Last month, during Mon-Wed 20-22 July 2020, I attended the INCOSE 2020 International Symposium. It has been scheduled to be hosted in Cape Town in South Africa. The promotional informational information is still available here.
Due to the international situation with the coronavirus, the event was held virtually. I’m not familiar with the hosting technology, but it certainly worked well for me. The schedule over the three days included three parallel tracks, with live presentations of several keynotes, 5 panels, various invited content and over 50 paper presentations. The formal schedule was complemented by INCOSE Cafe sessions to attempt to help the informal networking, always a big feature of conventional symposia.
So to us, what went well and what not so well?
What went well?
Broadly speaking it was a great success, with lots of content on various familiar topics including: system architecting, MBSE, requirements engineering and process tailoring. More unusual content attracted further topic tags: machine leaning and Artifical Intelligence; circular economy; cyber security; asset management. The online schedule enabled one to navigate by day, time, session and track. One could then click to join the online session. Attendees were able to download both the papers and (in most cases) the presentation material. Even after the symposium ended it was possible to view the Q&A trail and to ask additional questions. It was also possible to provide presentation feedback.
One particular feature we liked during the sessions was the concurrent windows into attendees, chat and Q&A. The chat in particular made it possible to ask ‘the audience’ dumb questions (like “what is that acronym?”), which would never be easily possible in a live venue.
And not so well?
What went not so well? In our view, very little. One very minor annoyance of the hosting technology was when you went back to ‘schedule’ it put you back to beginning of Day 1; it would have been more useable (IMHO) to have gone back to the place in the schedule of the session / track that was just in.
Oh and of course, missed the opportunity to miss visit the beautiful South Africa thanks to coronavirus – still at least we saved on travel expenses!
All in all, the 2020 International Symposium was brilliant virtual conference! Watch this space to further posts highlight some of our own favourites from this year’s IS!