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Staying Connected to 5 Conferences While Packing Boxes

I am in full blown moving mode. We are moving from Switzerland to the United States. As I write this, I am sitting on the floor of my empty apartment with only the wifi access remaining. Our furniture is loaded into a container that is starting a six week voyage to the US.

Moving the Smith's to the US

What is really strange is that I still feel connected to five different conferences that are happening around me in other parts of the world:

> MeetDifferent, Cancun: This event just finished and had a virtual access pass. On Sunday, I played Midori Connolly’s The Hybrid Meeting Dissected in the background while I was making some final arrangements before the movers arrived on Monday morning. Midori and Glenn Thayer did an excellent job of engaging the virtual audience in the presentations and discussion. If you are an MPI member you should watch the presentation and pay close attention to Glenn and how he bridges the virtual and face-to-face audience. Also, I liked the Meet Different iphone application. This free application did a nice job of giving me information on the schedule, speakers, twitter stream, etc. for the conferences.

> Confex, London: Confex is the most important show for the UK meetings and events industry.  Some big news from this event was the launch of the IML Connector. This new blackberry-like-device transforms into a voting keypad, “private” backchannel, simultaneous translation device, audio player and a microphone during events. I think the software behind the device is the most interesting. It seems simple enough that a junior A/V tech,  IT staff member or even a speaker could operate the system. If that is true, this solution could open doors for using interactive technology at many smaller corporate events.

> Virtual Edge 2010, California: This virtual conference had about 200 people onsite and many in the virtual audience. The conference allowed attendees to try 5 different virtual events platforms. I thought this was a great way to give attendees get an apples-to-apples comparison of the different platforms. Sadly, I was only connected to the conference through the twitter backchannel (hashtag: #ve10) on my iphone. I guess you would call it being in the virtual third world. But – I learned alot even from this format. I will be sharing insights from the virtual third world in an upcoming post.

> LikeMinds, Exter UK: This social media conference (starting on Friday) is supposed to be one of the first events where Social Media experts actually bring the many-to-many feature of Social Media into Face-to-Face events. I am eager to see how they do it. If you want to follow the event, you can watch the livestream on the Twitterface. Twitterface is a web based solution that allows you to include twitter streams and webcasting into the same user interface. It looks like a cool way to engage virtual attendees.

> MPI European Meetings & Events Conference, Spain: This conference starts on Sunday and I will be there speaking about event technology at two sessions. One session is on Virtual Events 101 and the other is called building a Digital Gameplan for Events. You can follow the backchannel for this event at #EMEC10. I will try to recruit some MPI Europe members to join me on the backchannel. Here is a video about my two sessions:


Bottom Line

Even though, I have been packing boxes and going through the moving process – I have found it remarkably easy to stay connected with several different events this week. Consider “opening a window” into your next event, so remote or virtual attendees can participate in one way or another. Who knows – maybe they will attend in person the following year.

So, what do you do while packing boxes?

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is the Managing Director of Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC. He wakes up every morning to save the world from stuffing attendees in chairs for hours on end at events. Oh, and he has small children who usually want some breakfast.