In just over a month, one of the UK's biggest technology showcases, Misco Expo 12, will light up London's historic, Grade II listed Old Billingsgate exhibition and conference centre. Expo 12 boasts a number of selling points that make it an unmissable day for IT professionals, enterprise leaders, and more casual consumers alike.
Running on Friday, 28 September, the event will feature over 75 leading manufacturers, with the exhibitor directory reading like a who's who of influential tech firms: think Acer, Cisco, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Panasonic, Samsung, and Toshiba and you're still missing out big names like Asus, Canon, Epson, LG and Sony.
Moreover, some 1,500 professionals - from small businesses to multinational corporations - are expected to be in attendance, presenting myriad opportunities for networking and knowledge sharing, not to mention the unfettered access to Misco's specialist Enterprise Solutions Provider team that attendees will be able to enjoy.
But for ITProPortal, Expo 12's biggest selling point is its seminar series – no surprise as we're proud to be Misco's exclusive partner in bringing you the series of keynote speeches. In fact, last year's speakers were so well received that the 2012 event has been given an earlier start time to allow for an extra talk - events this September will kick off at 09:30 and run until 15:30, leaving plenty of time to take in all the seminars and still meander around the distinctive venue.
Presented by a range of industry experts, the keynote series covers everything from Windows 8 to securing mobile, to the iPad's potential in both the classroom and the office. Centring on the tech world's most on-trend topics, enterprise and security are two of the day's recurring themes, and arguably the hottest ticket at Expo 12 will be Workbooks.com sales director Ian Moyse's talk on cloud computing.
Recently, cloud security has emerged as one of the most pivotal issues in the modern technology landscape: Wired journalist Mat Honan emerged as a bit of an industry martyr after he suffered a particularly high-profile hack, mere days after Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak predicted a "horrendous future" for cloud data storage.
Cloud expert Mr Moyse, however, looks to address Misco Expo 12 from a more empowering perspective, identifying ways both individuals and enterprises can make the cloud less overcast and endeavouring to cut through the hype and fear that have dominated the headlines recently.
Moyse (left) spoke exclusively to ITProPortal ahead of Expo 12. Security, he said, emerged as the number one cloud concern in study after study, with individuals increasingly asking questions about how their data is stored:
"The issues tend to relate to where is the datacentre, how is my data stored, who has access to it and how easily can I get it back when I choose. Increasingly questions are being asked also about where the data is actually stored and by whom and how local data protection laws can be assured for the customer."
He continued: "Stories in the press of any outage or data leak also get tarnished with the cloud brush, causing concern, despite the fact that cloud is a term covering such a wide spectrum meaning it is difficult to compare one issue with another. For example comparing Sony or O2 and their outages and loss of customer details with the risks or not of a cloud application provider are not offering a like for like comparative."
"As we continue to see more customers becoming receptive to cloud solutions, vendors will have to become more open and clear on their solutions and educate clients not on the technology but the form factor itself."
Cloud literacy and understanding, Moyse ventured, was crucial for IT empowerment going forward:
"Business however needs to educate itself on the aspects of cloud, form factors (private, public, virtualisation, on network), platforms (SaaS, PaaS, etc) and non-technical aspects such as data sovereignty, SLA's and contractuals. I still find a great deal of people who will turn their backs on considering cloud, with a swathing opinion of what it is and why it won't work, without understanding, evaluation or consideration."
"Facebook has grown fantastically despite all the reported issues about user ownership policies and hacked accounts. These users will be coming into business demanding more flexibility, ease of use and mobility with high expectations of systems to deliver."
The future, Mr Moyse predicted, is likely to see cloud hype continue in line with increased usage and commercialisation:
"We can expect to continue to see hype, more acquisitions and changes in both the supply channels and effect on legacy product vendors as wider adoption continues in the coming years."
Misco Expo 12, he concluded, represents an ideal environment for IT decision makers, relevant manufactures, and interested tech-heads to converge. In particular, he said he was looking forward to mixing with a variety of people, hearing the latest cloud opinions and questions, and making use of the event's networking potential, as well as delivering his keynote.
"It is always useful to have up to date input from real world users of their thoughts, experiences and continue to gain an understanding of the realities around cloud and not the marketed hype."
Stay tuned to ITProPortal for more coverage of Misco Expo 12, including a full rundown of the day's schedule when it is confirmed. If you're particularly interested in the cloud, you should check out our dedicated cloud section, while the full transcript of our chat with Ian Moyse will also published in our blog section shortly.
Those wishing to attend the IT extravaganza at Old Billingsgate next month, and the seminars in particular, are encouraged to register immediately due to the popularity of the keynote speeches. Oh, did we mention it's all free?