Is Europe Behind the Curve When it Comes to Technology Awareness?
If I asked someone about the first location that will come to their mind when I mention the word “technology,” anyone who has been around for the past ten years would say “Silicon Valley.” In fact, the valley is such a dominant powerhouse of technology innovation that a recent article from Business Insider boldly states that “the European tech scene is still trailing far behind the US.” While I have no doubt that Silicon Valley is much more of an innovation hub, this does not mean that Europe is a technologically clueless spot on the map. It is quite the contrary; based on my comparative experiences at The Data Warehouse Institute (TDWI) conferences at Chicago in May and Munich in June, I assert that Europe is on par with the US in terms of technology awareness.
From an overall conference viewpoint, there were no differences indicative of a disparity between the two regions. In terms of attendance, Europe scored a startling victory over the US with a whopping 1,100 plus attendees compared to roughly 300-350 in Chicago. Furthermore, both conferences conducted sessions with specialized technology topics, such as the Data Virtualization course taught by Mark Peco, an experienced manager in Business Intelligence and Process Improvement. Not only was the content similar, but the conferences also even had some of the same speakers, like Shawn Rogers, President of Analytic Response. I see parity between the two regions as both conferences discussed more advanced data warehousing topics geared towards well-versed enterprises architects, data scientists, and business analysts looking to increase efficiency and business intelligence.
The similarities are corroborated by my personal experience at the conferences: The Denodo booth received an interested crowd at both venues, with like-minded individuals seeking solutions to their data integration challenges. I heard classic business and technical problems like disparate data silos, laborious data acquisition, and lack of agility to meet business demands, repeated in both locations. They were equally aware of data virtualization as a solution to these problems. My colleague, Christian Kurze, elaborated on these topics in a presentation covering an introduction to data virtualization, customer use cases, and how the technology works. It was a pleasure to see 70+ attendees at the session, which actually turned out to be the second largest attendance at the event! The technologists’ shared desire to eliminate data inefficiencies by implementing data virtualization at both Chicago and Munich clearly suggests a level playing field of awareness across the US and Europe.
Using the TDWI conferences as a backdrop for my observations, I witnessed equality shared in literally all aspects of the two conferences other than their geographic distance. Thus, I am led to conclude that Europe is just as technologically aware as the US. What has been your observation?