The connective power of the internet and more powerful tools like smartphones and computers are both increasing innovation in otherwise stale areas, as well as decreasing barriers to entry for players who previously couldn’t come to the playing field for a variety of reasons.
Xylem, Inc is a company I had scarcely heard about until recently when I came across their World-Wide Water Show, a virtual trade show and convention that you could attend from the comfort of your living room. Access to an internet browser and a dial-up connection gave you access to a whole world of international technology, and speakers. Suddenly, third-world citizens have the same access to opportunity as those from the first-world.
The one-day show on Nov 29, 2012, meant that you could attend at ANY point in the world’s 24-hour cycle. Like any convention, there was a calendar and agenda for when things were being showcased at what times. You could “wander” into a conference room that had a live speaker who was being simulcast; there were moderated forums for chat during the speech and a space to ask questions. Or you could go to the trade floor and “meet” virtually with experts from sponsor companies who “displayed” their wares and answered any questions. Forums or “live chats” took the place of face-to-face interactions.
Xylem also worked hard to incorporate features that made you feel like you were in a conference room or trade floor, by looking at the screen and letting you play like you were in a “Second Life” style setting.
If you are interested, the content and features are still up for another 85 days. Highly recommend it!! Go here, register and click on the “on demand” button.
I’ll be honest… even as a water engineer, it is a little boring, so I didn’t stay too long. But its still worth visiting to check out the idea in action, the platform and the overall design/user experience…it was extremely innovative and brilliantly done at a fraction of the cost of a real convention. Granted there was no face-to-face interaction…but this could easily lead to that through.