Hot conference topics and themes for 2011: apps

14 02 2011

Apps are new to our list and would previously have been covered by the ‘mobile’ category. However, towards the end of 2010 we saw more devices able to run apps and myriad new app stores opening across devices, operators and the web (Samsung and Amazon to name but two).

The way we’re accessing information, and the web, is changing and this should cement apps on conference agendas. The rapid growth of apps saw the first wave of app-focused conferences appear towards the end of 2010 and we expect this to continue; specialist conferences for enterprise apps are likely, as are those focusing on designing, building and monetizing applications and debating which application ecosystems are best.


If Wired was right and The Web Is Dead, apps could well become our default method for accessing information and services, making this a huge growth area in the conference landscape.

2010 conference themes recap: mobile

4 02 2011

It’s been a stellar year for mobile! Mobile has gone from strength to strength; the fruition of new technologies like the iPad and 4G has driven huge growth and rapid change in the way we use data and mobile devices. This in turn has translated into more mobile events and increased focus and awareness of mobile on more traditional business and leadership conference agendas.


The exciting developments in the mobile world mean interest is going to continue to grow, particularly with devices becoming more connected and new ways of working, accessing data and consuming content. This has, and will, translate into more mobile events and a great awareness and coverage of mobile on event agendas.

2010 conference themes recap: cloud computing

31 01 2011

Is growing and growing, and growing. Cloud services of all varieties are becoming more ubiquitous and fears about security are being decreasing, replaced by interest in cost benefits, efficiencies and improving services (and indeed, improving security). Google has even demonstrated Chrome based laptops running solely in the cloud and with more and more data now being cloud based it’s easy to envision a future where nothing is stored locally but is available everywhere.


We’re also beginning to see cloud services penetrating further into consumers’ private lives, from Logitech’s collaboration with Google – the Revue, to Onlive’s cloud based gaming service. It’s no wonder cloud computing remains one of our hottest topics moving into 2011.

2010 conference themes recap: healthcare

28 01 2011

Healthcare remained a huge topic throughout 2010, particularly in light of the healthcare reform in the US and budget cuts in the UK. This was pushed by the continuing uptake of telehealth and healthcare IT which was driven not only by cost and efficiency, but also new models of healthcare as a game (think Wii Fit and Microsoft Kinect) and cell phones becoming smart connected objects used to monitor our health.


Because of this, we also saw healthcare sneaking on to agendas at leading mobile and telecoms events and featuring at some high-level cloud conferences. But there was also a flutter of new healthcare IT events in various emerging markets taking advantage of these advances and the benefits of telehealth.

2010 conference themes recap: social media

24 01 2011

Was, as we predicted, huge in 2010 and continues to be a key topic for the business world (you know it’s important when they make an award – winning film about it!). Everyone wanted to hear from those who were doing it well, the horror stories from Twitter and new models for engaging customers.


We also saw social starting to creep further into nearly every aspect of life, with social invading our televisions and our music (think Google TV and Ping). While there were already some social TV events and their kin, we saw these topics take the stage at more and more conferences as the year advanced. We wouldn’t be surprised if social starts to feature in some shape or form on just about every agenda out there.

2010 conference themes recap: green issues and sustainability

21 01 2011

While we expected this topic to continue growing, as it has for the past few years, we actually saw a plateau in 2010. This is no bad thing and the proverbial wheat has been sorted from the chaff; low quality sustainability events have not returned leaving high-level platforms for debate.


Despite this, sustainability and green issues have remained a staple of high-level presentations and everyone is still to keen to exhibit their green credentials. Although this hasn’t often translated to green streams at the larger annual events it has created an underlying theme to many agendas across the board.

2010 conference themes recap: recovery

17 01 2011

The year started optimistically and we expected to see lots of discussion around new opportunities and economic recovery. However, this stalled somewhat when the recovery was not as sustained as expected and economies remained stagnant. This was reflected on conference agendas by cautious optimism and frank discussions of threat vs. opportunity, rather than out and out recovery.

However, taking a wider look at the industry itself we saw new events cropping up where previously they had folded, suggesting cautious optimism in producers’ minds; fortunately past experience has tempered this and new events are typically of high quality in key industry sectors.

Looking back at the 2010 conference landscape

11 01 2011

At the start of last year we made some predictions outlining what we thought would be the hottest topics and themes in the conference landscape. Now that 2010 has passed and 2011 is upon us we want to look back at our predictions and see which came to pass and which were made in haste.

In our original post we predicted that the following would be big in 2010:

Many of our predictions ran true, although there have been a few surprises. Over the next few posts we’ll look back on our original thoughts and see what happened compared to what we expected. We’ll also be making our annual prediction for the hot topics in 2011; watch this space!

ad:tech – still pulling in the numbers

4 10 2010

I visited ad:tech last week and took a few laps of the exhibition and thought I’d quickly share my thoughts with you. As usual for a free exhibition the Olympia was rammed (as were the local pubs!); whilst a lot of the footfall will have been tire kickers and junior staffers sent to check out the vibe and the competition for their bosses. This is normally always the case with ‘free to attend’ events – it really dilutes the quality of the audience. The paid-for conference is one area of the event where the quality of the audience increases, and there was a very good line up of speakers this year.

The seminar sessions (that take place on the exhibition floor and again, are free to attend) were surprisingly well attended, with delegates pouring out the doors and a fairly impressive line-up of speakers compared to the usual free exhibition dregs; of course ad:tech also monitors delegate attendance and flow by scanning barcodes, helping speakers follow up with attendees.

However, there seemed to be less money being spent by exhibitors on average this year, with most resigned to the default white gazebo and a small stand; although many used their space creatively and came up with a nice gimmick or hook to create footfall.

Monetising branded content in a social media driven world @ IBC Conference 2010

6 09 2010

I have the privilege this year of producing a session for the business stream at the IBC Conference in Amsterdam next week.

It takes place on the Thursday the 9th of September from 14.30 – 16.00 and is titled: ‘Monetising branded content in a social media driven world‘.  It will be in room E102.

We have a stellar line up including Alex Balfour, head of new media for LOCOG (2012 London Olympics) as our keynote who will explain how he is planning to make the 2012 games the first truly social Summer Olympics; a provoking presentation from Scott Brown of Cisco Media Solutions Group showing how the attraction of produced content combined with the power of social technologies is changing the digital marketing paradigm at media and entertainment companies; rounded off with what we expect to be a fiery panel discussion between Universal Music, BBC Worldwide and Dogwoof about how social entertainment experiences are affecting business models and technology decision-making.

If you’ll be at IBC this week, please stop by and participate in what we are confident will be a great session!