Impressions on In-Person Day 2 at #HIMSS21

This is my first year attending HIMSS (in-person) although I’ve been to many other conferences, both as a vendor and attendee, including attending HIMSS Europe digitally.

Although Tuesday is officially the second day, it’s really the first day the show is fully open. On Monday there were almost no sessions (unless you paid additional fees) and NO access to any vendor booths.

But on Tuesday, there was both a huge array of choices for sessions and presentations as well as hundreds of vendor booths. By 9:30am nearly all the exhibitors were setup although there were a few, mostly smaller, companies still scrambling. That’s OK, I give them credit for making the effort as there were also vendors who backed-out.

Venue

My impression of the Las Vegas venue (Venetian Sands/Caesar’s) is very good. As I have been warned, MANY times, the conference is large and spread-out, so wear comfortable shoes. There’s one short walk-way outdoors (the “Sky-Bridge”) that you have to cross to move between buildings, but it’s not bad at all. The warm, dry heat is a welcome break from inside. And, according to current state guidelines, you don’t have to wear a mask outdoors when socially distant, so boy does that feel good! Also, on Tuesday, they were giving away watermelon smoothies on the bridge. Yummy.

Sessions

As for the sessions… the ones I attended were a mixed bag. You have to select which ones to attend based on their title and description. Some of the sessions had to rely on “back-up” presenters as the named speaker didn’t (or couldn’t) attend. That might have been why they were so different from the title/description, not sure. One I was really looking forward to was about “block-chain” but instead of discussing that technology, they just talked about why they selected the topic for their prototype and how they managed the project. Bottom line: If you’re hosting a session on a topic, whatever topic you select, make THAT the thing you spend the most time talking about.

Networking

For my team, in addition to the conference sessions and random booth interactions, we had some scheduled appointments with vendors and those went well. For most other conferences, I’ve resisted scheduling appointments because it takes away from the innate, “organic” experience of going where the conference takes you. After all, you could just do most meetings via Zoom, but having a couple of firm appointments seemed to help prevent feeling overwhelmed and I appreciate that those vendors followed-thru on their commitment to show-up and present.

Overall…

Oh, and one more thing, friends who have attended other HIMSS (in-person) events tell me this one has been much LESS crowded. It definitely felt that way. Except for when the booths were giving-out free drinks at 4:00pm, there were no lines and it was easy for me to get a seat at every session. Not sure that makes the organizers very happy or proud, but considering how much this cost, I certainly liked it.