kicked off with the Welcome DES Session led by the Event Directors. This session provided an overview of the conference, highlighting key themes and sessions that would shape the discussions over the next three days. 
  • CEO Leadership Summit: One of the day’s highlights was the CEO Leadership Summit. Top executives gathered to discuss leadership strategies in the digital age, focusing on how digital transformation can drive business success. This summit provided a platform for high – level discussion and networking among C-level leaders. 
  • Specialized Summits: The first day also features a series of specialized summits, including the Chief Sustainability Officer Summit and the HR Summit. These sessions focused on sustainable strategies and the evolving landscape of human resources, offering deep dives into sector-specific challenges and opportunities. 


The first day was a powerful start to DES 2024, highlighting the importance of strategic leadership in the digital era. The specialized summits were particularly impactful, offering targeted insights into sustainability and human resources. The CEO Leadership Summit underscored the critical role of executive vision in navigating digital transformation, setting a collaborative tone for the event. 


Day two: Deep Diving into AI and Technological Advancements


The second day of DES 2024 continued the momentum with a packed agenda focused on artificial intelligence and its impact across various sectors. 

  • Conversations with Mandela: The day began with a thought-provoking session title “Conversation with Mandela”, where Zondwa Mandela, grandson of Nelson Mandela and president of the Mandela Legacy Foundation, discussed AI’s role in the Global South and its potential to bridge or widen the digital divide. This session addressed critical social and technological issues and set a reflective tone for the day. 
  • AI in Various Industries: Several sessions in the main auditorium explored AI’s applications in different industries. Highlights included “AI Secrets for Marketing”, which examined how AI is revolutionizing marketing strategies, and “AI in the Energy Sector”, which showcased Repsol’s generative AI competence center.
  • Creative industries and entertainment: the intersection of AI and the arts was explored in a session on AI’s challenges for media and creative industries. Later, discussions on the evolution of entertainment through exponential technologies highlighted how AI is transforming this sector. 
  • CIO Summit: parallel to the main event, the CIO Summit explored topics such as digital resilience, agile business practices and generative AI, and essential skills for CIOs in the AI era. These sessions provided valuable insights for IT leaders. 
  • Networking and Exhibitions: the Expo area remained a hub of activity, with over 403 exhibiting companies showcasing their latest tech solutions. Attendees engaged in immersive networking activities, forging meaningful business connections. 


The “conversations with Mandela” session was particularly impactful, addressing the critical issue of digital inequality. He emphasized the need to avoid “data colonialism” and make technology affordable to enable access for people in the Global South, particularly in Africa. Mandela highlighted the urgency of protecting data to turn it into an opportunity for the continent, which will have 25% of the world’s population by 2050. He stressed the need for equitable and inclusive technology to drive social welfare, mitigate biases in tech development, and create job opportunities in South Africa, aiming for 775,000 jobs by 2030 through foreign investment. The sessions on AI in marketing and energy provided practical insights into how these technologies can drive industry-specific advancements. The CIO Summit offered valuable perspective on the evolving role of IT leaders, emphasizing the need for agility and resilience. 


Day three: celebrating innovation and collaboration 


The final day of DES 2024 was marked by high-impact sessions and a spectacular closing event. 

  • The future is now: Sara García Alonso from the European Space Agency delivered an inspiring talk on the future of space exploration and the role of exponential technologies. This session highlighted the boundless possibilities of technological advancements. 
  • Top Women Leaders in AI: a highlight was the session featuring Pilar Manchón, director of AI research at Google, discussing the contributions and future potential of women leaders in AI. This session emphasized the importance of diversity and inclusion in driving innovation. 
  • Retail & E-commerce forum: the forum addressed key trends and challenges in the retail sector, with insights from industry giants like Ebay, Veepee and Nestlé. Topics covered included AI in retail, cybersecurity and the evolution of customer experience with virtual fitting rooms. 


Throughout DES 2024, the palpable energy and enthusiasm highlighted the industry’s resilience and capacity for transformation. The event fostered a rich exchange of ideas, from exploring AI’s societal impacts to discussing strategic leadership and sustainability. Attendees left Málaga with fresh perspectives, new connections and a renewed sense of purpose in leveraging technology to drive positive change.