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Knowledgespeak Exclusive: An interview with Clive Snell, Managing Director, Info International - 14 May 2018

Q

Knowledgespeak: Can you briefly talk about the forthcoming ConTech 2018 conference? How does this year compare to last year’s event Info International?

A

Clive Snell: Firstly, we are doing something completely fresh and new with ConTech so any comparison, whilst inevitable, is difficult to make. We wanted to focus on the key issues facing the professional information world and nothing is more significant than the impact of new and emerging technologies on the creation, distribution and consumption of content, hence we developed ConTech. It’s a conference centred event with major emphasis on networking discovery, learning and gaining a real understanding of the threats and the undoubted opportunities that arise with the latest tech developments.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Can you share with us any interesting events / trends for the 2018 Conference?

A

Clive Snell: The main driver is our view that where data science, content and technology are brought together this leads to seismic changes in the landscape. Machine Learning, AI, Blockchain and a range of other new technologies are now driving the pace of change at an incredible rate and keeping on top of this change is essential to securing the future of your content activities.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Why the change of name to ConTech 2018?

A

Clive Snell: ConTech is a brand new event and the name evolved from our thinking that content and technology converges to create a whole new context and hence that concept is captured within the name itself.


Q

Knowledgespeak: You successfully ran London Online a few years back. Back in the day it was a very well attended and respected event, do you think ConTech can be seen as a good replacement?

A

Clive Snell: I don’t think anything will ever replace Online, it was a phenomenon very much of its time. It provided answers to the multitude of questions around the print to digital revolution which was uncharted territory at the time. ConTech’s aim is to provide answers to the data science tech revolution which we believe is even more significant both from an opportunity and threat point of view, and very much an issue of today.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Briefly talk about this year’s papers and how you developed the programme.

A

Clive Snell: The call for speakers closed only a few days ago and we have a good range of interesting material to review with our conference chairs. We are working with five chairs who between them have a depth of knowledge around content and data science that ensures we will be able to create the very best programme. We are also identifying people and companies that are doing interesting tech and reaching out to them to get involved at ConTech. We will be providing the opportunity for some of those to do very brief pitches to gain live audience feedback. The whole programme is currently in development and we are very excited to be able to share it very soon.


Q

Knowledgespeak: Content creation and consumption is changing faster than ever before. How according to you is this impacting business models for publishers and virtually every aspect of the role information plays across organisations.

A

Clive Snell: Smart adoption of data science and other new tech has the potential to enhance and improve revenue lines whilst also reducing costs. The inherent danger is not fully embracing the opportunities and really making fundamental change could easily lead to stagnation, revenue decline and in the worst cases pose existential threats


Q

Knowledgespeak: In what ways will ConTech 2018 inspire how data science can unlock new opportunities for organisations of all types and sizes?

A

Clive Snell: Far too many to list out here. All our sessions will be designed to offer really good practical advice on how to make the most of the data science opportunities. A key question will be “is your organisation data science ready?” Delegates can select sessions to work out how to answer that question and learn how to develop the best strategies, hire the best people and use the best tools. We will also be looking to the future to speculate on what the key issues will be going forward? How does the landscape look and where are the real opportunities? At the same time we will cover basic but really important issues like the ethics of data science, cyber security etc


Q

Knowledgespeak: The intersection between content and data science is seen to be the biggest tech revolution to hit the content world since the birth of the internet - with many opportunities and challenges that content and publishing people need to be actively engaged with. How according to you will ConTech 2018 bring the content and data science community together.

A

Clive Snell: Very simply by programming the event with both communities in mind. More and more data scientists are engaged with content projects. Equally, content professionals need to fully explore the potential that data science brings. Our conference chairs have a full appreciation of both sides. We also have some very exciting ideas around associated events and activities that will bring awareness of ConTech to the broadest possible relevant audience. Watch this space for all the exciting announcements we will make in the next few weeks.....


Q

Knowledgespeak: What’s next? How will you follow the likely success of this years event?

A

Clive Snell: We have lots of plans in development. We intend to live stream the conference sessions with a view to creating a ConTech TV channel to deal more comprehensively with the ongoing issues. We are currently planting the seeds for some international ConTechs as well as developing more focused and issue driven events for 2019 here in UK.


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