Bringing new energy to digital transformation with the NetEvents Global Media Summit

NetEvents has returned triumphantly to doing what it does best – delivering world class face-to-face technology-focussed debate in the form of the 2023 Global Media Summit. The event, held in the heart of Silicon Valley at the Dolce Hayes Mansion in San Jose, concluded after two days of  dynamic dialogue featuring media and analysts from more than 25 countries and the best tech sector thought leaders.

Day One afforded an unbeatable opportunity to listen to experts in a variety of fields and hear discussion of the topics that really count in a post-pandemic landscape. The day featured sessions on trending areas that ranged from business continuity and digital transformation to IoT and the network edge.

The day got off to an inspirational start courtesy of the first keynote speaker: Tom Bianculli, CTO at Zebra Technology. Exploring what digital transformation really means to the enterprise, his speech brought to life some of the cutting edge uses cases for optimal orchestration between AI and the human workforce. These developments will be revolutionising sectors like manufacturing, retail and pharma. From the recent Superbowl to the factory shop floor, Bianculli mapped out new digital use cases that will tackle everything from food waste to the streamlining of healthcare services. Roy Chua, Founder & Principal at Avid Think, joined Bianculli to answer media questions and consider the challenges and opportunities of digital implementation in more depth.

Tom Bianculli, CTO at Zebra Technology

 

The first debate session of the day centred around the future of secure cloud connectivity. It was ably chaired by Jason Bloomberg, President & Principal Analyst at Intellyx, who helped outline what the cloud-centric security of tomorrow will look like. Bloomberg was joined by Renuka Nadkarni, Chief Product Officer, Aryaka Networks; Prakash Mana, CEO, Cloudbrink; MK Palmore, Director – Office of the CISO, Google Cloud; and Srinivas Rao, AVP & Solution Specialist, Tata Communications. Numerous questions arose: How do organisations protect information wherever it might reside? What frameworks will enable this? The session tackled the massive challenge of safely connecting many different nodes, especially at a time when corporate IT budgets are not growing.

The second debate session shed light on IoT and the network edge of tomorrow, chaired by John Canali, Principal Analyst, IoT with Omdia. IoT use cases are multiplying exponentially, he revealed, as he offered expert insight into the sectors that will represent the next big IoT playgrounds. Canali was joined by panellists including Anit Lohtia, CTO – 5G Strategy Lead, Dell Technologies; Marc Cohn, Principal Technology Strategist, Spirent Communications; Vikas Tandon, AVP – Product Management & IoT, Tata Communications; and a second appearance from keynoter Tom Bianculli, CTO, Zebra Technologies

The third debate session moved onto the thorny topic of business continuity in the face of current and future challenges. Chaired by Paul Hughes, Research Director, Future of Connectedness with IDC it also featured panellists Hugo Vliegen, Senior Vice-President of Product Management, Aryaka Networks; Prakash Mana, CEO, Cloudbrink; Srinivas Rao, AVP & Solution Specialist, Tata Communications; and Ken Levine, CEO, Xcitium. It examined the critical elements for an organization’s business continuity plan to ensure readiness for when a crisis strikes. Attendees heard thought leadership on the type of security that protects data but doesn’t reduce productivity.

Perhaps the day’s highlight was a ‘fireside chat’ session featuring a real Silicon Valley big hitter, Dr Mary Lou Jepsen, and led by Harry McCracken, Global Technology Editor with Fast Company. Jepsen features in various rolls of honor including the Time Magazine 100, CNN’s Top 10 Thinkers, Anita Borg’s Top 50 Female Computer Scientists and in Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women in Tech. She is a true ground breaker with over 200 patents to her name and is recognised for her radical approach to innovation itself. Where others see setbacks, Jepsen sees sources of inspiration. Where some see threats she sees new challenges. She talked about her progressive approach to innovation, and the importance of staying wide open to the unexpected.

Dr Mary Lou Jepsen and Harry McCracken, Global Technology Editor with Fast Company

As a tech executive and inventor she has helped bring about change in many areas, for example as the technical force behind a generation of low-cost computing, and innovative consumer and medical imaging technologies. Jepsen was the co-founder and first chief technology officer of One Laptop per Child (OLPC) and in 2016 founded OpenWater, a startup working on MRI-type imaging of the body using holographic, infrared techniques.

The day concluded with a series of scheduled media briefing sessions with top technology press and analysts, a unique interface between journalists, vendors and experts.

Following a rousing and full first day, the summit resumed for business on Thursday in the heart of Silicon Valley. Day Two featured debate on hot technology topics and critical industry issues, from the rising tide of cyberthreats to developments in cloud, the future of the datacenter and, of course, paradigm shifts in digital transformation.

The day got off to a flyer courtesy of a fireside chat on ‘Building Hyperconnected Ecosystems’, led by Zeus Kerravala, Founder & Principal Analyst, ZK Research. He was in conversation with inspirational guest speaker Ramesh Marimuthu, VP & Head of Americas, Tata Communications. How do you develop connectivity that works for the whole enterprise ecosystem? What technologies will power that? Business outcomes will be the main driver in this scenario.

Zeus Kerravala, Founder & Principal Analyst, ZK Research and Ramesh Marimuthu, VP & Head of Americas, Tata Communications

Is new thinking needed to fight back a rising tide of cyberthreats? A definite ‘Yes’ was heard loud and clear in the first debate of the day, chaired by Roy Chua, Founder & Principal at Avid Think. The session went on to examine some of the cutting-edge work being done in the security space, especially in the area of EDR, MDR and XDR. Panellists joining Chua included Matt Lourens, Office of the CTO, CheckPoint; Dr Srinivas Bhattiprolu, Global Head of Advanced Consulting Services & Pre-sales, Nokia Cloud and Network Services; Jason Rolleston, VP & GM of Security Business, VMware; and Ken Levine, Xcitium. How do you measure the value of security when so much is at stake? What kind of tools are delivering the best results? What about considerations like behaviour change and leadership?

The second discussion of the morning revolved around the future of the datacenter, and on finding the right cloud to edge to core balance. Panellists in this hotly contested area included Manish Mehta, CTO of Security with ServiceNow; Michael McNerney, Marketing VP, Supermicro; and UN advisor and leading IT academic Professor Martin Curley. It was moderated and chaired by Steve McDowell, Principal Analyst & Founding Partner, NAND Research. What price cyber resilience in the datacenter of the future? Is ‘hybrid’ the answer to everything? And is there a trend back to on-prem in the offing?

By way of a swerve, the third debate centred on 5G, and beyond that 6G. Where is the next wave of mobile solutions for commercial use coming from? What are the business drivers for those solutions? Is the future all about Private 5G? Chaired by Paul Hughes, Research Director, Future of Connectedness, IDC, the discussion featured panellists Anit Lohtia, CTO – 5G Strategy Lead, Dell Technologies; Jan Söderström, Vice President and Head of Advanced Technology and Industry Group, Ericsson; and Marc Cohn, Principal Technology Strategist, Spirent Communications.

Perhaps Day Two’s main highlight was the closing round-up delivered by the ever inspirational Martin Curley, Professor of Innovation, Maynooth University and Chair of the UN’s Digital Health Symposium. Professor Curley shared a number of the valuable insights he has gained as a thought leader at the cutting edge of digital transformation. Curley is extremely passionate about bringing the healthcare sector into the modern world and outlined his vision for a new generation of healthcare technology. He introduced Curley’s Law, his formula for unleashing the exponential power of digital technologies for the betterment of the sector.

Martin Curley, Professor of Innovation, Maynooth University and Chair of the UN’s Digital Health Symposium

Professor Curley has enjoyed a diverse career in both industry and academia, and his name is known around the world. He has lectured at several universities and spoken at many conferences, and is no stranger to boardrooms across the globe.

NetEvents 2023 came to a close with an afternoon of intimate and highly focussed media briefings and analyst sessions, a unique forum bringing businesses and media from around the world under one roof.

Attention now turns to the EMEA Summit, scheduled to take place in Rome on Sept 20 and 21, 2023.

By Guy Matthews, Editor of NetReporter

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