Thursday, July 05, 2007

iX Conference Recap

The recent iX Conference was excellent for many reasons, but especially because it was the most engaging IT conference ever held in Singapore. Here are a few of the high points:

  • The Speak Out oratory competition again floated some terrific talents lurking in the halls of academia. The most distinctive and outstanding was Isabella Chen, who described her 'awakening' to iX Conference and the social media community in Singapore in her brilliant post 'Geek Out Baby'. This post illustrates why we do Speak Out: (1) to bridge the often separate communities of student and working adults interested in IT, and (2) to trainspot talents like Isabella who are not afraid to speak out.

  • The international speakers took a big 'bite of the apple' and were all very interested in Singapore. Noteworthy of this was Douglas Merrill's participation in an impromptu social media cocktail organised by TDM. Douglas said some interesting things over a glass of wine, including his insights on why the Google IPO was different, and why other companies haven't followed the model of share democratisation that Google championed. Mike Downey held a meetup with the Singapore Flash Users Group. Lynda Brown spent weeks here after the conference, and was actively engaged in seeking local partnerships for her association of Canadian digital media companies. But the most engaged by far was social media guru Jeremiah Owyang. He has blogged extensively about his experiences in Singapore, and really put our TDM partners on the world map.

  • The iN2015 Business Forum, despite all the challenges, was a lively and well attended event. IDA Chief Chan Yeng Kit didn't announce anything new, but Danish guest speaker Anders Henton presented a compelling view of the European experience in public-private partnership. The panel discussion which followed raised many issues, including lack of a common bill payment system as part of our NII. Believe it or not, in many EU countries you can receive and pay your bills online at a single site. In the US, this is done through banks and third-party portals like Yodlee. What we need in Singapore is like Tradenet for consumers.

  • The Second Life Experience event was highly interactive, driven by the kiosks and online site created by Figment, a business unit of branding company ICG. Jean Miller, community director of Second Life, was one of the facilitators. The kiosks were strategically placed in the conference hall to engage delegates during tea and lunch breaks.

  • The Academic Forum, co-organised with SMU and TDM, was highly engaging for students and young entrepreneurs. It was widely blogged and there are lots of photos on Flickr. Lynda Brown, Louis Broome, Mike Downey and Jeremiah Owyang all showed innovative ways to use digital media, but Mike's presentation of the Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR, formerly Apollo) was certainly the most memorable.

  • The gala dinner party (aka our Leadership Forum) was a full-house event that included production of a webcast recording. The event was awesome and is described more fully in my earlier blog post.

  • The second day consisted of our Congress Plenary and Breakouts. The Congress presentations were formidable. Lynda Brown's curtain raiser "Is Your Enterprise Ready for Rich Media Delivery" set the stage. Mike Downey followed with his tour-de-force demo of AIR and the coming Adobe Media Player. Douglas Merrill described in elegant fashion a 'sea change' towards use of software as a service in enterprise applications, and how this would parallel the rising adoption of enterprise digital media (and he was the best dresser by far). Cory Ondrejka described why businesses should embrace Second Life. Louis Broome described how Microsoft handles enterprise-wide webcasts. And Jeremiah Owyang inspired everyone with his vision of social media in the enterprise. A transcript of sorts was blogged live, but for the folks in the room, they were able to interact continuously with the speakers and each other using the Campfire Chat. This chat feature was terrifically engaging, and offered a new perspective on how conferences should be facilitated.

  • There were breakouts for every delegate, and all were well-attended. The breakouts were organised by SiTF Chapters, and thus mirror their own interests: digital media, e-Government, security, SOA, wireless, and e-Learning. According to attendees, these breakouts lived up to the promise.

  • After the conference, TDM and Jeremiah Owyang organised a Chillout 2.0 event at local microbrewery Paulaner Brauhaus. This was a great opportunity to connect with all the live bloggers and to learn more about Kevin Lim's LIVE video blogging.

Oh, yeah, and a big thrill for me was having my article on enterprise digital media appear in the Business Times on 19 June.

No doubt there are things we could improve, including offering more egalitarian pricing. I would suggest we lower the conference prices as follows:

  • Student Price: $15 (similar to TDM's Nexus price, which drew 700 people)
  • Partner Price: $150 (20% discount from regular price, for association members)
  • Regular Price: $188 (much cheaper than current iX Conference price)
  • VIP Price: $388 (like current iX Conference price, but entitles guest to special meals, backstage access to speakers, preferred seating, LAN points, etc)

But that will have to wait for next year.


Anonymous said...

Great summary, thanks for this!

Peter said...

Thank you Bill for providing for the webcasting for the night events :)