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Rick Giner and Ben Dechrai grew tired of conferences.
Rock up, listen to speakers, have a few drinks after then head back to the office to digest the info on your notepad.
They decided to create a weekend festival instead.
It’s called BuzzConf, dedicated to emerging technology, innovation and futurism. We’ll be heading down to see what all the noise is about, Ben (left) and Rick (right) told us of what to expect:
Tell us about BuzzConf
Rick: We both attend a lot of conferences and events. We speak and attend as participants.
Our experience was that the conference format was getting very stale and samey. An expert flies in, delivers a 45-minute talk (that’s available on YouTube a week later). There’s not a huge benefit to attending in person.
We wanted to turn the format on its head and treat it like a music festival where you build real connections with people. There’s a variety of things going on all the time, and you can pick and choose what you do.
If you want to sit around the campfire drinking beer with the international thought leaders that have come to the conference, you’re still going to have a meaningful weekend.
All our presenters stay for the whole weekend, not in hotels but camping alongside everyone that attends. You have full access.
Rick: We made BuzzConf for all technology enthusiasts. The idea is that you can learn from others around you because people come with different skills and interests so ideas get accelerated into action.
For example, during BuzzConf 2015, an AI expert attended a robot workshop and by the end of the weekend, he’d made a robot that could tell itself where to drive by combining his current skills with interests.
We’ve also made the event family friendly because as cheesy as it sounds, kids are the future of technology. We also realise that some people who work in tech are also parents and they like to spend the weekend with their children. The festival accommodation is camping, so it’s easy to bring kids along for free.
What topics are on the 2016 agenda?
Ben: The programme has a varied range of thought leaders and experts, we also have a lot of workshops. The aim is to enable attendees to pick different bits of knowledge from various sessions and then sit around the camp fire and develop those ideas.
We’ve a big focus on group activities, so we run practical workshops all weekend. The whole site will be connected, and we have a bunch of electronics and mechanical things to build. Participants will also have the opportunity to leave with a VR headset – they can even build a game to play on it.
Our speaker talks cover topics including, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Holograms, Robotics, Space Exploration, Wearables, Biomedicine and futurism.
Our workshops will all be practical sessions around 3D Modelling, building games for VR, ideas- only hackathon and the IoT (The Internet of Tents) where we’ll deploy wireless connector sensors, actuators, robots and even hook up the tents.