Cyperposium 2005: Realizing the Value of Convergence

The 10th annual Cyberposium conference was held last weekend on the Harvard Business School campus, attracting approximately 800 MBA candidates, professional executives, analysts and scholars. Created to explore the business implications of technological innovation, this year’s event focused on “Realizing the Value of Convergence.”

“Convergence is the notion that a person’s entire digital world – data from their professional and personal lives – can be accessed anytime, anywhere, by one single device,” explained conference co-chair, Asim Hussain.

Added fellow co-chair Rudina Seseri, “Convergence has provocative implications for the technology, new media and entertainment industries, and also raises unique adaptation challenges for companies in these fields.”

Topics addressed via panel discussions and keynote presentations fell into five general categories: communication and connectivity; consumer-facing technologies; media and entertainment; technology in the industry; and the next age of entrepreneurship.

The event was kicked off by keynote speaker Tom Leighton, co-founder of Akamai, who called upon the federal government to invest in long-term Internet security research. Dozens of panels held throughout Friday and Saturday tackled issues ranging from the next generation of search engine technology and the winning business model for online music to the future of nanotechnology and the next generation IPOs. Senior executives from companies including Sony, Microsoft, Cingular Wireless, Gillette, BMG Music and IBM presented.

Cyberposium is produced entirely by students. This year, 75 Harvard MBA students took part in developing and running the conference, along with contributing partners from Babson College, Boston College, Columbia University and MIT Sloan School of Management.

Weber Shandwick, a global public relations agency with an office in Cambridge, was tapped to conduct press outreach for the event. Over 20 press delegates registered, representing publications ranging from The Boston Globe to Fast Company.

“For all of the topics covered, Cyberposium landed high-level executives from the key industry players – for example, Google, Yahoo & Ask Jeeves for search and key founders of the RFID movement,” said Anne McCrory, executive editor of the CIO Decisions Media Group at TechTarget. “The stature of the speakers and their insights showed the importance of the event – for the industry, it was an opportunity not to be missed.”

AMD, Avaya, Microsoft, Symantec and Yahoo!Search also lent their support to the conference and had delegates on hand displaying their respective companies’ latest product offerings.