Collision Tech Conference kicks off today in New Orleans

Collision kicks off today at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center. A new wrinkle this year: for digital nomads unable to make it to the Big Easy, some of the presentations will be live streamed on Facebook.

I hope you’re ready for what’s in store.

That buzz you’re hearing isn’t from last weekend’s festival, it’s the growing number of visitors converging in the Crescent City for Collision 2017.

One of the fastest growing technology conferences in the U.S. officially kicks off today and runs through May 4 at the New Orleans Morial Convention Center.

Nestled in between the two weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Collision 2017 is expecting 20,000 attendees from 110 countries.

Like most tech conferences, the focus is startups. Collision is what happens when you convene CEOs from the fastest growing startups with CEOs from some of the world’s largest companies, investors and media.

Paddy Cosgrove, founder and CEO of Collision and its much larger European counterpart, Web Summit, and his team run a seamless conference that is now larger than SXSW — with more transportation and housing options.

If you’re a first-time attendee, beware that this conference is a tech version of Mardi Gras. There’s a lot to see, but you must stay on top of the schedule or you’ll miss out.

The bonus this year, for those who couldn’t make it to the Big Easy is that some of the presentations will be streaming live on Facebook. Viewers have the option of watching speakers at four stages: CenterStage, Fullstk, PandaConf+Creatiff and Planet:tech.

Technically, Collision is 12 conferences featuring 357 speakers under one roof. The conferences include:
Autotech which bills itself as the largest autonomous vehicles, drones and the IoT. connects analysts, data scientists, software engineers, hackers under one roof during the conference.
Creatiff focuses on creatives and designers.
Fullstk is for computing experts, developers, engineers, futurists and investors.
Musicnotes is where artists, global brands, industry icons, investors, labels and marketers meet. Last year, New Orlean’s own Big Freedia launched an app during the conference.
Panda Conf a gathering of ad tech startups, agencies, global CMOs, industry giants, investors and leading brands converge.
Planet Tech is a new conference that serves as a meeting of the minds of leaders of the planet-focuses companies.
SaaS Monster an assembly of more than 5,000 buyers and sellers, CIOs and CTOs, established companies, experts and investors and startups.
Startup University is where you learn from the experts via panel discussions, lectures and by networking with CEOs, founders, industry leaders and investors. A year ago I was blown away by the access to investors and the industry’s best and brightest that attendees received at this conference.
Sunset Summit is a great way to end the day by winding down at the Rusty Nail for an event hosted by New Orleans Tech.
Talk Robot focuses on artificial intelligence and robotics as they convene with engineers, investors, researchers and startups.
Pub Summit encourages conference attendees to join a pub crawl. This is a great way to explore the many cool watering holes the city offers while mingling with some of the industry’s rising stars and heavyweights.
Night Summit is the ultimate networking opportunity while mingling in some of the Big Easy’s best party districts. Tonight’s summit kicks off along festive Fulton Street. Wednesday’s summit is on Decatur Street while Thursday’s summit will wrap up at The Howlin’ Wolf. The summit started a night early (Monday) with a festive gathering on Frenchman Street.

If you get a break between sessions, be sure to check out the exhibition hall to meet conference partners and hundreds of startups in the exhibition area. Be aware that the lineup for startups changes each day, so if there’s a startup you’re interested in, don’t put it off because another team will be there tomorrow.

Lastly, don’t forget to check out PITCH, a three-day startup competition that gives the most innovative companies an opportunity to present in front of investors and journalists from around the world.

So wear comfortable shoes and get ready to go with the flow of a fast-moving conference that won’t skip a beat as some of the tech industry’s best and brightest converge on the Crescent City.