PITTCON was held in Chicago, IL this March 2014 and has always been an event that CSols participates in, no discussion needed; and it’s easy to see why. PITTCON is an annual conference and tradeshow that brings in thousands of analytical scientists of all levels and fills their week with a multitude of activities. Aside from the hundreds of vendor booths to visit at the tradeshow, there’s the technical conference which runs all week with over 7 tracks to join, networking sessions to facilitate information exchange and to encourage mingling. And to keep the mood light, PITTCON even sets up a photo booth and hands out promotional items.
Benefits Received by Attending PITTCON
This year, CSols was selected to participate in the Short Courses, Oral Presentations, and Conferee Networking Sessions. We saw a great turnout for our short course with 20+ registrants who came to learn about Selecting, Planning, and Implementing the right Informatics Solution (LIMS and/or ELN).
Our Networking Conferee Sessions allowed us to interact with a variety of end users and hear their experiences related to laboratory informatics. Topics discussed included; how a LIMS can be beneficial to their environment, how to justify the purchase of an informatics solution, scope creep and how to avoid it, and more technical topics such as authorizing access to different sections of the software. In one of the conferee networking sessions, we even discussed the business benefits of actively using social media and how this contributes to sustaining growth.
The oral presentations provided an opportunity for us to speak to a number of informatics solution topics, like: how to know whether LIMS or ELN is right for your lab and the lessons learned from implementing a LIMS and ELN. Although these were brief talks, we had ample opportunity to chat individually with attendees afterwards.
New Items from PITTCON
The use of technology in the informatics industry is constantly evolving, PITTCON has expended great effort over the past few years to likewise evolve and improve.
- Socially, they’ve added a Twitter Café, Tweet-Ups, a social presence on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter with even a dedicated hashtag for the event!
- The Employment Bureau and Employer Information Center continually improves each year to help connect job seekers and hiring companies
- To bolster attendance at the educational offerings, creative promotions for Short Courses were offered through weekly newsletters
- How about that new Mobile App…if you didn’t get a chance to try it, you missed out! What a great way to view the entire program and schedule your time.
Thoughts from the Floor
When asked around the PITTCON floor, “What did you think of this year’s show?” and “Will you be back next year?”, there were some mixed responses. Many noticed the smaller exhibition size and a decline in floor traffic as the week moved forward. Others mentioned the full rooms of attendees in Oral Presentations and Short Courses. Either way, the majority said they’d return, but didn’t deny that there’s always room for improvement. For a quick overview of new technologies introduced this year, SelectScience put together a 7 minute video interview of a few vendors. You can check it out here.
The Future of PITTCON
PITTCON is a well established conference and tradeshow that adjusts to keep up with industry trends and evolving technology. One can’t help but wonder; is the very thing that PITTCON showcases, be the thing to drive it into extinction?
Technology has offered us new, more effective ways to research analytical instruments and software, collaborate with colleagues, and educate ourselves. That begs the question “Is there still a need to attend conferences and tradeshows?” Or is there! Can PITTCON continue to adapt and reinvent itself with a new purpose, bringing back the large attendance numbers of the past?
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If you attended PITTCON, what is your opinion of the Conference & Tradeshow? Should PITTCON stay the same or should it look to reinvent itself? What changes could be made for improvement?