By Ofer Prossner, VP, Operations, IOD
November is here, and the word on everyone’s lips in our nice little-but-getting-bigger-every-day industry community this month is AWS re:Invent 2017. Of course, IOD will be represented at re:Invent, but as the IOD management team member based in Europe, I have to say it’s quite the schlep getting from Berlin to Vegas.
I’m not intimidated by or a stranger to schlepping across the world for conferences. In 2016, I traveled six times to the U.S. to cover different conferences and events sponsored by leading technology companies, such as Intel, EMC, VMware, and the aforementioned AWS (I was at re:Invent 2016.). However, as I live in the German capital, a city that lacks a decent airport, international travel can be cumbersome. All my flights require connections, which means leaving at least one day before any conference to get to my final destination and also get used to the new time zone. Then there is the intensity of the event itself — which is great, but leads to a daily exhaustion. At the tail end, there is another full day of travel time, and the few days back in Berlin to re-adjust to the time zone. (If I ever really adjusted to the new time zone, to begin with.)
In-Person Attendence Is a Must
But, of course, I go to many of these events because in-person attendance is very important and advantageous on many levels. There is always breaking industry news, as well as access to high-powered executives, high-profile customers, and potential new customers. The networking scene is energizing and fun, and so is the opportunity for a firsthand experience of AWS’ new features, which are numerous and often groundbreaking.
Everyone in the industry knows the above conference benefits are especially true of re:Invent, which is why re:Invent is always such a hugely popular and well-attended event. While the first re:Invent, back in 2012, was attended by just 6,000 people, four years later the number stood at 30,000. A 500% rise in just four years, matching, one might say, the growth of the cloud in the world of IT. re:Invent 2017 will take place in more hotels than ever before, to accommodate attendees that will be coming to the event from pretty much everywhere.
2018: The Year of re:Invent Europe?
But why make people travel across the world? AWS has always been a pioneer, whether it’s with customer service or its different offerings and solutions. I say, it’s time for AWS to follow the lead of other large industry companies, such as VMWare and NetApp (to name a few) who acknowledged that a large quantity of their intended conference crowd comes from outside of the Americas. Amazon: It’s time to bring re:Invent to Europe.
AWS has already recognized their European market is growing: last June, they launched a third European AZ in Frankfurt. Plus, there are already the popular AWS summits in London, Berlin, and Tel Aviv, among others.
Attendance to AWS Summits in Europe rises every year. (This year’s London event hosted 6000 attendees.)
We’re due for “EMEA AWS re:Invent 2018,” if you would. The effect such an event would have on the host city is significant enough that many towns would bid for hosting it. (Note how many cities are in a bidding war for Amazon’s new headquarters.) And, as Europe is rather small, a European locale would allow for more professionals to show up in person. Yes, it might slightly impact the attendance of the original event, at first, but as Amazon is all about the customer, this shouldn’t really matter to the company, right?
What do you think? Do you agree with me? And if you do, where do you think EMEA AWS re:invent 2018 should be? I vote for Berlin, crappy airport or not.