Looking back at the hot conference topics in 2011

13 12 2011

At the start of the year, we made some predictions about the topics that were likely to dominate the conference landscape in 2011 and, as is now traditional, we want to take a moment to reflect on the year. You may remember that in our original post(hyperlink) we thought the hot topics in 2011 would be:

Many of our suggestions were right on the money – a number of these topics have been growing for years now and are almost sure to continue to be important going forward. However, we also missed a few runaway trends (like Big Data), so want to spend the next few posts looking back, analysing the hot topics and providing insight on the conference industry in 2011.

We’ll also be making our predictions for 2012 in the next few weeks, so don’t forget to check back regularly!





Our thoughts on IP Expo

4 11 2011
On the 20th October, we attended the 2011 edition of IP Expo, one of the UK’s largest and fastest growing IT infrastructure events, where some of the biggest names in IT converge annually.One of the biggest attractions of the day was the Google Apps Lab, which demonstrated to visitors how Google Apps helps teams to increase their productivity using real-time collaboration.A multitude of significant players from the IT sector attended, including Neil Crockett from Cisco and David King, CTO of Logica – but the most buzz surrounded one particular speaker: the co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, and with the huge media focus and expression of public sadness surrounding Steve Jobs’ recent death, his presence was greatly anticipated.

Wozniak delivered a keynote in which he spoke about his early days at Apple, taking risks in technology, and Fusion-io, his latest gig. However, when delivered, Wozniak’s presentation came off sounding disappointingly like a sales pitch, rather than the inspirational speech that many were expecting. As we have pointed out several times over the last few years, its never a good idea to use a speaking opportunity as a platform for a sales pitch.





Google I/O conference streamed online

8 04 2011

We just wanted to share the news that Google will be streaming its I/O event, starting 9am PST on 10 May. There’s a lot of topics being covered, many of which are enterprise and cloud-related. You can see a list of the sessions here: http://www.google.com/events/io/2011/sessions.html
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The event will be streamed from www.google.com/io – it’s a highly anticipated event (tickets sold out in under an hour) so it’s definitely worth checking out a couple of the sessions.





Hot conference topics and themes for 2011: cloud computing

21 02 2011

Cloud computing has continued to grow and gain mainstream acceptance and this is likely to accelerate through 2011; the maturation of services and new models and applications should cement cloud computing at the forefront of many conference agendas.

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Whereas cloud computing has thus far largely been the subject of specialist events like the Business Cloud Summit and those targeted squarely at the CTO, we are likely to see coverage at a wider range of events going forward. The majority of this will probably take place via end-user testimony as more companies in a wider range of industries adopt cloud technologies and models for a wider range of processes. For example, we’ve already seen cloud models for RFID (the infrastructure is loaned and managed via a cloud portal, reducing initial outlay and overheads) and every day new applications are being dreamt up.

Alongside the conferences discussing the advantages of cloud computing for business and enterprise will be those discussing the consumerisation of cloud technology, through video, gaming and content delivery like the CDN World Forum. As the cloud begins to play a larger role in our lives both at work and at play it can’t help but seep onto more and more agendas across the board.





Looking ahead to 2011’s hot conference topics and themes

9 02 2011

Having looked back at 2010, it’s the perfect opportunity to reignite our tradition of outlining our thoughts on the hot topics and themes in this year’s conference landscape. They are below in no particular order:

As you can see there are a few old favourites on here but also some new arrivals. We’d love to get your thoughts in the comments on whether we’ve missed any or even got some wrong.

Personally I’m really excited by the mobile and apps space at the moment, there’s so much innovative stuff going on – dual core phones, connected everything and new device formats. However, there’s increasing crossover between these topics, apps are, of course, available in your mobile, but now apple has launched the Mac app store, Google launched the Chrome Web Store and Amazon has hinted heavily that there’s an Amazon Appstore on the way too. I can also access Dropbox on my phone, edit my Google Docs and use other cloud services on the move; there’s going to be a real challenge around the ‘liquid experience’ whereby my apps look familiar and interact with each other across platforms.

These game changing advances and disruptors like the iPad will continue to drive conference agendas as senior management is put under increasing pressure to keep up in the social media age. This should see attendance rates remaining high at industry leading events and a great deal of press and media interest in conference content as the consumerisation of IT marches on.

However, we’re also likely to see some conference producers attempting to cash in on these trends, launching new, low quality events pandering to the latest trends. Knowing how to spot, and avoid these events is key. A specialist agency can help you plan for the year ahead, identify your key targets and evaluate any invitations you might receive to speak at (or even attend) new conferences and ensure that your speaking programme really takes off in 2011.





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.

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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.





Collaboration – living in the cloud

24 05 2010

Just a quick post today to extol the virtues of living in the cloud!

We’re fortunate enough to work with a lot of tech firms who just ‘get’ the value of the cloud and those clients not already using the cloud are quick to see the benefits when we show them mockups of what we can do with online collaborative software. We’re not dropping names or pushing any particular technology, rather outlining the general benefits of being able to us collaborative tools to bridge the lines between client, agency and customer; in our experience we’ve found that using these collaborative tools is a huge benefit to running a targeted speaking program, streamlining our processes and improving the service we deliver to clients.

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Cloud technology has advanced pretty quickly, and as the capabilities have grown we’ve found more and more uses. We began by keeping our client facing documents in the cloud, allowing us to update these in real time as well as our clients being able to make any alterations without needing to send multiple copies backward and forward. We’ve saved literally hundreds of man hours by just having one living document which we can keep bang up to date (saving periodic hard copies if necessary) and our clients can feedback into. This has varied from databases of events to evaluations of specific conferences and because they’re hosted in the cloud we know they’re instantly accessible when they’re needed, without us needing to raid our server and email a possibly out of date file to a client, never to be seen again. When running speaking campaigns for multiple clients this really helps us ensure everyone is completely up to date and has access to the most recent information, improving reporting and reducing admin.

As the technology has developed, we’ve increased our use beyond client reporting, concocting our own homebrew solutions and processes to automate aspects of speaking campaigns and help close the loop. Through the power of collaboration we are now able to create customer (conference organiser) facing resources, client facing resources and our own internal resources, all of which have separate access rights but can easily share information across each realm when necessary.

As the technology continues to evolve we can only imagine that the ability to innovate and create these useful tools will get easier and more commonplace, allowing previously tailormade software to be recreated inhouse and optimised to suit your business needs and goals. We’ve already created tailor-made solutions for managing conference speaking campaigns that only a few years ago would have cost a small fortune in development and programming with minimal investment beyond our time and creativity. While we appreciate many of you don’t have the time or the (somewhat geeky) skill set to create these tools in-house, this is where an external agency will be able to help you identify which tools will help you most and how to implement them most effectively.

So we’re curious to know – those of you with your head in the clouds; what are the main benefits you’ve found and where are the drawbacks? Those of you who haven’t yet dipped your toe; why not?