FELD M at the Greentech Festival and DMEXCO@home – What’s worth it?
on 07.10.2020 by Dr. Ramona Greiner
In 2020, everything turned out differently than planned and the organizers of the big conferences had to rethink their plans. As a result, most events in the digital industry took place online. But this also means that there are a lot of interesting events around the world that one could potentially attend and the agony of choice affects many of us: Which conference is really worthwhile?
I have participated in three conferences for FELD M this year. In Tealium’s Digital Virtualocity in June and the Greentech Festival in September, which was half on-site in Berlin and half digital, and in the DMEXCO@home, which was purely digital. I would like to share my impression of the last two with you. Of course, the content aspects can only be of secondary importance here, since each of us is interested in something different. What you already know in one area may be completely new to me and where I think I know better than the participants on the conference panels, it may be a profitable talk for you. That’s the way it is with diversity, different interests and competences. So, in general, this should be about what you can expect from the two conferences – should they take place in a similar setting again – and what my personal impression was.
Quod erat expectandum: expectation vs. reality
The founder of the Greentech Festival, which calls itself “the smartest stage for green success”, is former Formula 1 world champion Nico Rosberg. How exactly Formula 1 and sustainability are supposed to go together was a mystery to me beforehand. However, my greentech day started with listening to Gabor Steingart’s Morning Briefing for breakfast before the event and Nico Rosberg was a guest in this podcast. There he impressively outlined what his life looks like after Formula 1 and why he is now interested in sustainability issues, especially in the tech sector. That was not only interesting, but also credible and raised my expectations of the event a bit.
In fact, my rather low expectations were even exceeded. The festival started with an outstanding show act by media artist and robotics engineer Moritz Simon Geist. With opening speeches by, among others, Nico Rosberg and former Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, the spectacle began in a top-class manner and was continued in the same way. Representatives of innovative start-ups, large corporations and the United Nations organized the keynotes and panels. Schedules were meticulously adhered to, and what was most exciting: there were also many critical questions on the panel, which really did not harm the credibility of the whole event.
My expectations of DMEXCO were high. The prospect of experiencing Europe’s largest congress trade fair for the digital industry from the comfort of my home office made me eagerly await the event – even though the huge program had already overwhelmed me somewhat in the run-up to it. As expected, some of the panels and keynotes were really very informative and well prepared, others rather underpowered me – but that’s always the case when you can put together your program from so much on offer.
Tomorrow, today is already yesterday: future proofness
Both festivals had really innovative themes. While the Greentech Festival naturally focused on sustainability issues (especially with regard to questions of mobility and nutrition for the world’s population), DMEXCO@home was more about innovative technologies and methods. Many providers presented their latest tools, while corporations reported on their digital strategies. In between, there was a lot of talk about the new challenges that data protection presents and everything that is connected with it. But there was also room for more social future topics such as corporate digital responsibility strategies, female leadership or best practices for a congenial brand identity in the 21st century – from Berlin’s public transportation companies to the Eintracht Frankfurt soccer club – and these were a useful addition to the program.
Order is half of life: Organizational impressions
The one-day greentech festival with one main stage and only two smaller side stages was much easier to handle as a participant than the DMXCO@home, which already required a lot of brain power when watching the program to choose which panels or keynotes to watch. A bookmark function made it easier to keep track of things, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I still missed things I would have liked to see, simply because the view of the different parallel strands was just too confusing for a normal Macbook. In any case, you should allow plenty of time for this in advance.
Supreme Discipline: Networking!
I love fairs and conferences. Not least because of the illustrious rounds at plastic tables. With online conferences, of course, it’s not so easy. DMEXCO@home in particular offered to log in to the portal in the run-up to the conference, and this time was used intensively for networking. Even before the conference started I had several requests for a short call on one or the other topic. Of course, these were mainly tool providers who wanted to work with us and hardly any potential customers, but the networking idea was implemented quite well at DMEXCO@home. At the Greentech Festival the online networking possibilities were less, but this was probably due to the fact that the event was partly held in Berlin. Networking was possible via a chat function, which was used to post the LinkedIn profiles and thus initiate networking.
Conclusion and highlights:
Participation in the Greentech Festival was free online, the DMEXCO@home cost around 100 euros for both days. The price was justified in any case.
I was positively surprised by the Greentech Festival, because the event was really very professional and at the same time very pleasant. The diversity of the participants* at keynotes and panels caught my attention positively, as did the fact that it really seemed to be about the cause, and not about the best possible self-portrayal of greenwashing. If you are interested in ecology and sustainability in digitization and industry, you will certainly not go wrong with the Greentech Festival. Almost without exception, the speakers* were worth hearing and seeing.
DMEXCO@home is certainly the better choice for anyone focusing on the digital industry. This is certainly not a new tip for old conference-goers, but I’ll say it anyway: it’s a good idea to take the time to study the program in advance and choose the relevant contributions. All in all, there was a lot of exciting and up-to-date information, so that really everyone can learn something.
Of course, it is difficult to compare these two events, because the direction of the program is different. But if you want to keep up with what’s happening in the industry and the digital economy, both events are a good place to go, perhaps more so at one than the other, depending on your personal preferences.
The highlights for me were of course the contributions that were directly related to our customers. Besides, I attended many presentations on data protection, TCF 2.0 and cookie-less tracking, heard a lot about CDPs and DMPs, and got to know different tool providers.
My personal favorites across both events, where I was able to get a lot of input and/or new ideas, were on the one hand the above mentioned master class about the Berlin public transport company, which showed how BVG became a real lovebrand through Social Listening.
On the other hand, it was the master class of the BVDW (German Association of Digital Economy), also at DMEXCO@home, on the topic “Corporate Digital Responsibility (CDR): Why a common understanding is necessary”. There, insights into the current state of affairs at the BVDW were given and comprehensibly outlined where the difficulties lie in generating a common understanding of terms and standardized templates for CDR. Especially CDR will influence many aspects of our daily work in the future, so it was important to find out how far the currently leading consultancies and associations are in this topic and in which direction it will go.
Spoiler: Of course, we at FELD M have always been concerned with the topics of digital responsibility, IT security and data protection as well as the social design of digitized processes. Soon, a first summarizing blog post on our CDR approach will appear here. Stay tuned!