BETT is an educational technology show that’s held every year in London, England. It’s like ISTE or FETC on steroids, with over 30,000 attendees at the show and over 100 workshops. This year there are over 700 vendors and while they are mostly from the UK, there are many from Sweden, the USA, Brazil and several European countries.
After having my flight to England canceled yesterday, I booked a new flight – but then a freezing rain storm advancing towards Ottawa/Toronto cancelled that flight too. But finally, I gingerly made another ‘beat the storm’ reservation and actually got over to the UK with a non-eventful, sleepless seven hour flight.
Upon landing in London at 6 o’clock in the morning local time (1 am Eastern Time) I then proceeded to take the London tube to my hotel which took over two hours. I had to change trains four times and walk numerous long flights of stairs, luggage and computer case in-hand.
I learned two things in this experience: the first was that I saw several apartment buildings with windmills on the roofs of apartment buildings, and the second was that in addition to the ‘Mind the Gap’ signs you see hear over speakers when you alight from the London tube I also learned to ‘Mind the Stupid People’ because in many instances people stand in front of the subway doors when they open the door but don’t get on. Once you realize they are not getting on and you should be shoving through them the doors close and the train leaves.
I got to my hotel at 9 a.m., dropped off my bags and took the light rail to the convention center where the BETT 2013 conference is being held.
The exhibitor floor of the conference is immense and I started just walking through the aisles trying to see who was there but after two hours I’d only seen half! Since I had been up all night flying across the pond and lugging bags up stairways in the London ‘Underground’, my body just didn’t want to take anymore and so I retreated back to my hotel where I was able to check in and get some rest.
In my brief visit on this first day I noticed that all the hype was either iPads or Windows 8. Microsoft has built a small ‘stadium’ in the middle of the Exhibition hall, where they have special presentations by guest speaker/presenters all throughout the show. Seating is for several hundred and it seems that almost all events are already sold out as you must register on-line.
My hotel is a five minute walk from the Thames River and I had my dinner at an historic river pub and of course I had fish and chips and a pint of terrific London ale.
Tomorrow I will start to explore BETT in earnest.