Right now the build-up to NextGen 13 is no different as the pace and pressure of programming for the conference builds.
The pressure may be even greater – not least because the 2013 themes are different in many ways. One of the downsides for a conference series that’s enjoyed a long run (it’s the 6th year for this two-day event) is that many of the players must get up to speed with the changing agenda. The annual conference reflects the topics of its time – not the battles of the past.
It is much easier for the speakers. Recruiting them involves ensuring that they are relevant and have something new to contribute. Exhibitors, all no doubt leading busy lives focused on their own rationales, only wake up to new themes at the eleventh hour. Maybe this annual event provides a time for reflection – a chance to check alignments with market realities? And delegates? The regular attendees will once again be shocked that the agenda has shifted and newcomers will be intrigued to find they are not alone in their recent penny-dropping digital discoveries.
Amid the hectic noise of last-minute programme adjustments and choreography there’s one small corner where silence has momentarily settled. The Digital Challenge jury is out and until 14th October fingers may be crossed but no one will tempt fate by speculating on winners. Even here, in the Digital Challenge awards, the shifting agenda is apparent. Three new trophies signal the importance of Skills, Innovation and Open Data – key topics that rise above the basic broadband battles.
The 2013 NextGen focus is not, of course, a secret. Last December’s paper on ‘Economic Revitalisation’ set the scene. The conference theme, ‘Changing Agendas: Shifting Broadband Futures’ was proclaimed earlier in the year along with an expansion of five topics that have since informed the final schedule. And locating the event at Wembley itself carries a massive message about regeneration. Delegates have options to visit the Stadium, the Arena backstage, local fibred premises and even Brent Council’s new Civic Offices to understand the realities of fully fibred networks and designs for sustainability.
Pulling it all together may be hectic. Fitting all shades of opinion (and a fair few technologies) onto the platform and into the exhibition will demand another two weeks of patient attention to detail. And the winners will be found in all those who change their agendas to meet the shifting demands of the UK’s digital economy.
NextGen 13, October 14th & 15th, at the Wembley Hilton, London, is the UK’s leading event for Next Generation broadband activity
This annual landmark event will build on Digital Scotland 2013 and the Intelligent Cities conference (Leeds) – events also managed by NG Events Ltd.
NextGen 13 provides the focus to take forward the UK’s digital access and application requirements debate. An exhibition and trade show will run alongside the conference.