MEA-ATP holds second annual conference while being mindful of national mourning

I-ATP holds fifth annual conference around restrictions imposed by civil unrest

Innovations in Testing 2020 moves forward as a virtual event as COVID-19 reshapes the meaning of a social networking

The phrase "the show must go on" has been given new meaning as the Association of Test Publishers has continued to press on in the face of unprecedented circumstances around the globe. 

India-ATP's fifth annual conference in New Delhi moved ahead even as government officials urged residents and workers to stay home and away from city centers on December 20, 2019; the Middle East & Africa- ATP conference moved ahead despite global tension in the middle east and local mourning in Oman;  and the Innovations in Testing 2020 conference is moving ahead as a virtual conference in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"In India - we really had no choice...we were already in New Delhi, as were most of our presenters, sponsors and some attendees, so we went ahead with businessIndia-ATP team in New Delhi as usual. In times such as these we can only look at the positives - ATP is a Trade Association, so even if the only networking that happens is among our sponsors - it means the exchange of business ideas has been accomplished.  ATP's roots are in a group of business leaders who, frankly, were getting together to find out what the others were doing and to team up on some legislative challenges they were facing as an industry. So if we have a conference in which test users are underrepresented - there is still value to be gained for ATP members," stated ATP CEO William G. Harris.

In India, those who attended the conference were able to hear from Dr. Sandhya Chintala, Vice President of the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), which is the chamber of commerce of the IT-BPM industry and whose remarks centered on the disruption of all business models due to technology and the subsequent impact on education. "Knowledge is no longer valuable," she noted, "skills are skills, teamwork skills, research skills..." And she urged test developers to keep pace -- "assessments need to workplace certifications are essential. No longer can you earn a degree and think it will work for 30 years." [Visit the India-ATP webpages for more information on this conference.]

At the end of January 2020, celebrations were muted in Oman out of respect for the passing of the nation's Sultan earlier in the month. Nevertheless, the capital city of Muscat was a picturesque backdrop for MEA-ATP's second annual conference held January 28-30th at the Kempinski Hotel.

"Again, we were met with unprecedented circumstances," Harris noted. "But for those who attended, the conference delivered crucial connections and an intimate networking opportunity between ATP members as well as between sponsors and select Omani ministers who were able to attend. He noted that keynoters -- Marten Roorda, CEO of ACT, Rajib Roy, CEO of Riverside Insights, ATP Chair John Weiner, Chief Science Officer at PSI, and Tarek Jallad, Chairman of the Board of the Jallad Group, the sole authorized Caterpillar dealers in Levant Region -- all brought a truly high-level feel to the conference. "You can't be among leaders like these and not feel the synergy, and not come away with valuable new insights," Harris stated.

In light of both India-ATP and MEA-ATP, Harris stated that it seemed almost natural to press ahead with the Innovations Conference as a virtual event in the face of unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic.

"We can either become victims of uncontrollable events, or we can walk the walk and lean into the opportunities that are being presented to our industry through virtual learning and emerging technologies," Harris noted.

The Innovations Conference will move ahead as a virtual learning event, although exact dates are yet to be decided.  The event will be hosted on a platform known as Shindig which offers the ability to stream simultaneous speaker sessions, side chats within a session, and unique sponsor rooms to interact with prospective clients. And aside from the online, real-time capabilities of the software, he explained that, " The system also records sessions, and will allow attendees to access them at a later date, and to attend concurrent sessions they might otherwise have missed."

Disruptive events call for the use of the disruptive technologies we have been talking about and exploring for the last decade, Harris said. "At ATP we have always embraced change. We were one of the first Association's to go virtual and now the rest of the world is catching up to us." [For more visit the Innovations 2020 Testing conference pages.]