So last year I went to the Internet World conference at Earls Court unsure what I would find. I came out having visited many useful speeches from knowledgeable people about the Internet.
These conferences tend to have themes, back in my university days I went to a video forum with Paddy two years in a row. The first year was on online and DVD and the year after was dominated by HD kit. Internet World is no different. Last year’s show seemed dominated by Mobile marketing, the iphone was beginning its major ascendency and it dominated the booths. This year the theme was social media. As this is a part of my companies current IT plan it especially interested me. The problem this year was that the seminars were attended seemingly by a lot more people than last year. This year there were queues the whole way round some of the theatres and I had to give up on some of the seminars I intended to go to. This lead to a nice time sat outside in the sun that was not overly productive. That said I still managed to get into 5 seminars and learned a good amount in all of them.
This year though there were some other features that caught my eye. First of all I found a couple of versions of the Microsoft Surface technology. It was not the best technology but the company demoing it said they’d had to turn down the sensitivity for the show (lighting issues). Apparently they have rolled out a couple in airports. Because of the lack of sensitivity I was not overly impressed but I can see potential. That said I don’t really want to look down and interact with a table.
Next I played with a touchscreen technology that everyone has heard of but few in this country have played with… I refer of course to the Apple Ipad. After a couple of minutes playing with one I thought that having touched one I could see the potential in tablets but I don’t think Apple are on to the best idea. I like the idea of it not running a full desktop style operating system but I think the Iphone interface is a little stretched. I await tablets using Android as this can more easily be tweaked. The other downers for the ipad are that it is really heavy. For something you are meant to use on the sofa it is surprisingly uncomfortable after a couple of minutes. The other downer is that the brightness and contrast do not encourage its ebook reader functionality. I am now willing to give a tablet the benefit of the doubt but do not think it will be the ipad that wins people over even if it is the thing that grabs all the headlines.
Finally I got around to trying an F1 simulator for the first time. Previously I have wimped out when I have seen these fake F1 chassis sporting RFactor and ‘realistic’ handling. I took my shoes off and got into the car, my word is an F1 car not properly configured to its driver uncomfortable. It is a seating position you will not find anywhere else and in the simulator the seat was digging into my back… which I am sure would not be the case in reality. Anyway onto the driving. The track was Silverstone so I knew where I was going (that said the guy felt the need to tell me every turn). I managed to spin on lap 1 by touching the kerb a little hard at one point but from then on I was fine. I managed to set the second fastest lap at that point of a 1:33.200 but by the end of the day I was 6th out of however many people had a go over the day (I would imagine at least 25) so am relatively pleased.
So overall a good day, I learnt a good deal about how we should deal with our social media strategy at work and I got to play with some good toys as well. I look forward to going back next year.