CloudFest 2024: BaseKit debrief

Each year BaseKit attends the world’s #1 Cloud Industry event – CloudFest. Why? Because it brings together many of our partners from around the world in a single place, where we can meet formally and informally to build relationships, communicate our product roadmap, discuss the biggest trends in the industry and have a lot of fun in the process!

Biggest talking point

This year, AI was unsurprisingly and excitingly the biggest talking point. We discussed the most high value use cases and best ways to implement AI into website builders, and it was clear the performance of generative AI in non-English countries was a key challenge to address.

The large language models (LLMs) on which AIs like chatGPT can sometimes have uneven performance across different languages. AI generated imagery can also be subject to cultural bias and our partners care that they always present their customers with content that feels ‘local’ to them and appropriate for their cultural context.

Our partners are well aware that some ‘AI sitebuilders’ are being promoted as a kind of miracle solution to the problems of SMB web presence.  Just like us, our partners have concluded that the reality falls far short of the hype and that AI is a useful tool but not yet a miracle cure for delivering an authentic, localised and effective website presence in world markets.

Valuable takeaways

One of the most valuable outtakes we gain from attending CloudFest is the broad picture of the opportunities and challenges faced by hosting companies and their customers.

It allows us to compare our views of key trends with the views of our partners’ and industry experts, and validate some of the hypotheses and data on which our roadmap is built.

Our roadmap tries to set the direction for the next year and CloudFest gets everyone thinking about the big picture rather than just short term issues. Here are the top three takeaways from this year’s discussions:

  • AI: All partners were excited about the possibilities but also concerned about the quality and value of localised generated content.
  • Rising costs: Our hosting industry partners are always under price pressure but rising costs due to energy prices rises and increased supplier costs have further exacerbated the challenges.
  • Consolidation: The hosting industry continues to consolidate. One of the ways for consolidated groups to reduce costs is to migrate their customers to a single platform for all services. We are very active in helping partners migrate away from legacy platforms to BaseKit,and we see plenty of scope for further involvement over the coming years.

Roadmap feedback

The feedback about our 2024 product roadmap was universally positive. In particular, combining AI generated content and new page layout features to deliver a major step-change in the capabilities of our website builder, was a highlight for partners, in our commitment to delivering the tools to achieve design excellence for their customers.

Favourite talk 

From over 250 speakers across 4 days, there were some pretty impressive talks happening, however one of the most poignant for BaseKit, was a talk by Vanessa Nalaguya, a scholar from Groundbreaker Talents.

Bringing Uganda’s next generation of female coders, Groundbreaker Talents is a full-time scholarship program in Software Engineering that empowers women from financially constrained backgrounds to leverage their full potential and access a brighter future in the digital era. The current cohort was at CloudFest 2024!

Learning how to build websites is a key element of the program and CEO Simon Best is already in talks with founder Leoni Rossberg about offering free access to our BaseKit platform, and delivering mentorships to women with our team at BaseKit.

We’re also looking at how we can sponsor scholarships to give women in Uganda access to the training needed to thrive in the tech industry but also foster a more diverse pool of tech talent.

Over the last 16 years we’ve helped over 100 partners deliver millions of websites, e-commerce stores and bookings businesses for entrepreneurs around the world. We’re on a mission for tech democracy for small businesses – are you? Request a demo of our white label software today.

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