Archive | September, 2013

Waiting at Wembley for Winners

30 Sep

wembley-imgIt’s always a tense time two weeks before any big conference event.

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.

Registration for Delegates


And finally – well almost finally – well, just another 38 days to go

5 Sep

Here in the early morning, the sun only just above the horizon, this extraordinary feeling of calm will surely not last – so there’s every reason to gently coax continuing slumber like a dream that you’d rather not let go.  Reality will make itself felt soon enough.

One by one the clamour of action points, promises, the sins of omission, the list of ‘things to do today’, will break through but right now there is space and time to think; to reflect that it’s nearly a month since that last blog note which, in retrospect, signaled the start of frenzied activity.

There are, no doubt, some well-ordered folks whose passage through life proceeds at a carefully moderated pace with commas in all the right places, no excessive use of capital letters or exclamations and with upright thinking always on an even keel.  They must be very boring.  Most of us are blown about by the winds – our progress being the aggregate of umpteen diversions, a touching faith in our navigation, a strong hand on the helm and another glass of red wine.

This current calm descended yesterday mid-day and marked the end of an intense month – perversely that month when so many folk push off for a rest.

It was the month when the short-listed contenders for this year’s Digital Challenge are converted into a complete set of final submissions to the judging panel.  It was the month to confirm the availability and willingness of the judges.  A month to redesign the scoring methodology and contemplate trophy designs.  It was a month of double-checking that the ideas flowing from the contenders would be fully reflected in the emergent agenda for NextGen 13 in October.  And yet this was only a small part of the annual orchestration of speakers, exhibitors, venues, sponsors and the briefs for session leaders – a massive workload (and risk) that falls on the remarkably resilient shoulders of colleagues Marit and Andrew.

But here, just for this short moment, it is calm.  The Digital Challenge entries are in the hands of the judging panel for the next three weeks.  Weather forecasters predict that this summer sun will end abruptly tomorrow with a 10-degree drop and the onset of autumnal rains.   And with the cold showers of tomorrow’s reality we must shake off this dull sloth and move on.

For those of you who’ve been away on holiday – welcome back.  The countdown to NextGen 13 has begun.  This year’s event will be at Wembley and while we are preparing the pitch, prizes and programme it will be the mix of delegates, speakers, exhibitors and sponsors who will come together to make a great event, Changing Agendas: shifting broadband futures’.

YEEKS – only 38 days?!