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Will IEN 2020 Be The Only DAM Conference Held This Year?

by Ralph Windsor on February 28, 2020

Over on the DAM Guru blog, there is some feedback from attendees of the IEN 2020 DAM Practitioners Summit held in New York last month.  The contributors include Frank De Carlo, Jennifer Tyner, Ian Matzen, Christine Conley-Smith, Margie Foster and Jennifer Pflaumer.  The following is by Ian Matzen in response to the question What topics would you like to see discussed in greater depth by the DAM community?

I’d love for someone to conduct a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis of the DAM industry and present their key findings at every summit. Knowing about new and emerging technologies, for example, and how they may affect our work is key to remain at the top of our game.” [Read More]

I wasn’t able to make the IEN summit for various reasons, but I definitely had planned to go.  One issue that must surely be under question is whether the coronavirus outbreak will impact the Henry Stewart events in April (also held in New York) as well as some others not long afterwards, such as the London DAM conference.  Although the New York show is large for the DAM community, it is fairly small when compared with more generic high profile technology conferences which have been cancelled so I it seems less likely it will get called off.  Much depends, however, on whether there is a wider restriction imposed on travel via major transport hubs like airports and railways, the so-called ‘lockdown‘ scenario.

I am not aware that this has been widely discussed in the DAM community currently, but I cannot imagine that the conversation has not been happening in private, even if not in public.  I liaise with the Henry Stewart organisers relatively frequently and I don’t envy them having to deal with this kind of scenario.  I sincerely hope their itinerary is not affected, primarily for the sake of their business, but also because I like going to their events and meeting people in-person whom I normally only interact with remotely.

While there will always be a demand for these industry gatherings, they are costly to both put on and attend, taking into consideration the staff time lost more than the ticket price (which is fairly reasonable in view of the not inconsiderable cost to the organisers).  Further, their scale and the logistics involved does expose the organisers to some significant risks, a fact which is thrown into sharper relief given current events.  I have virtually no knowledge of managing the logistics for industry conferences, but I would envisage some kind of insurance being in-place to meet any unforeseen situations like this.  The premiums for this kind of cover are almost certainly going to increase now, however, which may affect ticket prices and costs to vendors for stands, sponsorship arrangements etc.

It will be interesting to see whether this encourages more on-line only DAM events (and in other niche markets as well).  This is a trend that has now fully played out in the B2B publishing sector over the last 10-15 years (albeit for slightly different reasons) with print-format titles either disappearing or going digital-only.  There isn’t a direct read-across in this case as the activity of meeting people is far more visceral than perusing a publication.  With that said, these kind of global events have a fundamental and profound impact which will almost inevitably have some tangible effects on everyone, it remains to be seen what those will be for DAM conferences.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Max Dunn March 6, 2020 at 11:32 am

I was disappointed to see the Adobe Summit canceled, and if things go on much further as they have been recently, it is easy to imagine physical conferences going away for some time. It is a real challenge to envision a virtual equivalent, there are so many great things about meeting in person around a shared passion, I am sure physical conferences will always have their place in non-pandemic times.

But this is a real opportunity: every conference already has *some* form of parallel web presence (if nothing more than “where’s the agenda?” and “where are the slides?”) and some have made “virtual conferences” in the past. I have participated in so few “virtual conferences” that I don’t even know if there has been some great work in that area, but my impression is no, they are absolutely in their infancy. We may see some incredible innovation this year, and when physical conference come back in fashion, their web dimensions may be far stronger.

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