Highlights from Orange Business Live Amsterdam

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This year's Orange Business Live in Amsterdam was notable for the big team of bloggers that attended the event, covering sessions on their own blogs, the Orange Business Live blog and Posterous. Now that a week has passed, I thought it would be a good idea to round up some of the content to give you a flavor of the plenaries, breakouts and some color from the event.

As the key annual event for Orange Business Services customers in Europe, Orange Business Live rotates around different cities in the continent. With this year taking place in Amsterdam there was a lot of Orange with Dutch football fans sporting the color to support their team at the World Cup in South Africa.

Orange blogger Rob Evans wrote about how the presence of all these bloggers at the event was evidence of importance of social media building trust and interaction between business and its customers. With the move away from email to new forms of communication, this will become ever more important, he says. Even new Orange CEO Vivek Badrinath paid a visit to the blogger room to see the team in action.

External bloggers included Joanne Jacobs, who did an impressive turn live blogging from the event as it happened. You can see her coverage of the opening plenary, her take on the cloud computing breakout, and her blog on the afternoon session. All of the bloggers posted links to their stories on the Orange Business Live posterous page, which includes text, video and images from the event. More video interviews filmed in the Orange Business TV studio will be coming online in the next few days.

There was much more business confidence in evidence at this year's Orange Business Live. Since last year's event, the worldwide economy has been improving, with China and Brazil highlighted as particularly strong growth markets. Orange CEO Badrinath said he was cautiously optimistic although the world had changed forever as a consequence of the economic crisis.

Given its prominence over the last year, its little surprise that cloud computing was one of the key topics covered at Orange Business Live. Didier Jaubert, senior vice president of global services, gave us an insight into how Orange sees cloud computing fitting into its portfolio.  Further sessions delved into how companies should approach cloud computing to take care of their security and performance requirements. Keynote speaker Peter Sondergaard from Gartner also highlighted cloud computing in his presentation looking at the top three technologies for 2010.

Telepresence loomed large at the event with a number of speakers addressing the event through video, and delegates also able to see the development of 3D Telepresence in action. A number of customers also shared their experiences with Telepresence and how it was radically different from video conferencing, in both uptake and usability.

Mobility is another key trend and Orange shared its plans for global mobile device management and why it's vital to upgrade fixed networks to cope with the continued explosion of mobile data. A breakout session also explained a three-step approach for enterprises to best manage their mobile users. Telecommunications can play a part in making smart cars smarter claimed another session, which looked at the development of smart electricity grids. Other aspects of green IT, such as the value of IT in cutting overall emissions were also explored at the event.

Communications technology is finding its way into many different industry sectors, and at the event we heard about how m-health is helping patients manage chronic diseases and doctors share medical information. Satellite broadband has also transformed the shipping industry by helping crew members stay in touch with their families and optimise voyages in real time. And Foreign Ministries also shared their special requirements for communications at the event, such as the importance of reliable networks in all locations.

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.