Navigant Research Blog

A Road Warrior’s Guide to Smart Grid Security Conferences

Bob Lockhart — March 27, 2012

This time of year I often wake up thinking, “What city is this and where am I sleeping tonight?”  Last year I attended 15 smart grid conferences – probably five more than I needed to.  The trick is to find the ones with useful and unique content, and with a wide range of attendees.  Unless I pay attention to what I’m doing, I’ll see the same speakers giving the same presentations several times in quick succession.  That’s a depressing use of time away from home.

Here are some of my strategies for selecting conferences to attend.  They may work for you as well:

  • First, obviously, understand why you attend conferences at all.  For me as a research analyst, good networking is paramount.  Your needs may be different.
  • Have one or two Old Faithful conferences – events where you trust that the host will attract useful speakers, topics, and attendees.
  • Government-sponsored events can offer interesting speakers who may only be approved to speak at their events.
  • Attend some vendor-sponsored events.  The typical attendee at a vendor conference has little use for abstract discussions.
  • Do not attend too many conferences with similar speaker lists.

Some of the conferences I’m looking forward to in the next couple of months:

  • GridSec, March 27-29 in Irving, Texas (Dallas area).  Somewhat of an ‘old home week’ for me – a good place to catch up with many industry colleagues.  I will moderate two panel sessions.  Also this is the one conference during 2012 that I can attend without boarding an airplane.
  • ABB Automation and Power World, April 23-26, Houston, where I will lead two cyber security sessions.  This will be my first time attending an ABB conference.  I plan to spend a lot of time with my mouth shut, learning.
  • Industrial Control Systems Joint Working Group (ICS JWG), May 8-9, Savannah, Georgia.  Hosted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and perhaps the only cyber security conference where you’ll see the FBI speak.  Registration is free, so if you live in the U.S. it’s a chance to see your tax dollars at work.

If you attend any of these events please find me and let’s have a chat.  You can always see which conferences I or the other Pike Research analysts will be attending on our Industry Events page.  If you haven’t already checked out that page, I will warn you – there is a lot of information.  Primary research is our currency, and, like any currency, we want as much as we can get our hands on.

One response to “A Road Warrior’s Guide to Smart Grid Security Conferences”

  1. I dont envy the amount of travel you are doing by any means. As organisers getting the topic and the right speakers, content and then balancing their schedules and abilities to present is always a unique rewarding challenge. Cyber Security as an industry also that poses some hurdles, especially relating to what speakers companies and PR teams will let them say in a public forum. I look forward to writing content year on year and am reaching out to key industry stakeholders for 2013 to assist – I believe organisers (me included!) need to ensure there is significant input from outside parties to lend that third eye..
    Thanks for sharing Bob as always

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