Almost everyone dreads conferences. Specifically, that awkward moment at the start of a day, where no-one really knows how it’s going to go.
There’s that sphincter-clenching moment when – after you’ve had your “fresh” coffee from an industrial-sized dispenser which is simultaneously far too strong yet far too small – when you get into your seat and realise you’ve got 8 hours of PowerPoint presentations and an endless amount of self-indulgent vendor rhetoric in front of you. No amount of generic-brand coffee can save anyone from a marketing-induced coma.
That’s why it was great to see Amdocs take an irreverent approach to its annual customer conference by roping a self-proclaimed “mentalist”, and all-round-entertainer Lior Suchard, to oversee proceedings. We like irreverence here at Telecoms.com. It’s much more fun than straight-lacedism.
“I work using three approaches; mind reading, mind influencing, and… bullshit,” said Suchard. Not a bad start, coupled with some audience participation and magic tricks. Amdocs didn’t even advertise the fact it’s planning a legitimately enjoyable and humorous conference.
“I’m going to teach you the process of mind reading, through the cloud.” Mildly humorous AND relevant comedy. Tech comedy is a pretty niche field mind.
Kicking off at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, it was a refreshing start to a show which planned on bringing out heavy-hitting customers of Amdocs to evangelise how great the company is. Top tech and strategy dudes from Vodafone, Telefónica, Three, HP and Microsoft are coming up over the next 24 hours, so there should be some decent insight. Oh, and spoiler alert, Bruce Dickinson from Iron Maiden is gunna be knocking about tomorrow…
Bob De Haven, the worldwide GM of communications and media at Microsoft, appeared genuinely sincere about how excellent the conference is – his words. The number of times one hears a speaker say “this is a fantastic conference” with a dead-behind-the-eyes expression…
De Haven went on to emphasise how big a deal digital stuff is right now. That’s pretty obvious, sure, but it was backed up with some fairly compelling points. These bullets have been taken verbatim from one of his slides:
- 67% of OTT companies believe VR is a lasting technology.
- 80% of millennials subscribe to at least one OTT service.
- The problem with binge-watching on Netflix is that you lose three days of your life.
- Video will be 79% of online traffic by 2018.
- Is it really TV if it is never broadcast? Growth in viewing is all digital!
- Beyond digital: empowered consumers seek out tailored, inspired content experiences that transcend platforms and can be shared – PWC.
- The industry formerly kinown as TV is rapidly turning into T/V (Television / Video) – Forbes.
- For millennials, the smartphone is the most popular device for watching online video and gaining ground among the broader population.
Looks like TV is dead then. Long live T/V.
Oh, and there are relatively comfy seats in the conference room. That’s a win when you’re spending 8 hours a day making serious arse-prints in the leather and staring at a projector. Oh, and there’s a TV IN MY FRIGGIN’ BATHROOM MIRROR! All kinds of minds being blown here in Berlin.