By now you are aware of the UFI Open Seminar and Expo Summit inCape Town,Africa, March 15 – 17, 2012.
One of the keynote speakers will be Thorsten Kolbinger, Managing Director, EMEA at Ungerboeck Software International. His topic, which has been the basis for many of our conversations on UFILive.org, is one I am sure many of us will find compelling. It’s titled, “How to Use Technology to Achieve Business Goals,”
To give you a bit of a preview I asked him one question about his take on technology and exhibitions.
Barry: What are the key concerns the industry faces with new technologies?
Thorsten: The issue of timing is very tightly connected to one of the key concerns the industry faces with new technology. The challenge is to find the right moment to invest in new technology in the life cycle of a product. History has shown that companies who invest in new technology at an early stage often gain a clear advantage over their competitors. Organizations which invest in established technologies will need to come up with other ways to create a unique selling proposition. On the other hand, early adopters might potentially face challenges due to a lack of established standards and some level of uncertainty. In the end, each company will need to balance the risks with the advantages and make a decision as to the right moment to invest.
Another concern is the changing landscape of user location and platform. There might be multiple mobile platforms available which are not all window based. The challenge is seeking a solution to how these could be integrated into your own technical infrastructure, partner platforms and ultimately the industry landscape. Companies able to integrate best will be in a favorable operational position relative to their competitors. An example of this could be an exhibition organizer who has a real-time integration into the ordering system of its food and beverage provider.
Further, web software development is much more diversified than before which leads to a large number of providers and tools. Some of these web tools are free or available at very low cost. Consequently, exhibition organizers have many tools that help them execute their projects better.
However, this freedom of choice also means that they will need to find their way through the jungle of options and will need to invest time in choosing the right tool. For the vast majority of business users there are limitations on free or low-cost tools. The truth is that free only gets you so far and there are usually restrictions or hidden costs on free tools.
In addition, the inherent risk associated with vendor continuity is much higher for new companies as compared to established financially sound industry players – will the vendor still be around to support their key technology in one or two years? Companies who are planning to look at web tools should make sure that they are not led by price only but also by vendor reputation and track record. And most importantly, in addition to asking how the tool fits the requirements now, one should also evaluate how it will fit over the next several years.
Finally, the company will need to decide if they want to use the new software in the cloud (SaaS – Software as a Service) or as a local client server installation.
There are several key considerations that should be taken into account when evaluating these options such as data security, bandwidth of internet access, as well as renewal of hardware and other infrastructure.
There’s still time to register to attend the Cape Town Open Seminar. For the details click here: http://capetown2012.ufi
Thorsten Kolbinger is the Managing Director, EMEA at Ungerboeck Software International, a provider of event management software for exhibitions, venues and conferences.