Returning home from another successful BCI World, Charlie shares his thoughts and feedback on the conference.
The conference finished 24 hours ago, so I thought I would share some thoughts with you. I attended as part of the BC Training and PlanB exhibition stand and also gave a talk at the main conference on Wednesday, titled “Business Continuity and Manufacturing - Adapting the BC Lifecycle to Cement Manufacturing”.
Firstly, it was good to see the exhibition hall completely full. The BCI had made quite an effort to get beyond the usual suspects and pull in other companies who hadn’t been there before, including Blackberry Ad Hoc, SAP and Amazon.
Having been at the conference year-on-year, for perhaps 10 years, it is interesting to see how the exhibitors have changed over time. When I first went, it was all very large grandiose stands mainly focused on work area recovery. That was then replaced by the software vendors. Every man and their dog decided they had a software package in them and there was a multitude of vendors. Many of them were software companies looking for a new market, who had teamed up with a BC consultant to build a BC software product. I think most of them very quickly found out that there wasn’t a huge market for software and over the next 2-3 years faded away.
The next wave was the notification people and again there was a large number of them, some adopting notification systems from other markets and others who built specifically for BC. They have faded like the software vendors, quite often to takeover by the stronger and more successful brands.
This time, it is the software coming to the fore again, but with a twist. With Clearview as the only UK-based vendor, there has been an American invasion by four new vendors, who are the brand leaders in the USA. Perhaps the market in the USA is saturated and they feel the UK and Europe markets are ready for some new products. It will be interesting to see if they are here for the next few years or if they will also fade away, realising there is not as much money as they hoped there was.
Many of the old faithful vendors were there, such as Everbridge, SunGard and Daisy, but notable absences from BSI (headline sponsor but no stand, seems slightly strange to me), PWC or Deloitte / Register Larkin / Steelhenge. In fact, we at PlanB Consulting were the only sole consultancy company at the entire show.
The footfall from the exhibition seemed small in numbers, but most of those with stands said they felt those attending were more interested in purchasing what was being offered, compared to previous years.
I didn’t see any of the presentations as I was busy on the stand, so I can only comment on what I heard from others. It seemed the BCI did an excellent job of finding interesting subjects. There was a talk by Professor Kevin Warwick on robotics and microchipping humans, which a number of people thought was excellent. There seemed to be a variety of talks beyond the more instructional, from what is resilience to how the different disciplines can work together. I heard one talk had half the audience in the corridor as so many people wanted to attend!
If the BCI can keep up the quality of the speakers, then I suggest you all keep attending. We need to continuously learn and keep moving our knowledge forward. Thank you to all those that visited our stand and had a chat with us (or a game of darts!). We hope to see you in 2018, if not before.