Technology of the Future (ToF) – an exclusive meetup for Nasdaq’s globally distributed Market Technology client community, now running its 17th edition – has for the first time gone virtual.
We sat down with Lars Ottersgård, Executive Vice President and Head of Market Technology at Nasdaq, to talk about the event and discuss why it’s important to keep up the tradition even though the delegates won’t be able to meet in person this year.
Lars, please tell us about ToF and how it became such an iconic event!
Well, ToF is very dear to me, and not only due to its long heritage. It’s a forum where we gather our community of 130+ marketplaces, clearinghouses, regulators, banks, brokers and CSDs from more than 50 countries to collaborate, together address the challenges that our industry face, discuss strategically important topics and showcase new technologies – technologies of the future that will help us accelerate the opportunities that lie ahead.
ToF is exclusive to our Market Technology clients, and it occurs every other year. ToF 2020 was scheduled to take place in New York in June but for obvious reasons we had to postpone the event. However, given the dynamic environment we live and operate in, and the many important topics for our industry to address, we did not want to wait until we can meet our clients in person again to host the event. As such, we will for the first time ever run a selection of the sessions virtually, and we are both humbled and encouraged that we currently have registrants joining us from over 30 countries stretching very broad time zones!
How will virtual ToF work, and what can the audience expect?
The agenda is spread out over a two weeks period starting today, with webcasts running daily until September 18th, and our delegates can pick and choose the topics of their interest. Being a market operator ourselves, we often get requests as a technology provider to our market operators clients to share insights from within our own markets. As such, we kick off today with our President & CEO, Adena Friedman, who will share insights into our mission, vision and strategy and reflections on our business over this unprecedented period. We also have a number of speakers from our own Nasdaq Markets, including Tal Cohen, EVP & Head of North American Markets, and Lauren Dillard, EVP & Head of our Global Information Services business who will discuss our own transformation journey and how Nasdaq is re-imagining the value proposition of data. Outside of Nasdaq, I am most excited to hear from thought-leaders present in our clients and partners that will discuss how they are executing on initiatives that will disrupt their ecosystems in a positive way to reimagine tomorrow’s markets.
During the second week, we will drill down on trends and developments within specific fields with our product team – including the evolving trading, clearing and CSD landscapes as well as more novel areas such as digital assets and blockchain technology. I think our audience will bring a lot of valuable inspiration and new ideas with them from this year’s virtual ToF.
Are there any specific topics or themes of the conference that you would like to mention?
It’s hard to separate out a few from this extensive agenda, but I think that some of the key topics we will come back to over several sessions are of course the impact of Covid-19 and what it means for our businesses, not least in terms of putting resiliency and digitalization even higher on all of our agendas. If anything, we’ve really observed a steep acceleration of a move to a more digital economy, and how both SaaS technology and the cloud are going to get us there. As such, I also really look forward to discussing how many of the technologies we have been talking about for years – cloud computing, blockchain, machine learning – are maturing and gaining adoption, and listen to real-life innovation case studies in the client panel we will be hosting.
Most of all, I look forward to bringing our community together once again, albeit virtually, and the interesting discussions I know will follow. We will be sharing some of the content in our social media channels and on the website, so stay tuned for updates and key takeaways during the coming weeks.