Massive Technology Show gets down to business
Conceived as a place where small and medium-sized businesses can learn about technology solutions that can help them succeed, the first Massive Technology Show took place in 2005. That show, held in Vancouver, attracted about 2,000 people, and the event is now presented in Edmonton and Toronto as well. This year, the show was held at the Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre on April 1.
The Make Generation The first presenter of the day was Michael Tippett, cofounder of Vancouver-based company NowPublic, a citizen-journalism Web site that aims to cover current events worldwide by providing the platform for “an army of reporters”. Tippett talked about what he terms the Make Generation, essentially the modern-day trend in which everything has a do-it-yourself option, embodying the democratizing effect of technology.
“The advent of technology,” Tippett told the audience, “has allowed people to break the media’s monopoly on reporting the news.”
The people who used to be known as the audience, Tippett explained, are becoming the producers. “People are the new network,” he said.
Roaming the trade show floor Exhibitors included companies providing VoIP and IP telephony and conferencing services, document solutions such as presentation options, data-destruction capabilities, and broadband and network solutions and security for them.
Training opportunities were abundant. Swirl Solutions had the best course offering: private and corporate workshops entitled Mastering Your Blackberry 101.
From search engines to Facebook A number of the show’s exhibitors help companies make the most of their Web sites. One such company is 6S Marketing. Founded in 2000 by Chris Breikss and John Blown, 6S has grown to 15 employees, and Breikss said in an interview with the Straight at the show that they hope to expand the company to 25 within the next year.
6S specializes in search-engine marketing, which encompasses both search-engine optimization and pay-per-click, strategies for getting Web sites noticed. SEO involves manipulating a Web site to increase the likelihood of it ranking highly in search engines such as Google, MSN, and Yahoo. They do this, Breikss explained, by determining key search phrases used by people looking for the products or services offered by the client. The next step is to work those phrases into the text of the site. “Content is king,” Breikss said.
Facebook marketing is a new initiative for 6S. Breikss explained that his company is one of the first Vancouver agencies to offer expertise in the business tools the social-networking site provides. The benefit of Facebook, he said, is that advertising can be focused geographically as well as demographically. Earls Restaurants has tagged 6S to set up a Facebook campaign targeting 18- to 25-year-olds in the Toronto area who might be interested in working for the restaurant as it expands into that city.
Helping the needy get nerdy The Vancouver chapter of Free Geek (freegeekvancouver.org/ ) was out in force, its booth overflowing with volunteers. This nonprofit group is the first Canadian operation that’s affiliated with the Free Geek movement, which started in Portland in 2000.
Billing itself as a community technology centre, Free Geek Vancouver provides free recycling of computer equipment and uses it to educate and empower people. Volunteers disassemble donated computers and learn about their inner workings at the same time. They reassemble components into new computer systems and install free, open-source software (Ubuntu and Open Office, for example). Volunteers can earn a refurbished computer (after 24 hours of service) while learning how the damnable machines work.
Funding for Free Geek comes in part from the thrift store where excess parts and computer systems are sold at thrift-store prices; there’s a list of what’s available on the Web site. If you’re looking for a specific part, there’s a wish-list form on the Web site.
The organization is driven by an open-source philosophy and a keen awareness of the toxicity of electronic machines. Representative Mark Norman explained that the people volunteering at Free Geek Vancouver are those who “mix technology with a fear for the environment with a desire that nobody be left behind”.
Massive gets connected At this year’s event, Lindsay Smith—founder and CEO of Massive Events—announced that her trade show and accompanying magazine are merging with the Get Connected television and radio programs owned and produced by Blink Media Works.
Smith, who earlier this year became a cohost (with Mike Agerbo and A. J. Vickery) of Get Connected, told the Straight in an interview after the announcement that the two companies have a common goal: to help bridge the gap between technology and business. Combining Blink’s television and radio programs with Massive’s trade show and magazine creates an “all-encompassing media company”. The third season of Get Connected premiered on the Business News Network on April 2.
Next year’s trade show will be rebranded as Get Connected, but the event will remain the same—which means it won’t be expanding to include consumer-technology exhibitors.
“My passion is business,” Smith explained, so while the Get Connected properties will look at some consumer technologies, this will only happen if those technologies have a business application.
I just hope the rebranding brings with it free Wi-Fi on the trade-show floor. It’s a technology event, after all.