SIME conference opens a packed Innovate MIA for tech community

It’s not all about the celebration of art this week: There will be plenty of toasts to tech as well.

SIME MIA, a two-day European conference coming to the United States for the first time, opens Tuesday at the New World Center. Demian Bellumio, CTO of Senzari and one of the main local organizers, said what SIME will be is intimate, interactive and thought-provoking. What it won’t be is boring.

Ola Ahlvarsson, founder and host of SIME, has gathered more than 40 speakers from around the world to share their knowledge and spark conversations, including Neil Jacobstein, co-chair of artificial intelligence and robotics at Singularity University in the NASA research Park in Mountain View, Calif.; Pablos Holman, hacker, futurist and inventor at Intellectual Ventures Laboratory; Shel Israel, author and speaker on social media issues; screenwriter and producer Tim Kring; and Christian Hernandez, partner at White Star Capital. There will be plenty of interesting conversations about the future of mobility, big data and digital music, a session on “management by rock ’n’ roll,” yoga, digital campfires, the unveiling of a David Datuna work of art experienced through Google Glass and a few “surprises” for the nearly 600 people registered.

When SIME MIA opens, it also kicks off an event-filled Innovate MIA that runs through Dec. 14. Started last year to showcase South Florida’s technology community at a time when a lot of entrepreneurs and investors are here anyway for Art Basel, Innovate MIA this year features a couple of dozen events, including free art exhibits, a pitch contest, several launches, a Latin American-focused women in tech conference, a hackathon and much more. While SIME’s ticket prices were steep, $1,000 though early bird discounts were offered, there are plenty of events that are free or nearly so, say the organizers.

Innovate MIA will feature the AT&T Aspire Mobile App Hackathon at the Miami Innovation Center on Dec. 13, bringing together the region’s best hackers to compete for prizes. The Atlantic magazine and the Knight Foundation are hosting a startup pitch session on Dec. 9 — the winner will get stage time at the Start-up City: Miami event in February. Our City Thoughts, a new digital platform telling Miami’s stories, launches Friday. The LAB Miami has been transformed into an art gallery, as 300 Hugh MacLeod cartoons depicting the entrepreneurial journey adorn the walls this week, said LAB co-founder Wifredo Fernandez..

In addition to SIME there are other conferences, including the Mobile Content LatAm conference Thursday and Friday and WeXchange, a two-day conference aimed at promoting women-led entrepreneurship in Latin America starting Dec. 11. Parties too: The Social Media Club of South Florida hosts its “30 Days of Blogging” holiday event on Dec. 10, and Refresh Miami, South Florida’s largest tech networking group, holds its holiday bash on Dec. 14.

See the full Innovate MIA agenda at

Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg

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