As a part of my job as a journalist covering the commercial technology industry for technology managers such as yourselves, I get to attend a fair number of end user events. They’re put on by manufacturers, industry organizations, and technology installers alike.
I’m not talking about the InfoComms and CorpComms of the world – those provide a ton of value in different ways. I’m talking about the one or two day local events. I’m talking about the NEC Partner Showcase events, the Almo Pro/AV e4 AV Tours, Dell and IPSoft dinner parties, and AVI-SPL TechXchange. There are also event in between like InfoComm Connections and the IoT Security Summit.
These are the events that are relatively low-cost and give you better information on technology that you might want to implement into your organization. You don’t need to travel too far, your company won’t need to rent a hotel room for you, you might not even need to pay for a meal – the cost barrier is far lower than some of the larger tradeshows that occur once each year.
At these events you are going to be pitched. Vendor event especially – they’re not spending to put the event on for educational purposes alone. However, these events often include sessions and keynotes from industry experts that speak about the technology topic as a whole. At the IPSoft dinner, for example, I not only learned about IPSoft’s Amelia AI, I learned about how a global company worked artificial intelligence into its IT stack. With Dell I learned how data analytics can help provide greater yield on the manufacturing floor.
The technology installer events can be great resources as well. These events typically highlight a number of vendor technologies as they don’t simply install one product from one vendor. You’ll likely get a pitch from a number of vendors throughout the day, while also learning about a number of technology topics. The NEC Partner Showcase and Almo E4 AV tour even have small trade show floors with a number of vendor booths.
As a technology manager you want to be proactive. You want to learn about new technology that can help your business so that you can help your business. Instead of waiting for a mandate from a stakeholder, you can bring an opportunity to the stakeholder. Suddenly you’re in charge of implementation – you’re managing the project, hiring installers, and receiving praise with the ROI from the technology is seen.
I highly recommend doing research in your area and attending as many of these shows as you can. As a journalist I have found them educational and informative – and even the product pitches are (mostly) worthwhile. I can’t begin to imagine how helpful all this information would be to technology managers.
Lucky for you, we write about these events on TD all the time. So if you can’t attend, check here and you’ll get the information anyway. I suggest you do both!