It has been just over a week since Hexagon wrapped up Hexagon 2012, our second annual international conference. This year, we welcomed more than 3,000 attendees for four days of learning and networking. As an insider, here are my 12 reasons why our biggest event of the year was a success (in no particular order):
1. A Focus on Synergies – Last year, at our first Hexagon International Conference, we focused on uniting our technology users and partners from Intergraph®, Leica Geosystems, Z/I Imaging, Hexagon Metrology and NovAtel. This year, it was our goal to offer our attendees an even more detailed view of how these brands are working together every day to shape change in our world. From a collaborative General Session to interactive TechPark displays such as the Hexagon H2O Solution, synergies definitely took center stage at Hexagon 2012.
2. Outstanding Sessions – Let’s be honest…the informative and in-depth sessions the Hexagon International Conference offers are one of the primary reasons our attendees traverse oceans to attend the event. With 400 sessions spanning the Geosystems; Metrology; Process, Power & Marine (PP&M); and Security, Government and Infrastructure (SG&I) tracks, there was something for everyone, including customer-led case studies, training sessions and technology certification courses run by esteemed industry experts and technology developers.
3. More Global Attendees – There is a reason we call it the Hexagon International Conference. At Hexagon 2011 last June, we welcomed attendees from 65 countries. This year, 76 nationalities were represented. And while 11 more countries may not seem too impressive to some, it means that many more attendees who, although they may not be from the same country, have experienced some of the same industry challenges.
4. Interactive TechPark – The TechPark is always a crowd pleaser, and why not? It was 45,000 square feet of some of the newest (and coolest) innovations from Hexagon and our partners. The best aspect of the TechPark is arguably the ability to interact with the products, and this year there were more than 100 displays and demonstrations for our attendees to get their hands on.
5. Unlimited Networking Opportunities – Each year, we strive to make networking as simple as possible for our attendees. After all, it’s the connections our attendees make with one another that stand the test of time. From the incredibly popular Four of a Kind card game that encouraged participants to become networking aces to the QR codes on the conference badges for easy contact info exchange, there were several new elements introduced at Hexagon 2012 that facilitated networking. Badge flags, also new this year, helped Alumni and Fresh Thinkers alike recognize each other.
6. Exciting Networking Events – Speaking of networking, our evening networking events were also a great way to get out there and mingle with peers, or make new ones. Three conference-wide functions and numerous track-specific events lent a social element to Hexagon 2012, combining contact making with fun. Monday evening’s event, Think Progress, offered attendees their first glimpse of the TechPark and allowed them to meet our more than 60 sponsors as well as numerous Hexagon technology developers. Think Exploration, Tuesday night’s cocktail reception at the MGM Grand Pool Complex was also a hit, with nearly all of our conference-goers convening for some poolside networking. (It also gave attendees the chance to sport our new “Thinkers Gone Wild” t-shirts to potentially earn a prize – a win-win in my book.) To wind down the week, the Wednesday evening Think Again event, complete with photo-ops and throwback entertainment, provided a fun atmosphere for interaction. If you can’t bond over your fondness for Tina Turner impersonators, what can you bond over?
7. Extensive Information Sharing – There’s something that happens at the Hexagon International Conference that you don’t always see at other industry conferences. It happens in session rooms, at networking events and while nibbling on sliders in the meals area – our technology users share their own experiences and expertise with one another. They reveal best practices. They bounce ideas off one another. They learn new ways of tackling industry challenges. When you add it all up, Hexagon 2012 offered a combined 30 000 hours of information sharing.
8. Visionary Keynotes – For Hexagon and our divisions’/brands’ management, the Hexagon International Conference provides the ultimate platform to fill in our customers and partners on Hexagon’s direction, business strategy and ground-breaking technologies. Once again, Ola (Hexagon’s President and CEO) and the division presidents didn’t disappoint, enlightening attendees on the strides Hexagon has made in terms of technology synergies and how we enable our customers to impact the trends facing the world today. Did you know Leica Geosystems provided scanners to help out rescue divers following the Italian cruise ship accident earlier this year? Or that Hexagon Metrology works hand-in-hand with NASCAR to improve performance? If you watched the keynotes, you did.
9. Increased Non-attendee Interaction – Although we recommend attending the Hexagon International Conference to really experience the benefits, this year we wanted to make sure those who weren’t able to make it to Hexagon 2012 could be a part of the excitement, too. For the first time, Ola’s keynote, “Hexagon: Moving Businesses, Industries and the World Forward,” was streamed live, and more than 4,000 customers, employees and partners tuned in to hear first-hand how Hexagon’s solutions give customers an advantage and the power to advance our world. Daily wrap-up videos and clips of conference happenings were also posted to the Hexagon YouTube channel so that those back home could stay in the know.
10. Cross-track Sessions and Demos – People who attend our conference typically identify with a specific industry (e.g., Public Safety, Aerospace or Surveying), and that’s why they choose one conference track to follow. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that there aren’t sessions in other tracks that may apply to them. That’s the beauty of a synergistic technology portfolio. As such, a new program was introduced for Hexagon 2012, called “Did You Also Know?”, to highlight these cross-track sessions and product demos. Participants could also choose which track-specific agendas they wanted at the Self-Serve Agenda Station this year.
11. More Ways to Stay Connected – We at Hexagon view social media as yet another way to connect with our attendees and to help them stay connected with conference news and activities. For Hexagon 2012, there were several ways to leverage social media, from the live social media station to tweeting alongside other attendees using Twitter. Also, more than half of our conference attendees downloaded the official Hexagon 2012 mobile app to receive updates, view maps and browse sessions.
12. HEX-E – There was a new member to the Hexagon team this year, and conference attendees were quick to show their love for our big, blue, forward-thinking addition, HEX-E. Hopefully you were lucky enough to have your picture taken with him, but if not, that’s ok – there’s always next year!