There was a time where each industry had a “conference season”. Companies were busy doing what they do, but set aside important time and resources to attend a small number of conferences, usually held outside of that industry’s “busy season”.
As our national, and the global, economies have exploded, and as the free market has dictated that endless competition is good, there is just no way to contain any industry to a season. The ITAD industry is no exception. There are a number of conferences held throughout the year, all over the country. One of the reasons there are so many, and have to be spread out, is because electronics recycling and ITAD are no longer simple, straightforward industries with limited scopes of service. As technology has exponentially advanced, so have the offerings from leading recyclers and ITADs. So what is an IT professional in the industry to do? Go!
Granted, some conferences are better than others, not only for the companies they draw, but for their location, setting, orchestrated events and meeting opportunities they offer.
I have personally been to a number of conferences, and have always found, regardless of whether I had a booth to present my product or service, or whether the conference was specific to my industry or product, I always came away the better for it. There is always something to learn, but more importantly there is always someone to meet!
When I represented a data destruction software, and went to a resellers convention (like E-scrap) where not a single person there dealt with data sanitization, I still came away with a number of leads, and even some friends. No matter the industry focus of a conference, IT professionals within companies communicate, frequently, about the various aspects of their organizations and its needs. That means that a friendly conversation I had with “John” about the price of copper or the demand for older generation server stacks, got me a conversation with his CTO a week later. In our next conference related post, I will share some great tips on making the most of networking opportunities such as these.
Given my success at our industry conferences over the last few years, I thought I would take the opportunity to share some of my favorite conferences and how each can be utilized to grow whatever niche of the ITAD world you or your company represents.
Let’s start off with a very data center specific conference: Data Center World. This is a massive conference with over around 2,000 attendees and hundreds of sponsors and speakers. When it comes to tapping a brain trust, this is a good conference. You are able to learn, listen, meet one on one, and network with some of the leading data center engineers and specialists from the US and beyond.
Technological advances have made certain topics not just trendy, but compulsory for the evolving data storage industry (both for vendors and managers). Cloud storage and computing, data security, edge computing, co-location, and the ever growing environmental and sustainability issues.
Data Center World ensures that all major and emerging topics are presented by experts, which gives you the opportunity to learn from them, as well as discuss and even strategize.
As important, and this is something that affects all conferences, is the ability to meet vendors face to face. With the slew of solicitations via phone and email we often ignore or reject vendors who could actually be very useful to us – just due to the sheer volume of solicitations we receive. Conferences give us a chance to focus on the vendors, and the vendors to present, visually information about products and services which may very well change the way we do our jobs – for the better.
In 2020 Data Center World will be held in Henry. B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. March 16th to the 19th.
IAITAM is another great, industry specific conference. In this case it is all about IT asset management. This exploding sector has created a lot of services as well as jobs, as more and more industries and companies adapt to quickly changing technology needs.
The great news about this conference is that it seeks to educate people on all the aspects of ITAM, including access to, and information on, certifications in the field. The conferences are actually put on by the organization, so it is much less about sales and much more about learning and serious networking.
I like the fact that conferences like these are in the circuit as it gives a break from the glitz, glamour, and bigger budget necessary, of some of the other events. It also gives you the opportunity to diversify your networking strategy.
The next IAITAM will be in Nashville, May 12th to the 14th, 2020.
The BrokerBin Roadshow is another massive event attended by what seems like everyone in the ITAD industry. Equipment buyers, sellers, managers, manufacturers, logistics, recyclers, certifiers… the list of attendees is endless! No industry sector or service type is excluded.
This is a great event for sales folks in our industry as they are likely to meet dozens if not hundreds of potential new customers here.
This event is all about the movement of equipment. From building data centers and outfitting work spaces to decommissioning, recycling and reselling the equipment.
The Roadshow is a very popular event which means it is likely to attract folks from all levels within organizations, and all sizes of companies. We have met mom and pop recyclers there, as well as representatives from Fortune 500 companies (as well as hundreds who service them).
The next Roadshow will be in Berlin, from may 4th to the 6th, 2020.
As the name suggests, the E-Scrap conference is primarily for recyclers and ITAD service providers. Like Data Center World, the specificity of this conference is great because the overall theme and focus on recycling and ITAD allows you to maximize your time networking and meeting. This also allows potential clients to send people from their companies who directly deal with or are in need of the services featured there.
One may not think there is ad much going on in the e-scrap world as a subsection of the overall industry, but there are best practices, innovations, regulations, and even equipment and software development to discover. On more than one occasion we met clients at E-scrap who were sure they had everything they needed, until we were able to show them they could reduce the cost of data destruction by 50%, or could switch ERPs and save hundreds of man hours and setbacks to to errors.
Because this is one of the “smaller” shows, enterprising organizations stand a better chance of getting on the speaks list, and sponsorship as well as physical presence is not as expensive – yet yields no less of a positive financial impact.
The next conference will be held in New Orleans, from October 26-28, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency.
ITAD Summit is another big name in the industry conference circuit. This is one we have never failed to attend in more years than I can count. If you are looking to meet and mingle with industry leaders, this is the place. Consequently, clients know this as well so the event is replete with organizations actively seeking ITAD and ITAM services.
Like Broker Bin, the ITAD summit draws from all industry sectors and all sizes. Some of the attendees who were tiny shops some years ago, have grown to nationwide service providers with dozens and sometimes hundreds of employees. Personally, we were able to meet with CEOs, CIOs, and CTOs from giant corporations, who in any other circumstances would never return a phone call or email. But face to face with us and our product we generally managed to walk away with a number of post even meetings which lead to new, large clients.
Wonderful networking opportunities aside, the ITAD Summit is a great place to learn as well. The speaks are generally industry leaders and experts in the field, and they tend to cover current as well as leading edge issues and topics.
2020 event dates are not yet posted as the 2019 summit is currently underway. Check the website at the beginning of 2020 for more information.
Just to prove how many fields there are within our larger industry, and how some are so big they warrant their own conference, we present the E-Reuse Conference. Though there will be plenty of overlap with recycling and scrapping, and many of the companies and vendors there will have overlapping market share in many elements of ITAD, the focus is on the re-purposing of technology.
So, it is, as always, a great networking opportunity for professionals in the field. But, more importantly this is the event to go to to learn about certifications in the field, meet the inspectors, talk to partners who have various certifications…etc. There is always new technology for this sector as well which gets a good highlight at E-Reuse.
Something I’ve always liked about E-Reuse is the fact that they address the incredibly large amount of competition in the area and try to provide ideas and support for organizations to diversify service offerings, find niche markets, and attract clientele.
Repairing, refurbishing, and reusing technology provides the opportunity to engage various populations in our society which may not have as much opportunity elsewhere. There are a number of Social Enterprises in the field (for profit organizations who also service a specific population, i.e. ex-convicts, mentally or physically handicapped…etc). These organizations are a great opportunity to support our society. All of the great resources available here are also helpful if you want to pursue your own Social Enterprise, or even create an arm of your organization to function that way.
This is also one of the most environmentally focused arms of the industry. This means there are lots of opportunities to capitalize on government tax breaks and programs, as well as leverage your environmentally sustainable practices to potential, environmentally conscious, clients.
Overall, this is another great event to go to!
The 2020 conference will be held in Nashville, November 15th-18th.