The 2nd annual Emerging Communications Conference (eComm) that concluded 3 days of panels and discussions this week at the San Francisco Airport Marriott, heralds a new form of industry gathering that may define the conditions for innovation and progress in areas well beyond communications in the coming years.
Clearly distinct from other sprawling communication technology gatherings such as Macworld, ITEXPO, the now-defunct VON, and behemoth trade shows along the lines of CES or ceBIT, eComm offered an intimate, accessible venue that presented itself as something more along the lines of a Salon. Creative, like-minded people and companies from a broad spectrum of the communication universe came together for three days to share experience and explore ideas for pushing forward the frontiers of standards, technologies and possibilities in a way few thought possible prior to the event.
“The timing for this conference is really good,” said Rod Ullens, CEO of Voxbone. “Because of the economic crisis, everything will accelerate and reshape much more than many expected and this conference will be there for the whole transition time until we get to something very different. This conference will be very relevant in the coming years.”
“It’s a good mix of people, very different, people you don’t always find in conferences are here, from software, different people from Skype to Google, from hardware companies to mobile companies, so many different areas,” marveled first-time attendee Prem Viswanathan, a regional sales manager from softswitch developer MetaSwitch. “And it’s small enough so that it’s easy to just reach across the aisle and have a conversation with someone you might not have thought to reach out to in the normal course of things.”
Indeed, throughout the three days, clusters of people could be seen gathered in booths or at tables in the open-aired lobby bar, or around settees and banquettes off to the side of the main conference rooms, whether it was Mark Dillon, CTO of SimulScribe and Jared Goralnick, founder of AwayFind hammering away at the “problems” of email and voicemail, or Alec Saunders, founder and CEO of Iotum and David Beckemeyer, Founder and CEO of Televolution sharing their thoughts on the disruptive, real-time communication influence of social media platforms.
Conference organizer Lee Dryburgh was roundly hailed for his efforts as the driving force behind a conference that is, as Iotum’s Saunders put it, “the place where people who are designing, creating and building the future of the industry gather.”
Andy Abramson, the uber PR advisor to the communications industry, who lent Dryburgh the muscle and influence of his firm Comunicano to help make the event a success, said, “Lee’s done a great job. He’s not going to get rich on this, he’s probably just going to break even this year, but eComm … is what is next in telecom, mobile and wireless.”