Infotec conference going interactive with Google Glass, more

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Posted: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 12:00 am

Hey, what’s your problem?

If you have a problem dealing with an IT issue like mobile technology, information security or data analytics, Infotec might help you find a solution.

A new feature at this year’s Infotec conference — the two-day annual event for Omaha-area technology professionals and students — is a series of “what’s your problem” sessions where attendees can share, and help solve, common issues.

“They can bring it to the group and say, help me think about this,” conference organizer Dave Vankat said.

It’s just one way the conference, April 15-16 at the CenturyLink Center Omaha, will be more interactive this year.

There’s also the chance to play with new technology, including three Google Glass headsets. The voice-activated headsets let you take a picture, capture video and translate speech, hands-free. They’re on loan to Infotec, courtesy of Chris Russell, operations manager at the Google data center in Council Bluffs.

(So far the only way to buy one is with $1,500 and an invitation from Google through its “Glass Explorer Program.” A consumer version is due out later this year, Google said this week in announcing a partnership with eyewear maker Luxottica.)

Also in the “Try IT” zone will be a “device bar” of phones and tablets using a Microsoft operating system, and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, used for gaming but also by firms such as HDR architecture and engineering to help clients envision a project, Vankat said.

Attendance has grown in the conference’s first five years and more than 1,500 participants are expected this year, the sixth. Infotec is organized by AIM, and proceeds help the Omaha nonprofit in its work promoting technology careers and education.

Keynote speakers include Matthew Monahan, CEO of Inflection, who with his brother sold in 2012 for $100 million to Inflection, which has an Omaha office, aggregates public data and has created a series of identity-management, research and hiring sites.

Also speaking is Tan Le, co-founder of Emotiv, a neuroengineering firm that developed a technology allowing people to interact with computers using brain waves. Le, who as a child fled from Vietnam for Australia, has shared her personal story in a TED Talk.

Five people who registered before March 1 will be chosen in a drawing to try out the headset after Le’s talk.

“We wanted to do some different things with the conference so it’s not just all sit and listen,” Vankat said.

There are plenty of traditional conference sessions, however, arranged in tracks for various types of technology professionals. Topics include transforming your IT department’s culture, IT strategic planning, planning for enterprise security and building a data science team from the ground up, hosted by Werner Enterprises.

The general registration fee is $350. For information, contact Sherry Beglin at or 402-345-5025, ext. 148.

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