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Virtual or In-Person – How do you attend conferences?

MS Ignte 2017 - Orange County Convention Center

With the thousands of folks that are now starting to arrive in Orlando, this conference is starting to shape up! I expect thousands more will be attending online. How do you like to attend your conferences? For me, conferences are all about meetings. Gone are the days when I could fill my days with breakout sessions and just drink up all of the new product love. If the business and networking opportunities are good enough, then I’m definitely attending in person.

However, the keynote is a bit of a different beast. There can be no meetings during a presentation with the gravity to attract the entire conference… which is why I usually enjoy the keynote presentation and all of its awesome demos from the comfort of my hotel room.

What you may miss by not attending the keynote in person

  • The general excitement of the conference kick-off.
    There is always a buzz in the air and it is fun to experience that first hand.
  • The networking potential
    It’s always fun to watch these spectacles with a friend or colleague as they always bring up great conversation topics.
  • You can choose what to look at
    ie, You are not stuck watching what the show producer feels is important to put on the video feed.
  • The spectical
    The special performances (musical, dance, etc) are almost always not streamed due to copyright issues. It is also fun to enjoy the full stage design and atmosphere. It doesn’t always translate in the feed.

The benefits of streaming

  • You avoid the crowds!
    The crowds funneling into these events are no joke.  Thousands and thousands of folks are all going to the same thing you are and at the same time.
  • You can sleep in
    See prior bullet – you’ve gotta get up early and in line to get a good seat and not get bumped to a dreaded overflow room and these conference evenings can be grueling.
  • You can get something else done
    I learned to not try to do actual work while watching (then, I’m just not watching), but working out in the hotel room during the presentations works really well for me.
  • It is easier to take notes
    Handling a laptop in a hotel room is much easier than in a crowded convention hall (even a Surface Pro). Even when working out, it’s easy to take a break and grab a screen shot or jot something down in OneNote.

Hotel Room Set Up for Sreaming the KeynoteThanks to the ubiquitous HDMI port, you are pretty much guaranteed an external monitor in any up-to-date hotel room.

For this particular conference, there is another very important and overriding factor for me.  My wife and I are staying at the Swan (thanks MS for including this hotel in the conference plan) and have a hot date at the EPCOT Food and Wine festival for lunch.

Attending MS Ignite 2017?  What are your plans for the keynote?

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