On Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the number one IT Enterprise focused exhibition in the UK, the IPEXPO!
Held in the Earl’s Court 2 Exhibition Centre in central London, this two day event is mainly intended for upper management of IT-focused businesses and IT professionals etc.
I don’t have a huge amount of experience in this area yet, but couldn’t turn down the offer of being invited down by TalkTalk to blog about the show.
Because of the focus of the event, a lot of what was on offer on the actual show floor wasn’t applicable to me – many many exhibitors attend the event to show their latest wares in the IT sector, from machine virtualisation to data security and everything in between.
Because of my position as a mere student and not a manager/executive of a business (unlike the majority of fellow showgoers, despite the expo being open to all), much of this passed right over my head and I could take no more than a relatively uninformed interest in their products and services most of the time!
My main focus of the day thus became attending the many seminars and talks scheduled throughout the day in each of the ‘Expo Themes’ theatres.
The overwhelming number of talks on offer during the day, every half hour or so, meant I needed to plan which to attend the night before! Thankfully, the Expo has its own app which enabled you to create a personalised schedule of seminars and their respective theatres, which I found very helpful!
Many of the talks I found to be rather thinly veiled advertising for the company represented by the speaker, some more veiled than others! This isn’t inherently bad in itself as most of the talks were still very interesting, but I would perhaps like to see more independent seminars put on, on a broader range of subjects.
My first stop before any seminars however was to meet with the people from TalkTalk Business at their stand, since they enabled me to attend the event in the first place.
As it turned out, I ended up talking with Jim Burns, Principal Marketing Comms Manager for TalkTalk Business, over the phone as he was unfortunately not at the event on Thursday.
Jim and I had a long conversation in which he described TalkTalk Business’ main focus and offering at the Expo, chiefly focused around their drive for a full small-business tailored solution, including the imminent (within a couple of quarters) launch of a revised all-in-one offering including line rental, phone, broadband and mobile.
According to their research, the most important factors in this area for small businesses are getting fully unlimited broadband, having the system ‘just work’, and when it doesn’t, to have clear information given and swift action taken – Jim believes TalkTalk Business can offer this.
In the domestic sector, they now have a £2.50 unlimited broadband package available (plus line rental apparently), and will be relaunching their small business broadband offering at a similar price point in the middle of next month.
In terms of large business, tailored solutions are available with customised plans, so from central company HQ to small branches, different ‘pipes’ can be tailored to the amount of data needed.
The most interesting seminar I attended was entitled ‘How Snowden changed the reality of cyber security’.
The speaker addressed ten main ways that the Edward Snowden case has affected the digital world and how the world interacts online, which I’ve briefly summed up;
1: Trust – People are less trusting of their governments and of interaction online in general.
2: Privacy/Security balance – People are questioning where the balance lies between security and their personal privacy, especially after the Snowden revelations (PRISM etc).
3: Realisation of Realities of the digital age – People are starting to realise more the ways in which we are very exposed online, and are beginning to address it.
4: Acceleration of the global cyber arms-race – The cyber arms-race is gaining momentum even more now, with countries like the USA more exposed as some of their offensive cyber capability has been revealed.
5: Cyber security is integral to world politics – Cybersec and hacking now play a large role in discussions between nations, especially most recently the USA and China.
6: Weakened security situation in Western countries – Snowden’s leaks have damaged the security of nations like the USA as extremist groups are now able to assess some of the capability of their cyber-security.
7: Pressure to create international rules and norms – World nations are increasingly pushed to establish rules and norms for use in the digital world.
8: Security and intelligence agencies are changing their procedures – One example is that the Kremlin is apparently now not creating digital copies of the most highly classified data, instead using typewriters and creating only paper copies.
9: People are more suspicious of activity in the digital world – People are becoming more aware of the dangers online, including data theft, identity fraud and the like.
10: Snowden’s effects will be adverse to his intentions – Unfortunately, the leaking of so much material, while done out of goodness and in favour of openness and transparency, will only serve to cause governments and agencies to become even more secretive with their data.
This was an intriguing talk, and my favourite of the ones I saw!
Overall I enjoyed the expo greatly, and want to thank TalkTalk for enabling me to go!
I’m looking forward to next year’s show!