AT&T Business Summit 2018 - First Impressions and Recap

October 16, 2018  |  Javvad Malik

From the 25th to the 28th of September 2018, I had the opportunity to attend the AT&T Business Summit in Dallas.

I walked away with a whole new perspective on AT&T business, what a conference could be like, and the Dallas Cowboys.

The Future is Here

The show floor at the summit was small when compared to some of the mega-conferences like RSA. But what it lacked in volume, it more than made up for in quality and variety of technologies.on display across different industry verticals.

There were robots that could fold your laundry, or take you on an augmented reality tour of a factory. We were even introduced to “Pepper” a cute interactive robot.

There were a lot of other embedded technologies on display, like portable medical devices, which can be operated by anyone to provide details to a doctor. Or, IoT technology embedded within trucks that can send a whole host of data to allow effective fleet management.

Some of the broad themes from the technology were on display, and the topics discussed on stage included IoT, smart cities, 5G, and software defining of most things.

Day 1 Video Recap

Hitting High Notes with the Keynotes

Showcasing technology aside, conferences can be defined by the quality of speakers and talks that are given. AT&T Business did not disappoint, with some great discussions and presentations by the likes of Malcolm Gladwell, Anderson Cooper, Thaddeus Arroyo, Barmak Meftah, Queen Latifah, Reese Witherspoon, and Tony Blair, to name a few.

Just because the keynotes were great and featured celebrities, it doesn’t mean the other talks were any less impactful.

Some talks that particularly stuck out in my mind included a panel with Kayne Mcgladrey and Derek Scheid who discussed what the future of the SOC (Security Operations Centre) looks like and what companies should do. A particular quote that stuck out for me from the discussion was around the importance of an actual action plan, and how companies can sometimes get fixated on pulling in all the information they can without much thought as to what would happen next.

I believe it was Derek who said, “You shouldn't be proud of what you know. You should be proud of what you do.”

I was also invited to moderate a panel entitled “The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. It featured AlienVault CTO Roger Thornton, Chief Scientist Jaime Blasco, Terra Verde’s Ed Vasko, and Looker CSO Ryan Gurney.

It was a great panel from where I learnt a lot. Ryan, in particular, had some great anecdotes on being the CSO. Recalling that when he joined his current job, he had no office, so had to make do by sitting at a desk in the hallway. The benefit of which he claims is that he was ableto meet and know nearly all the staff as they had to walk by him. He believes that knowing staff and understanding them is the key to good security within a company.

Day 2 Video Recap

Alien Invasion

AlienVault was fully embraced and welcomed with open arms at the summit.

I certainly made a few new friends, and there was no shortage of attendees sporting flashing green AlienVault sunglasses, or Alien masks.

However, perhaps the biggest achievements in the battle to win the hearts and minds, were at the concerts, where Billy Idol, and Gwen Stefani both donned the AlienVault sunglasses.

If that isn’t the sign of a hugely successful event… then I don’t know what is.

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