At CommsCo, we love keeping our ear to the ground for the very latest developments in the wider tech industry. Some of the best opportunities for discovering breaking technological innovations and upcoming schools of thought are to be found at industry events. Expos, drives, and conferences put market leaders on show, give respected figures in the industry a keynote opportunity, as well as providing a voice for challenger brands and those breaking into their sector.
CommsCo have been on the frontline over recent weeks, sending team members to three events across the capital (alright, the ExCel Arena). Here are a few key takeaways our team took from each:
Unified Communications Expo, London.
Edward Clark â€“ Account Executive
The Unified Communications Expo (17thâ€“18th May) opened my eyes to the way businesses are going to communicate in ten yearsâ€™ time. Come 2025, the majority of office workers will never have experienced old tech (fax machines, telephone handsets, non-smart devices, paper copies); video calling will be the norm, VR meetings the goal, and paper as obsolete as the floppy disk.
One of the panel discussions at the Expo focused on the favoured methods of communication across age ranges. As Iâ€™d expected, those over 45 werenâ€™t averse to actually speaking on the phone or commiting to email chains, whilst the teenagers on the panel almost exclusively used Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and WhatsApp. For businesses moving forward, I suppose this means striking the balance between reliability and accessibility will be critical for their unified communications plan.
Those who are entering into the workforce, or who will be doing so by 2020, really do see presenteeism as outdated. Being able to work from anywhere thanks to connected devices and the IoT means that bosses are going to have to be prepared to have half-empty offices most days whilst people factor in working hours at a time to suit them. This generation expect a degree of freedom in this regard not offered to previous generations of employees, but the benefit is a more efficient and interconnected workforce, able to liaise on work uninhibited by time and location, and without being shackled to a desk.
Unified communication is becoming a hot button issue fast; the expo was at capacity throughout my day there, and it was standing room only at several of the keynotes. Powerful communications are undoubtedly going to give businesses competitive advantage over the next decade â€“ we all better be preparedâ€¦
Salesforce World Tour, London
Leah Jones, Senior Account Executive
As ever, Salesforce World Tour at the ExCel in London did not disappoint. Taking place on Thursday 18th May, Salesforce had impressive keynote speakers, including Nina Bhatia, Managing Director of Centrica Connected Home, and Oliver Lee OBE, Chief Executive at The Challenge. With the Salesforce camper theme in full swing, the exhibitor platform was full of demos and breakout sessions, ranging from â€™10 tips for marketing trailblazersâ€™ to â€˜Cloud ERP for the New Services Economyâ€™.
The eventâ€™s keynote, led by Salesforce CMO Simon Mulcahy, explored how businesses can become a trailblazer in both their individual businesses and the industry as a whole. Simon emphasised the importance of the customer in the â€˜new worldâ€™ of businessâ€”and frequently thanked Salesforceâ€™s huge customer baseâ€”before inviting Nina and Oliver to the stage to present their experiences with Salesforce.
Salesforce World Tour was a huge success, and was a great insight into Salesforceâ€™s continued growth and expansion within the Salesforce ecosystem.
Strata Data Conference, London
Helen Frear, Senior Account Executive
The Strata Data Conference is a Mecca for all things data. With a schedule featuring training, tutorials, keynotes and sessions, the London conference packed in a heck of a lot over the course of its four day duration (22-25th May).
While itâ€™s all very well harping on about Hadoop, Hive and Spark, what I was really interested in was finding out how big data can deliver measurable value to customers, which is probably why my favourite session was one on empowering data analytics. The session centred around how organisations can push data analytics into production in order to drive business value, supported by a couple of use-cases.
Big data specialists can often get carried away with building analytical solutions as prototypes, but not pushing them into production. Often, when we talk about data science or big data analytics solutions, we talk about the numbers; the algorithms, the mathematics and the statistics behind it. More often than not, a very vital piece of the conversation is missing â€“ how these solutions add value for customers.
While it was a technical talk with a very specialist focus â€“ the session was a reminder that technology ultimately centres on delivering a valuable solution for customers. As a PR agency, itâ€™s our job to work as an extension of our clientsâ€™ team and deliver a personable edge to what is often very technical content.
You donâ€™t lose anything by attending events, and open yourself up as an agency to some potentially fantastic gains. Whether itâ€™s making contact with that key journalist, gaining fresh understanding of a topic which streamlines client meetings, or swapping business cards over coffee with a stallholder who goes on to become a long-standing contract, never underestimate the benefits of suiting up for a little networking.