I am very happy to be reporting from the Hostingcon 2007 http://hostingcon.com/2007/ in Chicago, where I spent the last 3 days assisting to conferences on current and future trends, opportunities and issues the web hosting industry is facing. I also took the time to visit the different exhibitor’s booth and discuss with a wide range of hosting specialists present on the trade show floor. So my comments on the whole event? Amazing city, friendly people, knowledgeable speakers and an overall very well organized and interesting Hostingcon.
On the menu, a wide variety of conferences separated into four tracks: marketing, growth opportunities, technology and leaders. The subjects ranged from the “Future of Hosted Messaging and Collaboration”, the “Modern SEO (search engine optimization) techniques”, the “Billion Dollar SaaS Opportunity”, to the “Competitive Advantage of Customers Service”.
Some of the most memorable and fascinating moments were the different guess speakers invited to address a room full of fellow colleagues and specialists of the industry. Attendees were all ears when Chris DeWolfe, former CEO of MySpace and now chairman of Demand Media, came to talk about the “Next Generation Web: What Lies Ahead for Hosting”. Liam Eagle, a journalist from the WHIR.com, covers the event in details in his blog entitled: “HostingCon 2007: Does Richard Rosenblatt Get
it?.” (Please read if you are interested)
Following this high profile event was a panel discussion with the cream of the crop of the industry. Serguei Beloussov (SWsoft CEO), Lou Honick (HostMySite CEO), David Koston (cPanel operations manager) and Sean Richards (technical director of Touch Support) who discussed the situation of with “Service Enablement”. For more information read HostingCon 2007: The Situation with “Service Enablement” written by Liam Eagle.
Finally, the 2007 Hostingcon ended on a strong note with impressive technology figures whose insightful and convincing speeches gave us an idea of what lies ahead in the near future. Jinesh Varia, Web Services Evangelist for Amazon talked about the new hosting service with Amazon. Chris Gladwin, President and CEO of Cleversafe presented a new method of storing data called Dispersed Storage that is more private, more secure and a lot more reliable than copy-based data storage. Lastly, Jeff Richards, Vice President, Digital Content Services at VeriSign introduced Verisign’s Broadband Content Delivery Services which will facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) rich content delivery from media and other large companies.
So in a few lines, what did I get out of this Hostingcon 2007:
The growth and the profit margins of the web hosting industry are slowing while the competition is continuously increasing. There are opportunities to break the current barriers and get out of the mold we currently know and follow. The industry needs to find other ways to describe webhosting and attract new customers than by advertising unlimited bandwidth, 100 GB of storage, 500 free email accounts and by slashing 50% off the current retail price. The natural expansion or diversification of the industry seems to be pointing toward the SaaS model with Exchange Hosting and Hosted Sharepoint on the forefront, virtualization, grid computing (both on the storage and cpu side) and other exciting technologies. Finding ways to provide a unique and fully automated service to customers by offering tailored applications fully intergraded into one system will allow hosting companies to attract and retain their clientele. Finally I’ll leave you with one quote that I think summarizes what I got out of the conferences and the trade show: “Transformed or be transformed…”
Overall, it was a delightful and very inspiring Hosting Conference. As a guest, I would like to thank and congratulate everyone involved in that event. I’m definitely looking forward to next year!