Last week I spent a couple of days at the World Computer Congress in Brisbane, Australia.
I only spent two days at the congress because I was part of the Young IT (YIT) conference. YIT is The Australian Computer Society (ACS) arm for young people. Being my first conference I figured the YIT shortened version would be a good introduction.
The congress was at the Brisbane Convention Centre and was somewhat overwhelming. There where 9 streams to choose from, including the Young IT stream that included Industry and Academic presentations on vast array of topics. With so much going on at once it was difficult to choose the best talks to view.
To begin with I stuck the the YIT stream that turned out to be more of an advertorial for the YIT sponsors and nothing really ground breaking. I was a little bit disappoint by this so I took the initiative to get out into the real congress and check out some Business and Academic presentations by international and local delegates.
“The Cloud” was definitely the buzz word of the conference and I found that anyone who talked about it defined their own way and very loosely at that. As I have already mentioned I was only at the conference for two days so I only saw three of the plenary keynote speakers.
Greame Wood’s presentation titled “The Simple Art of Entrepreneurship in the Age of Rampant Technology: How the Fundamentals Never Change” was an interesting look at entrepreneurship. One of the main points of the talk that I got out if his presentation is that governments and corporations should be doing more of foster innovation and promote new ideas. One of his suggestions was something along the lines of tax breaks companies that invest capital in new ventures and innovative ideas. This is an idea that could well work if managed correctly and not just handed out to companies who sponsor any bloke with a random idea, that unfortunately could become the case.
Alan Noble’s presentation titled “Innovation in the cloud” was a talk of where he sees IT is heading and a big sales pitch for Googles definition of cloud computing (n):
“hosted applications and platforms,
built on shared infrastructure,
delivered via a web browser ”
I really enjoyed the mind boggling information in his presentation. To summarise, the presentation had a lot statistical information that outlined that consumers, not businesses, are driving technology and the fact that more and more people will be accessing the web from mobile devices. In a bold statement Alan claims that this will become the dominant access mode to the Internet or “The Cloud”.
It is well worth going through his presentation slides that can be viewed here – https://bit.ly/bgHy3e
And finally, Nicholas Carr’s presentation titled “Bringing the Cloud Down to Earth” was another sales pitch for “The Cloud”. Carr boldly presented that “The Cloud” is analogous to the early 1900′s shift from in house production of electricity to a utility model. Where more and more businesses are going to remove control of their IT needs and shift it to a utility provider in the cloud. He went on to outline it as a disruptive technology that will change the face of Information Technology. It was a very convincing argument but he did not really define “The Cloud” or what parts of IT companies are going to move to it.
The keynote presentations made it easy because you only had one choice! The rest of the conference, on the other hand, proved difficult to choose which of the many interesting presentations to attend. I visited many from Artificial Intelligence, to Politics and Learning, to the Future of WiFi covering both the Industry and Academic side of the conference. Some of the presentations where brilliant, some ok and some downright painful.
I am not going to go through them all however I will summarise two that really stood out.
Steve Hargadon presentation titled “School 2.0: Where We’re Headed, Why, and What We Can Do About It” was an interesting look at how our learning habits are changing with the evolution of the Internet and the abundance of information available. He argued that although consumers are embracing this change, schools are not and are still holding on to a very structured method of teaching.
Guy Pujolle presentation titled “WiFi NG versus 4G in 2015” was a very informative talk on what we can expect from wireless networks in the next couple of years. He went through some of the technologies that are being developed that will enable wireless data rats of 6 gigabits per second! This will be achieved via methods including virtual software antennas, multiple simultaneous connections and the use of unused channels the TV spectrum.
Well that was a quick summary of my two days at the World Computer Congress.