IT'S just after noon in a conference centre somewhere miles from home, and you're either sliding down your chair or hanging off the end of it.
Even the most sadistically-niche conference wants more of the former than the latter, which is why it’s always interested in information about who ruled the room and who stank out the joint like last month’s fish.
But what if they could get that information in real time during the conference itself?
Gateshead’s own ideas conference, Thinking Digital, is looking to try out a system like this, thanks to rapidly growing North East digital business Screenreach.
The Hoults Yard company will be showing off its interactive platform Screach at the conference at The Sage next week, but it’s also looking to demonstrate a few of its applications.
New Screenreach marketing guru Sarah Athey says the company will be allowing conference attendees to vote on speakers, and would also be making key announcements on new partnerships during the event.
She says: “We’ve created an experience whereby delegates can vote on speakers in real time, and your picture even comes up to say you’ve voted.
“You can also go into the Screach application on your phone and get the full conference itinerary.”
Screenreach is just one regionally based technology company showcasing its wares at Thinking Digital, which returns to the region from Tuesday to Thursday (May 24 to 26).
Another is Newcastle’s Mobicart – a mobile commerce app-builder for platforms such as iPad, iPhone, Blackberry and Android – launched last September at California’s DEMO conference.
Founder Wladimir Baranoff-Rossine will be making another major announcement at the Gateshead conference and is to take part in a question and answer session with Herb Kim, chief executive of conference organisers Codeworks.
Herb himself was listed at 83 in MediaGuardian’s 2010 power list for his work in raising the digital profile of the North East, and recently found himself at 74 in a similar list by Wired UK.
Baranoff-Rossine says: “I’ll be doing a Q&A with Herb about just how the company started, and the story so far.
“We thought we’d do something a bit different, and it’s a good way to let people know about the product without the hard sell and the 15-minute Powerpoint presentation. It’s a reflection of the fact there’s a really good community in the North East. I don’t think we would have got this opportunity in London as there are so many businesses there.”
As well as a speaker list that includes BBC R&D controller Matthew Postgate, Emotiv co-founder Tan Le, Microsoft Applied Sciences director Steven Bathiche and One Laptop Per Child Europe CEO Walter de Brouwer, Northumberland-based company Palringo will also be exhibiting its instant messaging client for mobiles and computers.
The company has set out to “redefine” instant messaging, with group communication, push-to-talk voice messaging and picture messaging plus integrated location features.
It has also provided solutions to “tier one device manufacturers, mobile operators and Fortune 100 enterprise customers”.
Also coming to Thinking Digital is former football coach Bobby Paterson, whose plan to launch upbeat social application Happiest at the conference was discussed in last Thursday’s Science and Technology section.
Paterson’s team aims to promote positive thinking by allowing users to interact and share the things that make them happy and grateful.