Friday, 25 October 2013

Flexing our media muscles in Brussels at ISSE 2013

This week I jumped on the Eurostar and headed to the annual ISSE conference (one of my favourite events in the MCC calendar). The two-day IT security event is the result of twelve months of hard work from the team at EEMA, TeleTrust and Revolution Events as well as many other organisations who come together to put on a conference that places content at the heart of the event.

MCC International has had the pleasure of running the press office for over ten years in cities including Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, Budapest, Warsaw and Madrid. This year it was our pleasure to welcome members of the media from across Europe (and a few beyond) to Brussels for the second year in succession. ISSE is perennially popular with the media as it always attracts the big names to speak and a very high calibre delegate, making it the ideal place to spend quality time with the who’s who of IT security.

This year they were treated to presentations from Google’s Mayank Upadhyay, Chief Executive of the International Cyber Security Protection Alliance, John Lyons (both of whom prompted a lot of debate on Twitter and in the corridors following their keynotes), and Kim Cameron from Microsoft.  In fact, it is a curious phenomenon listening to the presentations being given, whilst reading Tweets commenting on what is being said in real-time. Sat at the back of the packed auditorium it was impossible to detect who the main protagonists were.

Arriving back in the office on Wednesday morning I was delighted to receive an email from a journalist saying: “Congratulations to you and the ISSE 2013 team on producing an excellent event. Some really well-pitched presentations, I learned a lot.”

So, I would like to say a huge thank you to all of the members of the media that joined us at ISSE 2013 and to everyone who makes the event a compelling pull. I look forward to seeing you all again next year.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Online Dinosaur?

There has been some debate in the MCC International office recently about the role of email in business and in our lives in general. In some ways it represents a technology anachronism, a tool dating from the earliest days of online that has, in some cases, changed little in the last decade or so. In a world where social media, IM and online file transfers have easily superseded it in terms of flexibility and availability, the humble email is showing its age. You can’t easily tell if the recipient has read and digested your message, the file swapping size is tiny by modern standards (a couple of photos could bounce back!) and there can easily be long delays in any response (if it comes!) – it could easily have gone  the way of the Dodo long ago. In many ways it emulates its traditional offline predecessor (Snailmail anyone? - even that email-era nickname seems old now!!), sharing many of its faults - and yet it’s still clinging on! I had wondered why myself until recently, when the slightly archaic online service I still use for my personal emails (13 years and counting!!) decided to go offline - and for an undetermined period.

Business email systems are still important for many organisations. They represent an electronic version of the paper memo (for those that can remember the ‘Cc’ stands for ‘Carbon Copy’, a throwback to the days of simple paper duplicates!) Certainly this old-fashioned legacy has lost it favour amongst the upcoming generations now leaving school. Email is not ‘cool’ and for many young workers represents a very old-fashioned way of doing things. Even at my age I find emailing a bank a frustrating experience for example, IM is so much more immediate and helpful. So when I lost my email access I wasn’t immediately bothered. But then when I thought about it, the connotations were more worrying. If you use online banking, where do you get notifications? (or a password reset) If you buy something online where do they send an invoice/confirmation? If an item is faulty (in my case a TV) where does the manufacturer want to send the returns details? If you book travel or hotels, where does the confirmation go? Despite its apparent inflexibility, your email address still represents a secure point for the online community to recognise. It’s actually the closest we get to a virtual letterbox. And in the same way as if you got locked out of your home, it’s difficult to easily prove who you are or to get secure services without it.

Thankfully my dinosaur of an email service has been restored and I have access to all those Amazon receipts and old bank statements again (hooray!) – but it’s been a real eye-opener for me. As old and unsexy as the technology may seem it’s still important to us in the second decade of the 21st Century and I am very seriously thinking of registering all my online services with a more mainstream (and hopefully more reliable!) provider. But then, that’s quite a hassle in itself – much like changing your physical home address or mobile number it involves a fair amount of running around!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Launching The Latest News Site For Technology In The Solent Region

A new website has launched this week that aims to share the technology innovations and successes being made by businesses in the Solent region. Solent Tech News is being run by our journalist team based here at MCC International.

In addition to the latest tech stories we will also be profiling some of the key movers and shakers that are helping to keep our region one of the most ground-breaking in the UK in the Solent spotlight.

Our academic institutions attract some of the brightest young science and technology talent to the area and there is a thriving entrepreneurial start-up culture, as well as many large national and international brands that choose to have their operations in the area.

Solent Tech News is a resource for all of these individuals and organisations to share their stories with the local tech community and beyond. So, if you have an interesting news story please send it to: