Just got back from the Fall ACUTA conference. This conference is for higher-ed professionals in the IT field (specifically, the Telecom world). This conference had two tracks — Emergency Preparedness and Mobile Communications. I spoke in the Mobile Communications track on “Mobile Options at MSU.” We (nearly) filled the house with what seemed to be about 60-70 people (which was great, considering there were about 120 people at the conference! Not only that, but the demos actually worked!
Our session covered MSU’s entrance into the “Mobile Communications World,” or as I call it, the modern world. In the past year, we began to roll out things such as SIP softphones, SIP hardphones, EC-500 and Unified Messaging. Pretty much, all the buzzwords that you are hearing from the industry. I also have a pet-project that I am working on that I showed the group called MSU Presence. It allows users to run their own secure IM clients, all the while being able to communicate with people’s desktop telephones via IM and SIP. Really neat stuff.
All the SIP stuff seemed to amaze the audience. They even asked us to submit our setup to some sort of awards thing they have going on at the national ACUTA conference. We will see how that goes.
The other sessions of the conference only slightly interested me. Most of the topics in our track were about Wireless data technologies, which I really have nothing to do with. It was pretty neat to see people presentations on 802.11n and Meru, but I really don’t have any application for them.
The other track really scared the hell out of me. It had a lot to do with Disaster Planning, E-911 planning, Disaster Preparedness and the works. It’s scary how many schools admitted they have done NOTHING to communicate to their respective communities that something bad happened on their campus. While our campus has done something, I doubt it would work well (our police department likes to do things on their own, on the cheap, without input from others that may have advice or expertise on how those systems work). One topic that was real interesting was the former director of the Firehouse in Columbine, CO during their event in 2000. One thing that resonated with me from his speech was that all of the different departments that were involved (SWAT, Fire, EMS, School, etc.) all were tuning into the MEDIA for information, because they never thought they would have to communicate with each other to that point. Each group was running their own scenarios, but had no way to interact among each other. Scary stuff. What is even more scary is I’m sure this would still be a problem for a majority of the nation.
All in all, I’m glad to be back for a while — I don’t have any conferences I’m expecting to speak at for for at least a few months. That should be nice :)