Four Winds Interactive is holding what will be its second, now annual educational conference next month in Denver, and has released the agenda and overall plans for the Sept. 21-23 event.
I went last year and thought, for a first stab at it, the event was quite good and useful both in terms of the sessions and the networking. I’m going back this year, but this time will be speaking – showing photos and explaining the detailed planning behind my amazing summer trip to the Gopher Hole Museum in Torrington, Alberta.
Or I might talk about the state of the market and emerging tech.
The year one crowd was pretty healthy, but the Four Winds people are expecting a somewhat bigger mob this year, and as you might expect, have tweaked some things – notably the venue. Last year it was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay at the back of Denver’s vast convention center, and while the building is nice, it is more than a little soulless. This year, Forward is in a smaller venue just outside of downtown proper, in the arts and museum district.
I asked Erin Doherty, the Director of Corporate Marketing and Branding at Four Winds, to field a few questions about the event …
Q – So Forward is coming back for a second year. What’s different and new about this one?
Erin – This year, the Forward Conference is designed to teach our attendees how to use visual communications to connect with their audiences on digital screens in a way that is relevant, visually engaging and effortless.
People want to get information from a screen. And they want it in a visually stunning format – in a way that really grabs their attention.
We’ve found that companies are spending millions on technologies to communicate with their audiences to give them what they want, but most of those technologies don’t really engage. They require effort to pull the information – a customer signing up to get emails or downloading an app, an employee browsing to a dashboard or having to go to an intranet.
Q – Nobody nails a format first time out. What did you learn about last fall, and tweaked because of that?
It was the first time that we put on an event of this scale, so we really learned a lot. One of the most exciting changes is the new Forward mobile app. It give attendees access to loads of conference info, session highlights, video content, and a lot more. Even more exciting is that the app was built entirely in our Content Manager product. It’s a fantastic example of how other organizations can use their existing FWI platform and expand to mobile.
We’ve also moved the event from the Colorado Convention Center to the Denver Cultural Complex with sessions and events being held at the Denver Art Museum, the Art Hotel and FWI’s HQ, which we built out less than a year ago to be the Workplace of the Future. And everything is within walking distance (on the same block!), which makes it really convenient for attendees.
Q – Can you give me an overview of the format and the types of speakers and sessions?
The conference will kick-off on Wednesday, Sept. 21, with the Forward Welcome Reception at FWI’s HQ. We’ll offer tours of the Workplace of the Future and show you how to manage an enterprise Visual Communications network. The Welcome Reception was a really popular event last year and we’re looking forward to sharing how FWI continues to evolve our own network and how it has created a tremendous impact on employee engagement.
Sessions start on Thursday, Sept. 22, and wrap-up the morning of Friday, Sept. 23 – and this year’s speaker line–up is stellar. Here’s a snapshot of the organizations that will be leading the sessions:
• Marriott International
• The Orlando Magic – watch a video preview of the talk
• Wells Fargo
• Daimler Trucks North America
• Kaiser Permanente
• The Green Bay Packers
• St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
• The Preset Group (that would be me)
• Middle Tennessee State University
• The Boeing Company
• Smithsonian Institution
• Capitol Music Group
• Bank of America
Q – Who is your target audience?
We’ve tailored the event to the companies that are investing in technologies to communicate with their audiences – both internally to their workforce and externally to their clients. Any organization that is looking to transform their workplace, engage their clients and effectively deliver communications via screens is encouraged to attend.
Forward isn’t just a conference for FWI clients, it’s open to customers, prospects, industry experts, and media from any organization.
Q – Can anyone attend? For example, and I’m not being cheeky here, could a software competitor attend?
It’s an industry conference so all people interested in learning about the latest advances in Visual Communications are welcome to register. Other than our product roadmap sessions or Creation Station, there isn’t anything proprietary that we don’t consider public.
Q – What does it cost and how do people register?
Registration is $995, but we have a special rate of $795 that’s available through the end of August! People can register by visiting the conference website – www.theforwardconference.com
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.