Visual Communications Industry Group Conference

For the old timers reading this, you remember TeleCon.  Once a year in Anaheim, 20,000 or so of your industry friends would gather to learn about video conferencing, audio conferencing and collaboration.

The conference was electric (and Disneyland and Universal were soooo close)….lots of ideas, lots of stuff, lots of great people….wow!



Then….at some point earlier in this decade (a mental block is keeping me from remembering the exact year….it must be the enormous amounts of  beer we consumed the day we were laid off), Pat Portway sold “TeleCon” to someone who used us for a year then trashed almost all of us.  That’s ok, TeleCon died shortly thereafter….what goes around, comes around.


Anyway….since then, a “unified” conference related to visual communications was hard to find (The Wainhouse Summits were great, but, on a smaller scale).  And some of the big conferences (which were now dwindling in size) had video conferencing stuff as part of it, but, they were lacking the excitement for our cool technology.

This year (coming up October 10-12, 2011 in The Big Easy) is the Second Annual VCI-Group  Conference that, to me, promises to bring back the old electricity, and focus on OUR industry, that TeleCon had way back in the day.

That is:  Assuming people go!  So….GO!  There….you have your orders from Mike!  🙂

Keynote speakers will be there from: Polycom, Cisco, HP (?), and LifeSize.  There will be a conference track and an exhibit hall and meeting people like you face to face in New Orleans…what could be better!???

Go to the web site for ALL the information….here is a snippet of the agenda (I miss those receptions….did you know I was a reception crasher in my younger days?  Yup…and one day I even picked up a shrimp platter and put myself and a friend (she remembers if she reads this) to work handing out TONS of shrimp!  Gosh that was fun…):

Monday, October 10

8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Conference Check-In and On-Site Registration

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Opening Remarks by VCI-Group Vice President, Indika McCampbell

9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Manufacturer Briefing Class – Hosted by Russ G. Colbert, Jr. (Polycom, Inc.) – Details

12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
Lunch on your own

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM
Distance Learning SIG: Multiplying Campuses Without Duplicating Faculty: Issues, Logistics, Technology, Support, and Accreditation – with Dan Lim (Moderator, Florida Hospital College of Health Sciences), Todd Hughes (Western Kentucky University), Ron Novy (Florida Hospital College Of Health Sciences), Craig Ernst (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) and Richard McMahon (University of Oklahoma Health Science Center) – Details

Healthcare SIG – 
Moderator: Barry Boardman (Cook Children’s Health Care System) – Details

Enterprise Industry SIG – with Chris Thompson (Moderator, Mars IS) and Doug Pearson (Accenture) – Details

3:00 PM – 4:40 PM
Cisco Medianet – The Value of Network Architecture to Enhance Organization-Wide Telepresence and Collaboration (Aamer Akhter, Technical Marketing Engineer, Cisco’s Medianet Infrastructure Group) Details

4:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Opening Ceremonies

5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Reception in Exhibit Hall

I wrote an email to the VCI folks, here is the text of our conversation (my questions are underlined):

1. Over the past few years (well maybe more than a few) conferences have been declining in attendance.  What made you start up a conference at this time?  I understand this is #2? 

There are really no conferences out there that focus on the End User and the challenges they are having.  It was an opportune time to begin an organization that was not associated with any manufacturer as we had found that with the emergence of telepresence (immersive today) most organizations were no longer a one (1) manufacturer shop.  To this date 50% of our User base is new to conferencing – this is the only organization which enables these “Newbies” to learn, network and meet with many of the vendors in a one-to-one non-sales format.

2. Is this conference geared for “beginners” or all levels of knowledge…ie would I be totally bored or would I find cool useful stuff? 

This conference focuses on all levels from the first timer to the experienced over 20 years in the industry.  Since this industry is constantly evolving with mergers, equipment and technology many of our End Users come year after year.

3. Is it mostly for educators? 

Absolutely not, our End User base is a mix of Enterprise (corporate), Healthcare, Government and Education.  There are sessions that are geared to each of the verticals; as well as, Special Interest Groups (SIGs).

4. Are you going to offer virtual attendance at some of the keynotes, presentations, or the exhibit hall?  Brainstorm:  Imagine having the Giraffe or Vgo robots for “rent” and I could walk around the exhibit hall….THAT would be cool! 

As much as we would be open to that, we have not been able to secure this for this event as yet. We are however doing a pre and post virtual conference through vcopius which will be the group’s first look into virtual conference and we are very excited.

5. Andrew Davis talking about Skype?  Geeez, I would almost PAY to hear that!  😉

The Analyst panel on Wednesday afternoon will discuss the industry and the fact that it is currently a landmine and who will be the front runners in the industry.

6. I will look more, but, I see Polycom and Lifesize….what about Vidyo? Radvison? Cisco/Tandberg? VeaMea? 

Cisco/Tandberg and HP will also be there.  We feel that we have all the major manufacturers at this conference and we are very excited to have them there under one “umbrella” for our End Users to see their equipment, demonstrations; but, most importantly speak to them.


I remember waking up one day at TeleCon and seeing footprints on the sidewalk leading to the Hall….can anyone tell me what the significance of those footprints were?  Winner gets 5 worthless sub points!  🙂  Comment below…


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