2021 was another year during which TM Forum invited the participants of the Digital Transformation World Series to join them remotely and share the latest innovations and exchange experiences with people from the telecommunications industry. Unfortunately, the ongoing pandemic means that live events attended by thousands of people from different parts of the world are still associated with a risk that neither organizers nor companies do not wish to take. For this reason, remote events planned by TM Forum (such as live meetings for select participants in various locations), which should have been an alternative to one large event in Copenhagen, took place only partially. Of the three planned locations, only the meeting in London took place. It's a pity, because we were planning to see you in Dubai and New Jersey too.
So, what was the Digital Transformation World Series like?
2021 Digital Transformation World Series
Just as in 2020, the organizers decided not to limit themselves. They prepared five weeks of conversation on the hottest topics, delivered through presentations, interviews, discussion panels and round table events, so that the interest of viewers only increased. In addition, enormous commitment from TM Forum turned into a diverse agenda, in which everyone could find a topic for themselves, and the speakers were real experts in their field of interest.
The theme of each week was as follows:
- Week 1: Make the Vision a Reality
- Week 2: Leverage Digital Ecosystems
- Week 3: Power Growth with Cloud, Data and AI
- Week 4: Future-proof Your Business
- Week 5: Digital Leadership Summits and Round table events
Comarch representatives were of course involved from beginning to the end, preparing special materials for you. These included:
- An interview with Marcin Nowak, our Senior Solutions Manager, on using automation to deliver innovative services
- C-Level Interview with Jacek Lonc, our Head of Telco Sales and Business Strategy, on the future and monetization opportunities of 5G services
- A blog post highlighting the four most exciting cross-industry network slicing opportunities
- A Digital Leadership round table event, entitled “Private 5G: A Threat or opportunity for CSPs?”
The love/hate relationship with virtual events
What is it that we really love and hate about virtual events?
No matter where you are, you can join in
Moving events to the virtual world allows us to participate in them regardless of our physical location or other duties, whether professional or private. So, we gain more time for all other needs, because we do not have to spend what could be many hours traveling.
On the other hand, we miss out on the atmosphere of live events. When we are on a business trip, we are able to focus all attention on the event, and other duties and private matters are put aside for a few days.
Where’s the attention?
A good and diverse agenda, in which everyone can find something of interest, is an important educational element of organized events. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to devote attention to all aspects of interest.
When we participate virtually, we often give only partial attention to the panel as our minds may be on other commitments. However, there is also a big advantage here, in that we are able to view recordings of all panels at a convenient time, even after the end of an event.
Does networking work on the net?
Networking and live meetings are something you can really miss. Event platforms are not conducive to establishing new business relationships, because they are mainly used to watch prepared presentations, leaving some questions unanswered. Virtual meetings via Teams, Zoom, or other apps don't help either, as they simply cannot replace face-to-face meetings.
The more, the merrier?
Live and virtual events also differ in the number of people who can take. Live events are usually attended by delegates chosen because they can bring the most benefit to the company. For virtual events, companies may have a dozen or even several dozen tickets at their disposal Although an organization may “send” more delegates in this way, the costs are still lower as there is no need to pay for flights or accommodation. Be aware, though, that this benefit may be short term – as lack of in-person attendance could translate into a lack of profits.
What’s the takeaway?
What is my opinion, and that of many others, about live versus virtual events?
Virtual events are conducive to expanding the knowledge and current offers of sponsoring companies, while reducing the costs incurred to participate – but the advantages end there. If you want to look for a partner or company that will be interested in buying a system from your offer, this will be impossible without an in-person meeting. It's easier to refuse someone at a virtual meeting, to focus only on the prepared content, or to simply not show up at all. People attend live events with a purpose, with a plan, and establishing contact is much easier. We are also waiting for a full return to participation in live events. It will take time for numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels, and until then we will miss personal contact as we remain separated by computers and thousands of kilometers.