Technology Conferences You Can Actually Attend in 2021
May 17, 2021
It’s no exaggeration to say that 2020 was a challenging year.
As I write this in May 2021, a large percentage of Americans have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and things seem to be trending towards normal. One thing that I really missed in 2020 is being able to attend, and even present at, hardware/making conferences. While things still seem to be ramping up, I’m happy to say that quite a few in-person events will be happening this year. Perhaps there will even be one close to you!
Image Credit: Jeremy Cook (video screencap)
2021 In-Person Tech Conferences
If that sounds interesting, here are a few events that you can go to later this year, in chronological order:
Black Hat USA (Hybrid July 31 - August 5, Las Vegas, NV)
This cybersecurity event:
“will open with four days of Virtual Trainings (July 31-August 3) conducted in real-time online, with all instructors accessible throughout each class. The two-day main conference (August 4-5) featuring Briefings, Arsenal, Business Hall, and more will be a hybrid event—offering both a Virtual (online) Event and a Live, In-Person Event in Las Vegas.”
Data Center World (August 16 - 19, Orlando, FL)
According to their website:
“Data Center World delivers expert strategy and insight on the technologies and concepts you need to know to plan, manage, and optimize your data center. Data Center World 2021 educational conference programming is focused on the rapidly advancing data center technologies like edge computing, co-location, hyperscale, and predictive analytics.”
ITEN Wired - Innovation. Technology. Entrepreneurship. Network. (October 6 - 8, Pensacola Beach, FL)
ITEN bills itself as:
“The Southeast’s premier cybersecurity and IT conference to connect, collaborate and build community with industry leaders, entrepreneurs and educators on innovation, technology and entrepreneurship topics.”
AI Dev World (October 26 - 29 San Jose, California)
Per AI Dev World:
“will be the world’s largest artificial intelligence dev event with tracks covering chatbots, machine learning, open source AI libraries, AI for the enterprise, and deep AI / neural networks.”
My Personal Favorites for 2021?
While I haven’t attended any of the above conferences, they look interesting and informative for their respective industries. One conference I’ve wanted to go back to after attending many years ago was the IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) in Chicago. It appears it will be back in 2022, so maybe next year.
While the technology is interesting, I’ve found that being able to “meet and greet” interesting people with different skills and experiences is the most valuable aspect of any such conference. After being cooped up for the past year, many will likely find this even more valuable than normal.
Below are two events that I’ve attended and thoroughly enjoyed in the past, both for the people and the technology. I’m hopeful that the two below will be live in 2021, but we will see:
Orlando Maker Faire (November 13th and 14th Orlando, FL)
For the past few years, with the exception of 2020, I’ve displayed at Maker Faire Orlando. It’s always a fun event, with a wide variety of attendees–sort of a smaller version of the NY Maker Faire featured here. I’m happy to see that the Orlando Faire will be back for 2021 on November 13th and 14th at the Central Florida Fairgrounds. If you’re going to be in Orlando that weekend, I plan to be there, and I’d love to meet you!
Hackaday Superconference (?)
Image Credit: Jeremy Cook (video screencap)
While I’ve only attended (and presented at) this conference one time, it was one of my personal favorites. Focused specifically on hardware hacking, there are normally a variety of speakers, workshops, and people to meet that readers Embedded Computing Design will certainly appreciate. The good news/bad news here is that they while they haven’t ruled out putting on the conference for 2021, they haven’t committed to it either. What I hear is that if it happens, it will likely be announced later than usual, and have a lower attendance cap than previous years.
Bonus: CES 2022
While technically happening in 2022, CES will be back both digitally and in person on January 5-8 2022, with media days on January 3-4. I’ve yet to make it to what’s perhaps the most famous technology show in the Western Hemisphere, and since you’re reading this, you probably have at least some some vague idea of what these events are all about. Who knows, perhaps 2022 will be the year for me–or for you!
Jeremy Cook is a freelance tech journalist and engineering consultant with over 10 years of factory automation experience. An avid maker and experimenter, you can follow him on Twitter, or see his electromechanical exploits on the Jeremy Cook YouTube Channel!