We at Viastak often have the pleasure of visiting the most prestigious industry events, and this week a number of us travelled down to the ExCel Centre in East London to visit the 2016 Cloud Expo Europe.  The expo also encompassed the Cloud Security Expo, Smart IoT London and Data Centre World events, combining a plethora of stands from different technology industry figures.  With so much on offer to do, in addition to a huge number of seminars to attend, it was something of a departure from this author’s last visit to the ExCel! (It was for Comic-Con.  Let’s not elaborate further.)

The stands ranged from the conventional to the interactive, to the frankly bizarre – on the latter, see the stand below:

Microsoft Stand

(Check the top left corner to see which little-known tech business decided to put on this Caribbean show!)

Oracle opted for an inflatable stand, while IBM chose to hang circular banners from the ceiling UFO-style (or at least, we liked to think of it as such).  No expense had been spared on some of the other stands either, which included virtual reality motor racing (sitting in a F1 car replica) and a Crystal Maze-esque glass case that blew coloured balls around at high speed, to see who could collect the most of the right colour.  Not to mention free coffees, sweets and candy floss, and more raffles than one could shake a stick at.  Sadly, we didn’t win.

The meat of the Cloud Expo Europe, however, was rooted in its seminars and presentations – though attendance was so high that some theatres had to provide headsets for its listeners, to ensure they caught every word of their presentations.  It would have been impossible to attend them all, since there were so many going on simultaneously all day, but it is always fascinating to hear alien perspectives on how the cloud is progressing, and what makes it so special in the world of business today.  Gamma, one of our suppliers, gave an interesting insight into their research on what the modern enterprise really wants from cloud-based telephony services – in terms of better service, efficient troubleshooting and true partnerships with their provider.  In short, what is often deemed as “business-class support.”  Those close links are something that we have always strived to create at Viastak; we feel that it is the only way to truly support our clients.

Other presentations focused more on looking towards the future, with an emphasis on the impact of the Internet of Things and the key challenges that it faces.  It was a truly spectacular statistic to learn that, within the next decade, everyone on the planet will have on average three devices connected to the Internet.  That Internet of Things is fuelled by cloud computing, and providers such as Amazon Web Services are already leading the way with innovations such as the Dashbutton – a smart device which you can attach to any surface, and press to order a particular product from Amazon at the time you realise you are running low on it.

It was no surprise to hear repeatedly that security and lack of control are the two biggest consumer concerns about the cloud – they traditionally have been.  The development of GRC (Governance Risk management and Compliance) technology, and the privacy code of practice set out by the Information Commissioner’s Office, have tightened the regulations around how secure the cloud is and how it can assess other risks to your business.  In particular, encrypting – a regular practice in the AWS cloud that Viastak is supported by – is now listed as a leading PET (Privacy Enhancing Technology).

The Cloud Expo Europe was hugely informative and, in many cases, entertaining!  We congratulate the organisers who did a great job with such a big event, and all the companies who took part.