TL; DR: With more than 30 years serving the IT community under its belt, Interop ITX has long been known as a must-attend conference and tradeshow highlighting the latest and greatest in tech and talent. And 2018’s event continues this trend. The week-long conference program delivers a show chock-full of educational sessions, tutorials, and compelling keynotes. As Interop ITX’s General Manager Meghan Reilly said, this year’s content line-up and vendor-neutral business environment are just what IT industry professionals need to showcase their ideas, cultivate relationships, and learn best practices in core technology areas like cloud, security, DevOps, and IT management.
A young boy sits in the dark at night with only the bright glow of the TV in front of him to illuminate the room. As he completes another level of his favorite game, a new desire to learn is ignited. If he studies programming, he thinks, he could create new worlds, like the one he’s navigating now, for others to explore.
This same passion has led so many of the world’s successful tech professionals to pursue careers in development and IT. But learning doesn’t end with late-night video game sessions and college computer science curricula. The tech sector’s rapidly evolving nature demands its users — whether a student or a seasoned pro — stay abreast of emerging innovations to stay current. And, for the past three decades, Interop ITX has delivered an event where the IT community can gather to network, learn, and find inspiration.
“By design, Interop ITX is a community-based event that represents a diversity of attendees, sectors, and company sizes,” said Meghan Reilly, Interop ITX General Manager. “We offer a range of content for technologists of all levels and specialties that allows them to map out a journey that best suits their current needs.”
Highlighting the Latest Topics From an Array of Technology Niches
Interop ITX is made up of several events and covers a wide variety of tech topics — from security and data analytics to cloud and IoT technologies. Interop offers more than 100 sessions each year so attendees can build their schedules according to their own diverse interests.
“The event is structured into tracks so that attendees can choose sessions that are only in one specialty,” Meghan said. “If someone has a security-focused job, for example, there’s a lot of content in that track, but they can also choose different tracks for the journey that best suits them.”
In addition to its wide range of topics, Interop ITX’s events take on various forms. The week-long conference is comprised of keynote speeches, summits, and workshops. Each year, Interop ITX opens with summits and workshops that address subjects of general interest to the IT community and provide attendees with in-depth educational opportunities.
The summits are typically future-focused, and this year’s topics revolve around AI, next-generation networking, and web security. After attending any two-day summit, attendees can choose to stay within a related track or explore others the rest of the week.
“The summit content follows a continuum that’s designed for in-depth education, rather than jumping in and out,” said Sue Fogarty, Interop ITX Content Director. “They immerse our attendees in one specific topic, providing them with a solid foundation of knowledge they can take back to their organizations.”
A Multi-Track Educational Program Led by Top-of-Field Presenters
In addition to discussing new technology, Interop ITX has a strong educational component that includes in-depth tutorials and hands-on sessions. Meghan told us more than 50% of attendees are director-level or above with a broad range of business responsibilities.
Attending Interop ITX gives professionals a chance to get up to date on technology and leadership skills related to their business. Given the range of topics covered, many attendees choose to take part in at least one session from every available track.
“We find that most folks do not attend just one track,” Meghan said. “For example, someone might do a technology-focused session but then pair that with something within the leadership track.”
To keep attendees up to speed on the latest technology, Interop ITX has introduced new topics, including government-related IT management, as well as more hands-on tutorials. As the conference’s largest attendee segment hails from the government sector, Interop ITX seeks to address their unique challenges and provide relevant information in a full-range track. At the same time, interactive sessions allow attendees across industries to use their own laptops to follow the presentations in-depth and work on practice projects such as creating small programs.
“Some really cool things we’re offering this year are sessions on cognitive computing, security for IoT applications, and one for building network monitoring sensors with a Raspberry Pi,” Sue said.
A Prime Venue to Build Relationships and Lasting Business Ties
Interop ITX is shorthand for “interoperability,” a concept that denotes teamwork and the exchange of information. As such, Interop ITX provides numerous opportunities for attendees to build relationships with one another, as well as establish lasting business ties with speakers.
“We have dedicated time carved out to make sure there is ample time for attendees to meet with our partners and have networking opportunities,” Meghan said.
Meet-and-greet opportunities accompany conference sessions, and attendees can not only learn, but be inspired by the success of industry leaders.
“Sometimes our attendees don’t realize that they’ll actually have the opportunity to meet the speakers and forge relationships on a personal level,” Sue said.
This year’s lineup of keynote presenters represents a number of big names in technology, including several women. Among them is Jennifer Pahlka, Founder and Executive Director of Code for America, who served as the US Deputy Chief Technology Officer and helped start the United States Digital Service. Beth Niblock, who served as an IT official for the City of Detroit under the Obama Administration and is now the CIO of the city, will also be speaking on the significant improvements to Detroit’s infrastructure, business practices, and online operations.
Other speakers include Nicole Sanchez, CEO and Founder of Vaya and an advocate for diversity in IT, as well as Sam Ramji, VP of Product Management for Google’s Cloud Platform. Keynotes are open to all attendees.
“Creating a common platform where everyone at the event can have a shared experience is something I personally find very fulfilling,” Meghan said.
Interop ITX Guides Established and Aspiring Tech Pros to Success
To get a better idea of who to meet with and how, Interop ITX’s mobile app — which is typically launched in the weeks leading up to the conference — allows attendees to plan their visit and preview the upcoming sessions. In 2017, Interop ITX launched a conference journey program where attendees could submit information regarding their key focus areas.
In exchange, they receive suggestions on which events to attend, as well as a roadmap to help plan their conference schedule. Additional concierge-like services are available to select the most appropriate sessions to attend and the right people to meet up with.
In addition to planning advice, Interop ITX offers new tracks and new content.
“While some of our track topics have stayed the same, the content is built from scratch every year,” Meghan said. “We use track chairs and a review board to make sure we are getting the community’s input on what’s really important.”
Other additions include an IoT Theater and Demo Showcase, wherein presenters discuss practical-use cases for enterprise IoT, including applications in healthcare, automotive, and energy fields. The hands-on demos allow attendees to see the potential of new technology and applications firsthand.
Interop ITX attracts people from many different niches, including security, AI, IoT, government, and analytics. Attendees are technology and business practitioners and executives who seek the knowledge and skills necessary to take technology and business to the next level. With an impressive range of events — from presentations on leadership skills to hands-on AI demos — Interop ITX has something for the techie in all of us.
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