Before the event even started, nextMEDIA was suffering a few issues. The venue that they had chosen, CiRCA, a club, wasn’t ideally suited to the event. While being very beautiful and stylistic, it was also dark, a little cramped, strangely laid out, and the seats were the fold-out kind. Despite the little bit of padding the seats include, I highly doubt people will be enjoying them by the end of the day.
There are a limited number of couches though for those that are unable to take the discomfort any longer, but those are placed far from optimal viewing angles of the stage, and part of the experience is always to be able to see the slides and presentations that these companies put together.
Not only that, but there was an even bigger issue that really aggravated me: there was no open wireless Internet connection. There is a wireless connection available, but it was locked down and only staff for the event seemed to be permitted to use it.
This frustrated more than just myself, as a new media event, with speeches on social networking, and monetizing digital media, many people assumed that there would be access for them to use. How could they invite new media specialists, bloggers and more, and not have any open wireless Internet for us to use? Very strange.
Worse still, because of the thick concrete and brick walls, we are unable to connect to Toronto’s city wide wireless network which, while costing money, would have still been an alternative to use.
They did provide two small laptops hooked into wired Internet connections as an Internet station, but placed large signs limiting us to a maximum of fifteen minutes at a time.
One other thing to note is that they didn’t seem to have the same kind of exhibitor booth space that they had last year, and so there most likely won’t be any cool displays of new technology. The two companies that I saw were Casale Media, an advertisement agency, and a local school of arts and design. Both are interesting, though somewhat uninspired choices.
The breakfast provided was nice though, with a wide assortment of drinks, and snacks. I have to commend them on that aspect. Also, all of the staff at the event seems to be well trained, very friendly, and efficient. Which for events as complicated as this one seems to be, is key.
Will nextMEDIA turn out to be an event to remember thanks to some great presentations, or will it end up being a flop worth forgetting? As we wait for the delayed opening speech, I am very concerned.
For more information on the nextMEDIA conference, and every post I am making regarding the event, please check out BrandingDavid.com.