Conferences are becoming a booming business in the mobile industry. Besides the incumbent Informa Telecoms & Media, there at least 10 conference organisers such as Visiongain, Jacob Fleming and Osney Media. With conference participation fees starting at 1,000GBP and sponsorship packages at 10 times that, it’s no wonder why.
Take Mobile Device Management (MDM) for example. MDM has been a hot topic for conferences since 2006, but is now getting somewhat overdone. There are at least five conferences on MDM taking place in the first half of 2006 from Informa, Jacob Fleming and Visiongain.
With big business comes intense competition. Informa who takes pride in being the organiser behind the 3GSM World Congress for the past few years, did not secure the contract for organising 3GSM 2007 which is now organised by the GSM Association themselves.
A more interesting twist of the conference saga evolves around the topic of SIM cards. Informa (organisers of SIM Summit) seem to have not reached an agreement with the major SIM card suppliers on the format of the SIM Summit 2007 conference. As a result, the SIMalliance (backed by the top SIM card OEMs i.e. Gemalto, Oberthur, Sagem Orga, Giesecke and Devrient) is organising SIMposium, a major SIM conference on exactly the same dates as the SIM Summit, but in a different country; SIM Summit takes place in Prague on 24-26 April while SIMposium is in Berlin on 24-25 April. If you read through the speaker list of the SIM Summit you ‘ll notice that there is not one presenter from the big SIM manufacturers, which is exactly the unique selling point of the SIMposium. It’s rare that we witness such heavy-handed, uninhibited politics in the mobile industry. As it happens, I ‘m chairing two days of the SIM Summit and I ‘m having difficulty securing briefings with some SIM OEMs.
With conference organisers keen on securing sponsors, and attendees keen on quality presentations and solid networking opportunities, there is little doubt that too many conferences on the same subject is not a good thing. But with 10+ players in the conference game, it is certain that organisers will be looking to compete rather than collaborate.