Is the Conference of the Future a Borderless Communication Experience?

February 27, 2020

Updated Mar. 23, 2020: BOCOM has been postponed til Sept. 3, 2020 

With growing demand for more personalized, interactive event experiences, organizations around the world have been working to reinvent meetings. BOCOM — the self-described first borderless communication experience worldwide — is a step towards what could become the conference of the future.

BOCOM officials say the April 23 multisite event will enable participants to experience future digital meeting and work technologies and their impact on daily business life.

The idea behind BOCOM is intriguing: to overcome the borders of mobility, language, communication, culture and workplaces — and to act as a test lab for the opportunities and potential of decentralized conferences. The agenda is focused on new ways of mobile and collaborative working, including human-machine interaction such as augmented reality and virtual reality, remote simultaneous interpretation and conversational interfaces.

Individual locations will offer additional networking and content, creating a personalized experience for each attendee. Agendas will comprise different elements and experiences, such as keynotes, hands-on sessions, collaboration with others in workshops, networking during coffee breaks or live-streamed content.

The event is the brainchild of the “Future Meeting Space” innovation network, in partnership with c4 Berlin and visitBerlin. Founded by the GCB German Convention Bureau and the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, FMS aims to define technical, organizational and spatial conditions for successful events of the future.

GCB Managing Director Matthias Schultze says that BOCOM will bring a wide range of new technologies together, enabling people from very different backgrounds – from event planners to tech solution providers – to experiment, try out new tools, ask questions, engage in discussions with others and be inspired.

“The way we collaborate, communicate and meet has changed hugely in recent years,” says Schultze. “We are in the midst of the digital transformation and it is high time we put the inherent opportunities and challenges to a practical test.”

BOCOMBOCOM will take place simultaneously at a central conference hub in Berlin and satellite locations in Washington DC, Vienna and Amsterdam. 

An exclusive number of tickets can be purchased for the central hub in Berlin. Participation in the satellite hubs is by invitation only, but access to the event livestream will be available free of charge.

Participation in the main agenda will vary based on time zones — for instance, Washington will join the conference at 4:30 CET/10:30am ET. Schultze says each location will also have unique events or activities, such as a world café workshop in Washington, a field trip in Essen (Germany) and a networking event in Amsterdam. 

While the majority of the speakers will broadcast from Berlin, Schultze says there will be sessions that reflect the borderless communication theme, such as a session on new work and collaboration that will be co-presented by speakers in Berlin and Buenos Aires, and another session with a Nairobi-based presenter.  

BOCOM partners include ALL Accor Live Limitless, AllSeated, Design Offices,, KFP Five Star Conference Service, meetyoo conferencing, Neumann & Müller Veranstaltungstechnik, nomtek, Siemens, Tourismus NRW, Ungerboeck and VR Business Club. Sustainability research on the impact of a multisite event vs. a traditional conference is supported by the German Federal Environmental Foundation.

BOCOM registration will open in early March. Free online participation will be available via GCB’s free-of-charge livestream. For more information, and to register, go here.


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