Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Virtual government conferences - when will they start in Australia?

I find conferences a very useful avenue for networking with other egovernment and online channel professionals. I often get ideas or insights that I can share across my team and agency - and implement in our sites.

However the attendance cost continues to rise. Sadly both the commitment in time and price means that I've been cutting back to a few selected courses each year.

I've partially offset the price factor by speaking at events (giving a 40 minute presentation to attend a 2 day $3,000 conference is equivalent to an 'hourly rate' of $4,500).

However this still leaves travel and accomodation costs and the time required to participate (which I can never get back).

A solution I'm seeing more of around the world is to hold virtual conferences - such as the Cognos Virtual Government Forum being held using INXPO's platform.

There are options for similar events via platforms such as Second Life and Webex, as well as ways to use free tools to achieve a similar end.

While these events have a lower networking factor than a face-to-face event (though it can still occur), they provide a similar presentation experience - with the capacity to pick and choose between canned or live presentations and engage in chat-based Q&A sessions or panels.

You do not need to leave your desk, and can tune out for other priorities, then catch-up again at your leisure.

So given the large size and low population density of Australia, when are we likely to see some locally run virtual conferences?


  1. Hi Craig,

    I agree, and in addition, imagine the environmental cost of all those people travelling to and from interstate (and overseas) conferences!

    There *is* a locally run virtual conference coming up this month, although not in the government sector.

    It's aimed at campaigners and activists wanting to use the web for their campaigns. It's called OzPoliCon: http://www.australianpoliticstv.com/ozpolicon08

    It would be great to see other Australian web and government conferences being held online in this way :)