I am currently working with the WOBI team on the last minute details for the 2012 World Innovation Forum taking place on June 20-21 at New York City Center.

Our theme for this year’s event is “Provoke change. Shape the future.”

In keeping with the theme, we have been actively working to push the envelope of the event and innovate in multiple areas.

Beyond having a phenomenal lineup, that includes some of the most brilliant minds in innovation including Guy Kawasaki, Ray Kurzweil, Sir Ken Robinson and Clay Shirky – this year’s event takes the thought leadership and lessons into new directions by leveraging the Web, Mobile and Social Media in new ways.

Among the many innovations we are rolling out at WIFNY…


Social Media Space
Working with the WOBI team and looking for new ways to expand the the annual Bloggers Hub, the “Hub” has now evolved into the Social Media Space.

Beyond merely changing the name of the initiative, the new Social Media Space is truly an evolution of the concept that encompasses the fact that in keeping with today’s world and adapting to new technologies, Blogs are only part of the global conversation.

The new and improved gathering of online influencers includes personalities that may not have a Blog per se, but have a brilliant voice and following on other new media and digital channels including Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, Podcasts, Facebook and other platforms.

The official event hashtag this year is #WIFNY and non-attendees will be able to track all the action from the Social Media Space and the entire social media conversation on a special Social Media Space Facebook page being announced this week.

The social media and online enhancements this year go beyond the featured Bloggers and online influencers, and extend to the audience in general.

Bringing Everybody Onboard

This shift takes into account that in today’s world, the majority of event attendees have mobile devices and are looking for ways to take advantage of their smartphones and tablets.

To expand on their event experience and empower attendees to use the power of the mobile web, we’ve added the following elements:

Free WIFI for all attendees
Taking advantage of the newly renovated infrastructure at New York City Center, we will be making WIFI available to all attendees. Although it sounds like this would be a simple thing to accomplish, providing WIFI for all attendees has been a major challenge at many of the New York City event venues we work with. This ability to provide WIFI smoothly and efficiently was one of the deciding elements of our move to the New York City Center from the Best Buy Theater.

Social Media Bar
A new element at this year’s event will be the Social Media Bar, a gathering of Social Media Experts who will be present on site to answer questions and give guidance to attendees on all things “Social Media.”

Official WIFNY Event Mobile App
We are working this year with an event mobile app provider called “Inludus.” The WIFNY mobile app will enable event attendees instant access to a variety of valuable services including communicating with each other, downloading event materials, rating sessions, getting maps and information on all the activities and sessions at the Forum, and much more.

Innovation Video Booth
A special video booth in partnership with MIT Executive Education will be available for attendees to record their thoughts and opinions on Innovation, which will be shared on Social Media worldwide.

Mobile Device Charging Stations
All those Tweets, status updates, check-ins and more take a lot of power from the audience’s mobile devices…

To “keep the party going” and make sure that no device runs out of battery during the event, we have partnered with brightbox to provide charging stations on premise.

These amazing charging stations are simple and secure, and I can’t get enough of them. I saw them and used their phone charging station at Fast Company’s Innovation Uncensored event (where I was attending as a sponsor with the C2MTL team) and I was blown away by how brilliant and efficient the brightbox technology was.

Taking it even further and webcasting the action to an even broader  global audience…

For this year’s event, we have expanded our event webcasting offering in several new directions.

WOBI’s event webcasts have grown beyond simply offering the opportunity to view a single event either live or On Demand via the web and mobile devices. With our new annual subscription WOBILive, we now offer the opportunity to “attend virtually” a wide range of WOBI events all around the world.

WOBI has partnered with the Wall Street Journal and will be offering the opportunity to view the World Innovation Forum via their WSJLive offering. This will bring WIFNY to a whole new range of devices including Apple iPad, Yahoo! Connected TV, Boxee, Samsung Smart TV, and many others.

The list I’ve presented is just a sample of all the innovations we are currently rolling out at this year’s World Innovation Forum, and there are many more which are being announced and rolled out at the event.

To keep up with the action, I invite you to follow @georgelevy and WOBI on Twitter and search the official hashtag #WIFNY where we will all be sharing the action from the event.

Hope to see you at WIFNY and Tweet @ me if you have any thoughts, questions or suggestions on how we can innovate even further!

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