Thursday, July 21, 2011
Many of the conferences and seminars I attend are full of online educators all sporting the latest in laptop and mobile technology. Many want to tweet, blog and mail their impressions of the conference or look up the links that are suggested in the sessions. However there's often frustration in the ranks as we realize that the conference venue has no or inadequate wifi, a severe shortage of power sockets or poor mobile coverage. Many university lecture halls have a handful power sockets up front for the lecturer but nowhere else and getting a seat near one of these oases becomes hard currency.
This year I've sampled all variants but it seems that many venues are not keeping up with the explosive development of social media. Wifi capacity that was fine a year ago for checking web pages and mail is now hopelessly inadequate when everyone is filming, sending photos and live streaming. In addition we're now writing our notes on cloud services like Google Docs, preparing slideshows on SlideShare or Prezi and all of that needs net access. As we migrate towards cloud computing, demands on conference venues' wifi will accelerate and those who are not prepared will suffer. There's no point at looking at last year's stats when planning this year's conference.
Imagine when every delegate comes with a cloud-based laptop like the Google Chromebook or with iPads and other tablets. Plan capacity on those lines now and you will be an attractive venue next year.