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I'd like all those with an opinion to help shape the event by editing the topic discussion document.

Topics should be related to the conference tagline "What's Next in Telecom, Mobile & Internet Communications".

It may help to remember that the Emerging Communications Conference & Awards covers four broad categories, which are:

1.  Concept and futurism:  the thinking needs to be outward beyond 2-5 years. Anything less is obvious.
2.  Product and service demos:  it's got to be new and interesting. And it's got to be complete show and tell, not slideware.
3.  Technology and engineering:  new technologies including new technical specifications.
4.  Policy discussions:  insider stuff. People steeped in the ins and outs of decisions being made that affect us all.

Please contribute in order to help maintain an independent forum with a positive mission - to ensure an open exchange of vision and ideas in order to positively influence the future of technology-mediated-communications through education, research, and events.


Lee S Dryburgh (Founder)

UPDATE: The event has been moved to June 27-29 instead of March 22-24.

The next Emerging Communications Conference & Awards will take place March 22-24, 2011 at the San Francisco Airport Marriott.

We are now starting to look for speakers, sponsors and for topic suggestions.

Speaking slots tend to fill up quite early. eComm sponsors support that speaking slots may not be bought, so they are very badly needed not only to cover the majority of the event costs but also to keep the event independent and thought-leadership driven. Without enough sponsors the event would be forced to slip in the tradeshow direction with unopposed hype, death by Powerpoint and marketing fluff; if that was to happen, I'd have zero interest and the event would cease.

To speak, enquire about sponsorship or to suggest topics, please use the appropriate contact method at

Once again I'll trust the power of the passionate individuals and the communications innovation community to step-forwards to co-create three very worthwhile days together this March. I look forward to and appreciate all help.


Lee S Dryburgh (Founder)

PS The hotel has reserved 400 room nights for the event (we use more than this each year). To get the 159.00 rather than standard 239.00 room rate use this Marriott booking link. More details here.

Next Event

Partner Event

Thankyou For The Help Last Month

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eComm America 2010 was hit by the blanket ban across most of European airspace due to Icelander's not looking after their volcano or a misinterpretation of a British request for "cash" being mistaken for "ash". Whatever the case, it all unfolded over the weekend leading to the event. The timing could not have been worse. And just to make matters even worse, I got stuck mid-way across Europe as my transit airport got closed 30 minutes after I arrived. I then spend the night attempting to re-route without success leading to the last resort decision to turn and go back via train. Out of 400 registrants, 50 others also cited that they could not make it. This included a proportion of speakers.

It was truly an event organizers nightmare if there ever was one. If that was not enough, further compounding matters was the fact that I'd put a new production team together. They had not worked together before. I was the only one who knew everyone and I was therefore not only the conference chair but I was also to be the person to "gel" this new team together both during that weekend and during the event.

I found myself very tired (due to travel) and yet back home where I started very late on the Saturday night. I arrived back to a flood of emails from stranded speakers who could not or thought they may not; suddenly the schedule which had been such a great effort to construct over months seemed like it could be wrecked in a matter of hours.

It flashed thru my mind at that point the only option was to cancel. But then I thought about the other 350 people, many of whom were in transit. That would have done far more harm. So the only option was to go ahead and call out for help. After all it's supposed to be a community, so I was interested to see if others would step in to prove that.

I'm pleased to report that others did step in to save the day during those final hours, putting their pre-set schedule, work and/or family aside.

On day one the following people kindly stepped in and chaired: 

  • JP Rangaswami (Chief Scientist, British Telecom)
  • Craig Walker (Real Time Communications Group Product Manager, Google)
  • Doc Searls (Editor/Fellow/Writer/Author/Consultant, Harvard University/UC Santa Barbara)

On day two the following people kindly stepped in and chaired: 

  • Benoit Shilllings (CTO, Mydriad Group AG; formerly Chief Technologist, Nokia)
  • Cullen Jennings (Distinguished Engineer, Office of CTO, Cisco)
  • Marc Smith (Chief Social Scientist, ConnectedAction; formerly senior research sociologist at Microsoft)

On the last day (dedicated to augmented reality) the following people kindly stepped in and chaired:

It would have been impossible under the circumstances for the event to go ahead without these people stepping in, so I'd like to express great gratitude on behalf of the Emerging Communications community. Thankyou.

In addition I'd like to thank Andy Abramson (Communicano) for providing eyes and ears on the ground, often digitally; and Nancy Boyd (eComm) for swimming excessively well after being landed in the deep-end and tying all the disjoint pieces together on the ground without me. Was it worth it? I'll let you decide by taking a sample of quotes from some of the feedback questionnaires I have to hand:


"This was a conference of great minds. Even the people attending are working on more game changing work than the speakers at some of my other conferences." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"It was a great event especially due to the high caliber of the people it attracted and the unique format." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I enjoyed the conference and I would like you to continue. Good execution of organization and logistics for the speakers." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"It was a professional production in all aspects. The show crew and conference management were 100% focused." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"The lineup of speakers was terrific, and the opportunity to socialize and meet other attendees was very helpful." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"It also seemed to attract the right crowd of people, for the most part a wide selection of interesting brilliant minds!" - (America 2010 Attendee)


"Please continue the generation of cross disciplinary speakers (communications, SW developers, solution providers, art, science, physiology, anthropology...)." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I *greatly* enjoyed this conference. The act of bringing together these very bright, opinionated, and talented people from such a wide range of backgrounds was wonderful... One of the most energizing I have *ever* been too. (And yes that is about 20 years worth of geek conferences.)" - (America 2010 Attendee)


"eComm was a great event. I enjoyed the content but especially enjoyed the opportunity to network with some of the smartest most innovative thinkers in the business." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"Well run logistics. High density of new insights" - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I don't think I've encountered the richness and density of new information relevant to me in another conference." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"The speed and diversity of the talks is much better at eComm than other conferences. Also, the lack of marketing by presenters is a welcome change." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I rate eComm as the best conference attended in my 15 years of being in the Telecom industry. I feel this way because of the intense delivery of information, that ability to gain all of it (not having to choose one of the other) and it's positioning towards emerging and future concepts. I get to interact with innovative and knowledgeable people." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I was extremely pleased with the entire experience, both form a human and technical perspective. I met some outstanding people and the majority of talks were interesting and informative. A lot to take in a very fast paced format." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"The event was much better than expected" - (America 2010 Attendee)


"Excellent conference. The combination of bringing together the best thinkers and the best doers in this part of the industry is of great value." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"Loved the small conference format. The presos. The people. The ideas. The passion." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"I greatly enjoyed the conference and have taken away much insight, understanding and inspiration for future communications, computing and human interaction." - (America 2010 Attendee)


"My first time at eComm, and I thought it was just awesome. A great event. Well organized and full of very good presentations." - (America 2010 Attendee)

I took an entire month out, the longest vacation in my life. Now I'm full of great positive energy which will be required for the mission going forwards, so I'm very pleased I did. eComm was largely on hold whilst long-term (2-5 year out) decisions were being made. It was for these two reasons that things have been quiet over the last month.

A core decision was whether I had the required energy, enthusiasm, interest and time to pour further into facilitating the community that eComm represents, in order to drive things further towards a "satisfactory conclusion". I've always forfeited any form of monetary reward (even to the point of shunning any personal expenses) and it's taken considerable investment to go from zero to the current position in only two years. Adding weight to the decision is my own personal stance that if I agree to do anything I will do it well and I will ensure that I create value which extends well beyond me in the process. Furthermore, I've got unlimited valuable demands on my time, many desirable creative ventures which would already take lifetimes to fulfill, as well as lucrative offers for my time.

Back at the computer history museum in March 2008, I clearly saw 7 steps to get to "our venerable goal"; a certain position that will be a great source of value, a great cause and with a lot of positive side-effects for a great number of people. Last month's event coincided with the completion of "step 4".

I've taken the necessary time to ensure I can commit. I can. Now is the time to band together and to take the next step, "step 5". I greatly hope, expect and anticipate that those passionate about communications innovation, the future of communications, will assist me in this meaningful endeavor, as details emerge.

Regards, Lee
Photos are being uploaded throughout the day to, some examples below.

JP Rangaswami

Marc A Smith


David A. Burgess

Jason Kolb



Tom Katis

Christine Perey





Craig Walker

US National Broadband Plan Panel


US National Broadband Plan Panel

Chris Matthieu

Richard Bennett

Benoit Schillings

Julia Tsao

Benoit Schillings


Doc Searls

Donovan Jones

Cullen Jennings


America 2010 Program Guide Now Available

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The full program guide for next week's Emerging Communications Conference & Awards, America 2010 may now be downloaded here. I've copied the introductory text below.

Welcome to eComm America 2010
I'm delighted that you've joined us for the 4th Emerging Communications & Awards, American Edition.

Back at the 2008 debut, we pushed Google and Apple centre-stage, a first for a telecom conference. It was also the first to cover both the iPhone and Android. We gave positive backing to Android at a time when press did not. More significantly it's where I'd proclaimed that the "phone" was dead and by what appeared staged chorography, Mark Rolston articulated that the phone had became "it"; the "new singularity".

It seemed unlikely to many; the impression was we'd stepped too far ahead. However the following year, that was silenced when Ge Wang appeared onstage and started blowing into his iPhone, using it as a globally networked social flute.

The second part of my prediction given at 2008 and a long-term view was that ecommerce, tele/communications, entertainment, and media would fuse - another reason why the decline of the "telephone" and even discrete "calls" was inevitable.

Now an accelerating ingredient has arrived in the form of mobile augmented reality (AR), which caught the audience imagination at the debut European show towards the end of last year.

This new medium and interface will hasten the dissolution of those boundaries, accelerating an exciting new technological world at the collapse of centuries old delimitation. Furthermore, AR will eradicate the boundaries between "online" and "offline"; and it will firmly embed both computing and communications into our lives moment to moment. It's both scary and wondrous.

Such transformations emerging in global telecommunications and media require big thoughts and big bets. We hope that you find eComm the venue for those thoughts to be shared and heard.

I'd like to think that what happens this week will have reverberations globally. The significance of which should not be understated, as the future of communications will have profound effects on our lives, our relationships; society, the economy and of course, our culture.

I'm glad you've joined such a valuable community and I very much look forward to three very immersive days, together.

Lee S Dryburgh
Founder, eComm

Organizer Message

I'm very pleased to say that the final schedule is now complete. It's been a lot of work. 85 of the confirmed sessions can be found below.

This may well be the last Emerging Communications Conference & Awards that is open to the public at large. The 2011 event may be by invitation only. If this is the case, we'll honor all past participants (including those who attend next week) by automatically granting invites to future events. However all other future people wishing to attend will need to receive an invitation (or apply and then be assessed according to criteria which would be set in due course).

The first conference back in 2008 attracted 280 people with no marketing and no sales team, relying on community word of mouth to propagate to those who would benefit. 2009 attracted 360 under similar circumstances. If ticket sales this week continue today and tomorrow at the same rate, next week may be larger still. I'd like to put a break on those numbers, to protect against further escalation at the 2011 event. I'd rather lock the numbers at 400 maximum and then spend research and effort selecting the audience instead over the coming years.

I think this direction had been coming for a while without me quite realizing it. This comment ("you are totally, and utterly underselling the first day....To be completely honest, this line up would sell itself. I'm not sure the casual reader of the schedule will pick this up") following the last update prompted me to start rethinking. To date I've ran it as a service, primarily intended for friends. I've ensured that I've not been paid a single dollar (by ensuring that any surplus is spent back out on attendees). Likewise with the event next week; which is why I've just authorized an extensive WiFi upgrade as well as free drinks on all three nights.

I've saw each event as a masterpiece, each with a theme. Although 90%+ of people report on feedback forms that it exceeded their expectations, I don't think a substantive amount are connecting all the available dots and understanding the "piece" as a unit. As such, there is more room for value to be created. I'd always assumed that people would apply their intellectual horsepower to back engineer, to extrapolate so as to make valuable connections and inferences. But it turns out that a significant proportion of people simply don't have the time and/or would much prefer some formal "pre-chewing" and post-event "chewing", delivered in a way for quick and actionable consumption.

For example I'm totally jazzed about mobile augmented reality (AR) since it came of age at the end of 2009. So much so, the last day is dedicated to it and now it's stretching to a 12-hour day! It's going to be amazing and will be the first such commercial gathering. But in conversation with friends privately recently, it was evident that nobody (except Martin Geddes) understood the very likely tight coupling between AR and "communications". Such a tight coupling offers immense opportunities for a substantial percentage of companies in the mobile/telecom/Internet communications space. Let me tickle you. AR has been about overlaying the "online space" (e.g. media/information) onto the "offline" world (AKA "real world"), i.e. providing visual metadata. But significant opportunities are up for grabs (in the greenfield sense) by applying to communication services.

AR could be used as the interface to interact with the "digital space", in our case, communications services. For example you could "see" AR created photo frames in your living room of people you cherish. If one of these people calls you, their photo frame could flash and it's general color state could indicate how long ago since the last call from that person (if it's too long the photo frame can vanish). If you wish to create a conference call, you could "pick up" two such photo frames and knock them together. You can keep building out from there, e.g. have texts (SMS) displayed as sticky notes on the photo frame. Already magazines are beginning to embrace AR and it's a logical step to add in communication services, e.g. advertisements have an AR component such as an AR overlaid Twitter feed. This is all entirely possible. It will generate significant value and it's just the beginning. The question is where would your company fit in such a value chain? Whom should you partner with?

In the same veign, it's worth noting that Michael Gervautz very recently became a Director of Business Development at Qualcomm, following Qualcomm's recent acquisition of Imagination Computer Services (he's speaking on Day 3). Google made its first ever UK acquisition recently, by acquiring Plink. The two founders will work on Google Goggles (the lead engineer of Google Goggles keynoting the start of day 3).

Now aside from people wanting more "human processing" type services in conjunction with the event, the value of events is going down. The number of events is mushrooming and it's creating more noise relative to signal. Many of these events seem to be seeking ever higher numbers in order to use the attendee count as the primary metric to sell to sponsors. You know when "real" value is being driven out when competitions are held to win material things, from hotel and flight coverage to a new car or "VIP" passes are thrown around free. I think the future of events is changing and both attendees and sponsors will migrate from such scattergun type events towards more niche, well-defined, focused events, particularly those that are best at fostering the most valuable conversations.

All in all, I see benefit by putting a brake on attendee numbers for 2011, and the start of ongoing audience curation, as well as the introduction of pre, during and post-event support materials Etc. At the other end of the spectrum I'd also like to see the creation of Emerging Communication "unconferences"; small scale, low-cost/low-entry fee type events around various cities, with a propensity towards developers, hackers and general all-round grassroots innovation.

No final decisions have not been made and I look forward to hearing feedback in the coming weeks, particularly because the event has always been community-driven.

I look forward to seeing many of you next week. If you have any questions etc. I'd contact me in the next few hours because I'll be going to spend sometime with my 3-year old in Austria before going over to London then over to San Francisco.


Lee S Dryburgh (Founder)

PS Only 1 hour night tutorial slots are left. If you're interested in tendering to provide such a tutorial, email me directly at lee.dryburgh AT

PSS The mobile application award winners were recently announced, see 5:40pm-6pm on Day 2 here.

Confirmed Talks

Next Event

The Emerging Communications Conference & Awards takes place in just 18 days at the San Francisco Airport Marriott. It will prove to be the largest worldwide gathering of the communications innovation community to date.

A late bird pricing category has now been added to help smooth out ticket sales (it's not been activated yet, register here before it is). The hotel is still accepting the greatly discounted group rate.

I have to say wow, what a fantastic schedule has now come together. 72 of the confirmed talks (so far) and speakers can be found below (panels to appear later).

The schedule tells it's own amazing story. The future is arriving quicker than I'd imagined in many regards. There's an incredible amount to be gleaned and extrapolated from the talk titles and descriptions alone. I think my favorite quote this time around from a talk description could be this one:

"Communications services, including social media, become just facets of global commerce platforms."

By attending you'll have the opportunity to meet, share and learn from the highest regarded thought-leaders who not only form the speaker list but also much of the audience. You'll also have access to coherent information and knowledge well in advance of it appearing in the public domain. Finally you'll also save a great deal of time by attending because the 3 immersive days spent together will put you that far ahead. Quite simply, if you're in the telecom, mobile or Internet communications business and you need to track what's next, I'd be completed amazed if you can't get substantial ROI on the investment. As such, I hope to see many of you there soon.

I'd like to thank everyone involved in setting the content (speakers, advisory board, close friends). Once again we've created the best and most cutting-edge communications event. I believe it will generate a lot of value and is therefore a wise investment of our time.

Please help keep the event "pure" (non-tradeshow, sold slots etc.) and help the communications innovation community grow further by forwarding this email to anyone who may care about the future of telecom, mobile and Internet communications.


Lee S Dryburgh (Founder)

PS Only 1 hour night tutorial slots are left. If you're interested in tendering to provide such a tutorial, email me directly at lee.dryburgh AT

68 Confirmed Talks

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We are still in the process of adding some confirmed speakers and we're now planning the panels. 68 of the confirmed talks and speakers can be found below.

We only plan two 30 minute panels. One panel will be entitled "US National Broadband Plan" and we already have some great panelists lined up. Details of which will start to appear onsite later this week. The other panel is something new and somewhat risky from a production standpoint; an "open panel". The idea is to not set a topic nor panelists and to do both live, using the audience.

Please help spread the word by adding a banner (here) to your website/blog.


Lee S Dryburgh (Founder)

PS The hotel has only reserved 400 room nights for the event (we used more last year) and the cut off date is soon (to get the 159.00 rather than 239.00 room rate). Details here, online booking here

Confirmed Talks (So Far)

New Speakers and Sponsors Added

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New Speakers and Sponsors Added

Last week I'd said:

...I see a migration of value away from basic [telecom] services ever more towards interfaces, ones far more agile, "air like", fluid and rendered on the fly according to social circumstances and precise Cartesian coordinates.

As a response I was sent a link this Curious Displays video. It helps to conceptualize the "air like" direction I was referring to. As a result Julia Tsao is being added to the conference schedule.

I'm also pleased to announce that the opening back to back keynotes on day one has now been finalized with the addition of JP Rangaswami (Chief Scientist, British Telecom and Chairman, Ribbit). JP was invited because of his decision to acquire the 2008 lanyard sponsor (Ribbit) in the months following the event for 105 million USD. I was recently speaking with JP and had said that people were asking what BT is doing with Ribbit, i.e. why the purchase, does it still seem a good decision two years later and where is it going? The subsequent purchase of the 2009 lanyard sponsor (JaJah) for 207 million USD by Telefonica has only served to underline interest. People are wonding if acquisitions of nimble communication innovators (i.e. "core eComm") for huge sums by major carriers is beneficial and if so, why and should we expect more of it? I'm looking forward to JP sharing his answers and his vision with the eComm audience next month.

I'm pleased to announce new sponsors again. Our friends at Skype have taken a Platinum sponsorship position. Skype's unwaivering support the past year has been much needed by the community. RebelVox and Ringio have kindly taken lunch sponsorships. Others interested in sponsoring should complete this form. We're still slightly short of necessary sponsor revenue to break-even (my time is gratis to the community). It would be very easy to get sponsors if we let the companies set the content and send their marketing VP etc. But we don't. In fact a major phone manufactuer wanted to buy a keynote day opening position. The proposal was turned down on content grounds. This reminds me what Andreas Constantinou (VisionMobile) put on his feedback form last year:

"Much more attention to detail on the format and facilities and much better at getting together thought leaders rather than people with impressive titles"

Principles are great but they don't cover costs.

So please help spread the word in order to keep the event "pure" and thought-leadership driven rather than slipping towards the tradeshow direction. At a minimum this means email at least ten people who may have interest. Tomorrow I'll send another update with a list of the scheduled talks (so far).



PS The hotel has only reserved 400 room nights for the event (we used more last year) and the cut off date is soon (to get the 159.00 rather than 239.00 room rate). Details here, online booking here