Conference News: What I learned this week – February 15, 2019

New In the Land of the Rising Sun: Over the past few years the Milken Institute has ramped up its international presence by launching several symposiums overseas. In 2019 it will add to its lineup with the first Japan Symposium. This exclusive, invitation-only event will gather heads of large financial institutions, senior business leaders, top institutional investors, and high-level government officials from Japan, the Asia-Pacific region, and the United States on 25 March. Learn more about this new conference here.

GrowCo is NoMo: Inc. will no longer hold its Grow Your Company Conference (GrowCo), a three-day event that offered advice, strategies, and connections for entrepreneurs looking to grow a business. Instead, in 2019, Inc will host a series of regional events focused on growth and showcasing fast-growing companies within each market. The events will be in San Francisco, Chicago and Washington DC. While the event series dates have not yet been announced, they will happen in May and June. Learn more about this Fast Growth Tour here.

Speaking Opportunity: The O’Reilly Artificial Intelligence (AI) Conference, scheduled to run from 9 – 12 September, is now accepting speaker submissions. The conference is self-described as “a deep dive into emerging AI techniques and technologies—focusing on practical business applications.” The agenda includes inspirational keynotes, real-world case studies, high-level executive briefings, and technical demos. There is both a technical audience consisting of professionals who are algorithms or data engineers; CxOs of analytics, data, IT and innovation; research scientists, as well as a business audience, including analysts, strategists, managers of innovation, product marketers and investors. If you have a session idea to suggest, submit it here before the 26 February deadline.

Lunchtime Learning: Adexchanger Industry Preview bills itself as providing marketers insight into what to expect within the industry in the next 12 months. One of the core themes coming out of this year’s conference was the importance of finding a balance between responsible data use, automation and personalization. Even if you were not able to attend, check out sessions such as The Marketer’s View, featuring Michael DeLellis, EVP Integrated Global Marketing at Calvin Klein; We Need To Optimize For The Citizen, featuring Publicis Groupe’s Rishad Tobaccowala, and a CEO panel on The Publisher Of The Future.

Coming Up Next Week: Energy innovators and providers meet in Austin at Parks Associates Smart Energy Summit (18-20 February) to learn how connectivity and data are transforming the utility industry. At eTail West, both brand marketers and CTOs take the stage 19-22 February in Palm Springs to share strategy with their peers. Previously known as the India Leadership Forum, the NASSCOM Technology & Leadership Forum’s new name reflects the centrality tech plays in nearly every business decision today. The forum will be held 20-22 February in Mumbai. DeveloperWeek SF adds a new conference component – DevExec World – when it gets underway this week. Geared toward all levels, DevExecWorld will focus on the development of leadership roles, technicians all the way up to CTO. At Mobile Ventures Summit (21 February; San Francisco), attendance is limited to senior brand marketing execs and partners; the event is closed to the press and agencies. And on 22 February, the Watermark Conference offers professional and personal development to the women of Silicon Valley.

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Conference News: What I learned this week – February 8, 2019

Seattle got even Cloudier! DevNetwork has added another conference to its 2019 lineup – Developer Week: Cloud Edition! The event will take place in Seattle from 30 – 31 May and is expected to bring together 800+ cloud engineers, IT managers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to learn about the newest cloud computing innovations in a city that hosts many of the world’s largest cloud providers. According to the organizers, the agenda will cover the following topics: Microservices Architecture, Artificial Intelligence in the Cloud, Containers & Kubernetes, Digital Transformation, Serverless Architecture, Security & Performance, CI/CD, IT & DevOps Management.

New Approach to What’s Next: Ad Age will be “reinventing its approach to Ad Age Next” in 2019. The conference, which used to be an annual gathering, will become a quarterly have day event, paired with Ad Age Titans, a Shark Tank-inspired live pitch event. Attendees will learn about topics and trends effecting the advertising industry and reveal the startups that are disrupting it. Read more or register for the next one here.

Speaking Opportunity: RSA Conference holds its information security events around the globe. Their Asia Pacific & Japan conference will be held on 16 – 18 July in Singapore. This year’s theme is Better. According to the organizers, this means “working hard to find better solutions. Making better connections with peers from around the world. And keeping the digital world safe so everyone can get on with making the real world a better place.” Speaker submissions are due by 20 February following the guidelines offered here.

Lunchtime Learning: Perhaps no other gathering packs as much industry, political, and humanitarian clout as the World Economic Forum held each January in Davos, Switzerland. Current world leaders are joined by CEOs from the world’s most successful companies and luminaries so famous they need no introduction (think Al Gore, Jane Goodall, HRH the Duke of Cambridge) for visionary talks and behind-closed-door deal making. Even journalists covering the forum have to jump through notoriously high hoops just to get a badge. Check out these videos from WEF 2019 but be warned: The program packs so much star power, you might need sunglasses.

Coming Up Next Week: At HIMSS 2019 (11-15 February; Orlando) the Champions of Health Unite – that is, according to the conference theme. The annual Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society Annual Conference & Expo is a major draw in the healthcare IT ecosystem, with over 45,000 professionals, clinicians, and suppliers in attendance. With a focus on the marketing-media value chain and how brands are born, grow, and die in the disrupted economy, Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Annual Leadership Meeting gets underway 10 February in Phoenix. At Kidscreen Summit (11-14 February; Miami) it’s all about exploring every angle in kids’ entertainment. More than 2,000 content creators, distributors, programming execs, and more attend every year. And while circumstances in Las Vegas often get dicey, the Design, Innovate, Communicate, Entertain (DICE) Summit is anything but dubious. Major game publishers, developers, and influencers meet to discuss the state of the industry and support the independent games movement.

Conference News: What I learned this week – February 1, 2019

Out for a Summer Drive: Its official, the final North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), held in Detroit, has concluded. Last year NAIAS announced a transformational move for the show – starting in 2020 it will be held in the summer, beginning on June 8th.  According to the event organizers, the re-imagined show will allow “participating brands to deliver dynamic exhibits and experiential opportunities outside of the show’s four walls for attending journalists, industry members and consumers and will provide new avenues to showcase the products and technologies on display.” The event still has plans to include The Gallery, an ultra-luxury automotive event, AutoMobili-D, an inside look at future mobility platforms, Press Preview, Industry Preview, Charity Preview and then concluding with a multi-day Public Show.

Plotting a Course to the US: Run successfully in Europe since 2016, Geo IoT World will launch an Americas edition in San Francisco next month. The first Geo IoT World US event will bring together “location, IoT and connected industries leaders with developers and start-ups to explore the latest Geo IoT use cases and business opportunities” from 26 – 28 March 2019. In addition to a two-day track on geo-aware IoT innovation in the Automotive/Smart Mobility areas, the programme will also focus on applications in key markets such as retail, industry, smart cities and more.

Speaking Opportunity: At the Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women In Computing Conference (2 – 4 October; Orlando), nearly 20,000 technologists at every career level meet to learn about emerging trends and to advance their professional lives. With meticulously planned topic tracks, top-of-their-game keynoters, and even impressive onsite childcare, this is not one to be missed. If you plan to submit a speaker, do yourself a favor and set aside at least a half hour just to review the topic track descriptions and abstract examples. As with that other well-known Orlando destination, you cannot spend too much time planning!

Lunchtime Learning: Unless you’ve made a name for yourself in entertainment, tech, or as an influential investor, tough luck getting an invitation to the exclusive Upfront Summit held each winter in LA. While you may not get the chance to rub elbows with the likes of Mark Cuban, Kerry Washington, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, you can at least attend vicariously through these fireside chat and keynote videos. Issues like the future of work, cryptocurrencies, and empathetic leadership were just a few of the topics passionately addressed in 2018.

Coming Up Next Week: Coming up next week: The next generation of SaaS entrepreneurs learn from the veterans at SaaStr Annual Conference (5-7 February; San Jose). More than 12,000 execs, founders, and VCs gather to create a three-day community centered on mentorships, networking, and “BTDT” advice on scaling faster. At Digital Entertainment World (DEW), the “power of creativity and influence” takes center stage when creators, brands, and platforms meet on 4 February. DEW will be held in Marina del Ray. “Design in the Wild” is the theme next week when interaction design practitioners from around the world gather at Interaction 19 in Seattle (3-8 February). When Amazon, HBO, Google, and Microsoft headline the event partners, you know the heavy hitters will be there. And last but not least, the Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) Annual Convention gets underway 4 February in San Antonio, showcasing recent trends and solutions in ed tech.

Conference News: What I learned this week – January 25, 2019

AI comes to DC: The organizers of AI World have announced their newest conference, AI World Government, which will run 24 – 26 June in Washington D.C. The event was developed to “educate and inform public sector agencies and its supply chain on the many benefits of deploying AI technologies.” The conference organizers hope that the programme will also shape the conversation around ethics, safety and regulatory requirements for machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, image and pattern recognition, and emerging intelligent automation solutions.  Attendance will be between 800 – 1200 and made up of federal, state, and local government technology decision makers as well as members of the growing AI ecosystem. For more information on the conference or to suggest a speaker/topic click here.

Out of this World: Last week, Amazon announced they would add another new event to their conference line up. In addition to re:Invent and re:Inforce, the company will host re:MARS (Machine learning, Automation, Robotics and Space) on 4 – 7 June 2019 in Las Vegas. Since 2016, Jeff Bezos has invited a few notable scientists, engineers and academics to a private gathering to explore the future applications of ML, automation, robotics and space, but this is the first time the company will host a public conference focused on these four areas. According to the organizers, they are not planning to open a formal call for presenters (CFP). Speakers for the event so far seem to be drawn mostly from the academic world, and include Ken Goldberg from UC Berkeley, and Kate Darling, a robot-human interaction expert from MIT. Registration won’t open until March but you can learn more on the event website now.

Speaking Opportunity: In time for the new year, the producers of Serious Play have finalized dates for both annual conferences, and 2019 brings a change in one of the venues. First, Serious Play returns to Montreal from 10-12 July and is hosted by the University of Quebec. A week later, the event heads south to the University of Central Florida in Orlando (18-20 July), where organizers promise an exceptionally strong program, given the state’s Florida advanced status in game-based learning programs. There is still time to propose speakers, but don’t wait – submissions are accepted until 15 February.

Lunchtime Learning:  Unless you were living under a rock or completely off the grid the first week of January, you probably read numerous updates coming out of Vegas from the Consumer Electronics Show (CES). While you undoubtedly heard news from the massive event, you may not have had the opportunity to watch any of the keynotes or Super Sessions – even if you were in Vegas. Check out the video archive to hear IBM president and CEO, Ginni Rometty, Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg and LG Electronics President and Chief Technology Officer I.P. Park share what they believe the future will bring.

Coming Up Next Week: Teachers, administrators, and education innovators make a date at Future Educational Technology Conference (FETC) in Orlando. In its 39th year, FETC offers the technology-driven education community tools and ideas to transform learning in and out of the classroom. ITEXPO joins co-located programs on AI, blockchain, the future of work, open source, and more when it celebrates 20 years, starting 28 January in Ft. Lauderdale. The entertainment crowd has several alternatives to Sundance this week, between the “who’s who” content creator and buyer lineup at Realscreen (28-31 January; New Orleans) and the exclusive, invite-only Upfront Summit (30-31 January, Malibu). And in Tel Aviv, CyberTech (28-30 January) anticipates a crowd of 15,000 B2B attendees looking to learn from senior security officers hailing from companies like IBM, Dell EMC, Symantec, Microsoft, and Google.

What will 2019 bring to the conference industry? 7 predictions…

What will the new year bring? No one knows for sure, but here are my predictions for how 2019 will play out in the conference industry.

1) A continued focus on AI content/conferences. Many tech luminaries are predicting that 2019 will be the year AI grows up or becomes more applicable to a broader group of people and businesses. If that is the case, there will be plenty to talk about and conference agenda will continue to include AI case studies and debates. I predict that most of the conference material will be focused on real world applications, illustrating how others are actually using this technology.

2) An increased focus on Quantum Computing sessions/conferences. Last month, U.S. Congress passed the National Quantum Initiative Act, a bill aimed at accelerating the development of quantum computing. This technology has the potential to transform many industries, but also poses security risks. Business leaders are interested in understanding its impact and how they should prepare. Expect to see more tracks and standalone conferences dedicated to Quantum Computing in 2019.

3) More companies creating their own conferences for customers and partners. There are several long-running events in this category, hosted by industry giants… IBM Think, Salesforce Dreamforce, RSA Conference. Hosting a conference is a great way to control your message, generate buzz around product launches or announcements, and combat the shrinking keynote timeslots at industry conferences (now averaging 15 – 20 minutes). 2018 saw even more company-run conferences, such as Magic Leap’s LEAP event in September. 2019 will bring much of the same.

4) Another big conference bites the dust. I expect one of the big trade associations will end a long-running conference. This typically happens when established conference groups – either media publications or an overseas conference producer swoops in and draws away attendance and sponsorship dollars. We saw this in recent years with the demise of NCTA’s Cable Show and NRF’s Shop.org. Who’s next?

5) Fewer one-on-one fireside chats at business and technology media conferences. Audiences want variety and interaction. They want insights into what executives are thinking and doing with regards to new trends and technologies. For this reason, conference managers have limited the number of single speaker sessions and have increased the number of mini-panels and expanded fireside chats – two execs and a moderator on stage. This provides varied perspectives on a topic and seems to keep the audience more engaged.

6) A resurgence of the more convenient conference locations. New Orleans and Miami had been gaining in popularity as conference locations over the past few years, but ease of travel will become even more important in 2019. New York, San Francisco, LA and maybe even Chicago will be popular as ever as busy executives try to maximize or decrease their travel time.

7) Media publications continue to increase their conference presence. Businesses tend to follow the money, and print publications are not as lucrative as they once were. There is money to be had in the conference industry, however. For this reason, we will continue to see media companies increase their conference lineup in 2019, utilizing their established brand/connections to sign up attendees and sponsors and their market knowledge to build relevant and timely agenda.

Conference News: What I learned this week – January 11, 2019

IoT is A-OK: Heading into its fourth year, the IoT Tech Expo brand is gearing up for a sustained increase in attendance at its 2019 events (London, Amsterdam, Silicon Valley) by moving to larger venues – like the Olympia Grand in London, and the Amsterdam show moving to a larger hall within the RAI. They also added a new conference stream addressing Enterprise IoT and plan to add 1:1 meetings, in response to feedback from event partners. No changes to the co-located programs, however – Blockchain, Cybersecurity & Cloud, and AI & Big Data will still be top of mind in 2019.

What’s In a Name? In 2019 Mobile World Congress Americas is changing its name. The event will henceforth be known as MWC Los Angeles. With this “new name for a new era of intelligent connectivity,” MWC LA will continue to offer influencers and executives in the broader mobile industry a robust conference program and expo hall with access to over a thousand companies showcasing their latest innovations.

Leaving the DEN: Last year, The Telegraph debuted Digital Enterprise Networks, or D.E.N. Live, for short. This gathering included traditional conference content and free seminar programmes as well as several immersive experiences. While it was well received, the organization has decided to move in a different direction with its events. In 2019, The Telegraph is launching a full series of tech events, continuing their focus on the digital enterprise. One of the first of this series began last month with Smart Mobility Summit. The series will consider a range of industries – including cybersecurity, business transformation & voice/customer service– impacted by technology next year.

Speaking Opportunity: The 16th annual Games for Change Festival will take place June 17 – 19, 2019. Exploring most exciting new games, ideas, partnerships and business models for digital games that drive positive social impact and inspire learning and engagement, the festival will include four main tracks of programming. These include the Games for Learning Summit; Health & Wellness; Civics & Social Impact; and XR for Change Summit. If you have a relevant idea for a talks, panel, workshop or demo, submit via their online form by 21 January.

Lunchtime Learning:  IGNITION is Business Insider’s flagship conference and was held last month from 3 – 4 December in New York. The agenda discussed topics such as the future of TV, print, audio, journalism, and marketing. Attendees considered how to survive the era of “peak content,” audience development in a platform world, and building trust when media and social media platforms have never been more under fire. The sessions, featuring the biggest names in business, tech, and media, are now available online. Hear from celebrity entrepreneurs such as Mark Cuban and Danica Patrick, as well as the CEOs of Match Group, the New York Stem Cell Foundation and Zipline.

Coming Up Next Week: The retail world descends upon New York when NRF2019 – “Retail’s Big Show” – gets underway 13 January. Considered the industry’s largest global event, NRF pairs a huge exhibit floor with networking and content, including three special sessions presented this year in partnership with Fast Company. Over in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show, AutomobiliD (14-17 January) offers show attendees content via keynotes and panels designed to “spark conversations and connect professionals who do business in the new mobility industry.” Meanwhile in Miami, professionals in industrial control system security gather at S4 for new ideas and practical, implementable tools in ICS security and IoT. And in Zurich on 17 January, the World Web Forum will be held for more than 2,000 attendees keen to learn about successful implementations of digital strategies, with the ultimate goal of bringing “Silicon Valley to Switzerland.”

Conference News: What I learned this week – January 4, 2019

What’s NXT: In 2019 the National Retail Federation will launch a new event and say goodbye to another. NRF NXT will debut in July in Las Vegas, aiming for an audience of 350. According to the organizers, NXT will offer “an intimate, up-close look at the latest trends in data, analytics and emerging technology, marrying powerful thinking with real-world case studies.” The program will be made up of member-curated content, small-group sessions and peer-to-peer networking. The National Retail Federation also noted that Shop.org, which was last held in September, will not return to its event lineup this year.

Back to the Future: The creator and producer of the Hispanicize event and the Mixed Reality Marketing Summit will be developing a new event for 2019: NostalgiaCon. The inaugural gathering will focus on the 1980’s and will take place from 4 – 6 July at the Anaheim Convention Center. According to the official press release, “the pop Americana convention will feature three full, high energy days and nights of concerts with top music acts, major celebrity panels, meet and greets showcasing music artists from the 80s and today, sports legends and pop culture icons, cosplay, retro merch drops, video arcade games and break dance competitions.” And yes, even Max Headroom will make an appearance!

Speaking Opportunity: CES Asia™ 2019 has opened its call for speakers! The conference, which will again take place in Shanghai, China, from 11 – 13 June, is seeking topic/speaker suggestions that fall within the following themes: 5G, Mobile and Connectivity AI (Artificial Intelligence); Blockchain; Digital Health and Wearables; Entertainment, Sports and Content; FinTech, Retail and eCommerce; IoT (Internet of Things); Lifestyle and Smart Home; Robotics/Drones; Smart Cities; Startup and Investment; Tourism and Hospitality; Transportation Technology (vehicle technology, autonomous vehicle, smart transportation); VR&AR. If you have a relevant idea, complete the online speaker submission form by 5 February.

Lunchtime Learning: Previously known as Washington Ideas Festival, The Atlantic Festival takes over downtown Washington D.C. every fall with newsmaker interviews and conversations, film screenings, forums, book talks, and social events. The heart of the festival is the Ideas stage, hosting luminaries from the public and private sector. If you were not able to attend, or simply want to relive the experience, you can now watch Ideas stage speakers from 2018 online, including such as Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Chairman and CEO, AT&T Randall Stephenson, President and CEO of Starbucks Kevin Johnson, and the Founder of Black Girls Code, Kimberly Bryant.

Coming Up Next Week: All eyes are on Vegas, as CES (Consumer Electronics Show) takes over Sin City. Considered the global stage for consumer tech innovation, this first major conference of 2019 attracts more than 180,000 individuals from over 150 countries, including more than 6,500 members of the world’s media and over 65,000 senior-level executives. In addition to the main CES program covering topics from AI to eSports to smart cities, attendees span out to numerous co-located and ancillary events across the city. Among those are Digital Hollywood, known for its “who’s-who” in media and entertainment panels; CONNECTIONS Summit, focused on IoT and the smart home; Kids@Play and Family Tech, which explores STEAM learning and play; CES Government; and the CME accredited Disruptive Innovations in Healthcare.