Earlier this month I had the pleasure of participating in my second coronavirus-necessitated remote/online “virtual” international conference for this year.
For those who harbour doubts about the efficacy of such events, I can only say, after my experience of two very well organised examples, don’t worry. They can be a very effective and economical way of achieving what we used to achieve following considerable time and travel costs. My limited experience tells me that we are likely to have many more of them.
The first I participated in was the United Nations/International Maritime Organisation/ESCAP conference on domestic ferry safety held in Bangkok on March 17. I have reported on it previously.
Suffice to say, it was very well organised and achieved all that was hoped for and more. It did that at minimal cost in time and money. A proposed three-day event was comfortably concluded, following plenty of discussions, in one day. Only one of the 23 participants required airfares or a hotel.
My most recent event, two weeks ago, was the very impressively well-organised Alamarin-Jet waterjet conference, the first of a planned annual event. Its theme was “In pursuit of performance” and its organiser was the very energetic and well-connected John Miele, Alamarin-Jet’s Asia Pacific Sales Manager.
Despite a small technical difficulty, and they still seem to be endemic with remote conferences, John chaired and moderated the event very ably and smoothly from his lair in the Philippines. Most of the 190 participants were very complimentary to John in the days following the event.
One of the perhaps surprising things to come out of these remote events is that you don’t have to physically meet the other attendees to effectively make their acquaintance, nor do you need to be physically present to learn about their products or services. YouTube videos and PowerPoint presentations do a very creditable job of that. Sure, it’s not the same as a physical meeting or inspection, but it is a hell of a lot cheaper and more convenient.
John kept us busy. Much was crowded into a half-day meeting. No one, I’m sure, got bored. Twenty-one companies, including Alamarin-Jet, from 13 countries made presentations. They represented the cream of the world’s diesel engine, and marine equipment manufacturers along with a selection of mainly Asian based naval architects, a hydrofoil manufacturer and, even, Baird Maritime, to provide a general market overview.
Discussion was friendly and well-mannered despite the number of competitors “in the room”. It was all impressively constructive and positive. Numerous good ideas and useful connections came out of the event and the emails were flying among participants for days afterward.
John Miele and Alamarin-Jet are to be congratulated on their fine effort in organising such a useful and enjoyable “virtual” event. Very importantly and usefully, the presentations and discussion have all been recorded and are available at: www.alamarinjet.com/events/