Tech Conferences Struggle With Technology

When will tech conferences master technology? If recent experience is any guide, it appears that providing adequate WiFi access at tech conferences is as challenging as finding a cure for cancer. Is it just me, or does this strike the rest of you as strange and supremely ironic?

At February’s LegalTech 2009 NY conference, there were persistent problems with the WiFi.  In that case, it wasn’t made available in all sessions initially.  For those of us in the Web 2.0 track, sessions without reliable WiFi were frustrating to say the least.  And then this week we saw another WiFi problem at, of all places, the E2.0 Conference.  The tweet stream on this subject has been funny and at times rather sad.

First, elation:

elsuaRT @VMaryAbraham: @elsua Wifi Works!!! Perhaps you died and went to heaven? 😉 #e2conf < Yes, I did! & tables available, too! Impressed!

VMaryAbraham @elsua So glad the organizers understand the value of Wifi. Wish all tech conferences got this. Enjoy! #e2conf

elsua@VMaryAbraham Yeah, I know what you mean, Mary; last year it wasn’t a pretty experience, but so far, this year, it ROCKS!! (So far 😉 )

Then reality sets in:

VMaryAbraham RT @VMaryAbraham: @elsua @elsuacon I’ve found the solution to the wifi problem: Stay at home and watch the livestream! #e2conf

elsua@VMaryAbraham LOL! I am actually thinking you may have luckier with us struggling to get a connect working, while you guys watch it live! 😀

KMHobbie@VMaryAbraham so you have *more* access to #e20conf info sitting in NY than I do here in the room?? *grump*

carlfrappaolo RT @KMHobbie: @VMaryAbraham so you have *more* access to #e20conf info sitting in NY than I do here in the room?? *grump* FUNNY

e2conf RT @VMaryAbraham: @carlfrappaolo While I’m sorry I’m not able to meet all of you at #e2conf, I’m loving not having to fight for WiFi. (ha)

vanderwalIcon_lock@VMaryAbraham LOL! Yes, I keep looking on the ground for WiFi as it drops so much.

VMaryAbraham @dberlind Best of all, the WiFi in my home is GREAT! Too bad we can’t say the same for the Waterfront Westin. #e2conf

elsuacon #e2conf My energy levels are running on a deep low after several unsuccessful attempts to get decent wi-fi connectivity working :-///

elsuacon Suspecting #e2conf hasn’t been trending in Twitter during this time due to the yo-yo effect of the wifi connection; still working in patches

elsuacon PRT @leebryant: wifi down all session, but fantastic presentation from IDEO about their tools – massive congrats to @thoughtfarmer #e20conf

VMaryAbraham Condolences! RT @benkepes: It is very hard to live blog an event with no WiFi – frustrated at #e2conf

benkepes@VMaryAbraham even worse to be sitting in the hotel lobby trying decide between attending or connectivity….

VMaryAbraham @benkepes Forget connectivity. Attend the conference. Your pen and paper still work. Right? #e2conf

So help me out here.  What makes this technology so difficult for the organizers of tech conferences?  Is WiFi intrinsically difficult, or do all of us in the Web 2.0/tech space need to start practicing what we preach?

[Photo Credit:  Goldberg]