What to expect at Oracle OpenWorld 2018

Maggie Holland

22 Oct, 2018

San Francisco. Same city, different big tech conference. This time, the city is playing host to Oracle’s big annual conference OpenWorld (or OOW as it is also known).

Larry Ellison’s keynote isn’t until Monday afternoon (he’s also doing another keynote to end the show too), but there’s plenty to keep attendees occupied before and after the main event. Indeed, this year’s OOW boasts more than 2,000 sessions from the same number of customers.

Some 60,000 delegates are expended to descend on the Moscone conference centre (with another 19 million watching the various live streams), while hundreds of partners will showcase their wares and network with existing and potential customers alike.

”Oracle OpenWorld 2018 delivers a world-class conference experience that immerses attendees in the future of cloud, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies,“ said Tania Weidick, Oracle‘s vice president of event marketing.

She added: ”Everything about the event – from creative programming to luminary speakers – is designed to promote new ideas and collaboration, as well as best position our customers and partners for success. This year’s event will continue our 20-plus year legacy in San Francisco, contributing $195 million in positive economic impact to the city.”

This year’s event will build on a truth universally acknowledged – that cloud is here, understood and being implemented. We’ve, rightly, moved away from questions such as ‘What is cloud?’ and  ‘Is the cloud secure?’ And instead are focused on how to really get value from the cloud and where things are headed next.

There will also be a focus on how AI and machine learning can fuel innovation and help drive success, as well as how autonomy and automation are shaping and changing the world around us and the way we live and work.

Security considerations won’t be ignored, with the conference aiming to discuss and debate where the next big security threat or threats are likely to stem from and work out how to prepare and defend against them.

To that end, CEO Mark Hurd will lead the security agenda, which will also see a stellar cast of experts adding their thoughts on the matter, including discuss the Michae Hayden, former director of the CIA and the NSA, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, and Sir John Scarlett, former chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service.

Outside of discussions around themes, there will obviously be the usual product announcements and an update on some of last year’s key launches.

Ultimately, the overriding message seems to be that of business transformation and how to empower employees and customers alike. But, although this conference is a technology one, it appears that Oracle recognises that IT is but one ingredient in the recipe to sustainable success.

“It comes down to [the fact that] employees or customers don’t care what the technology is. They care about the user experience. And everything we’re trying to do is to get to that in a seamless fashion,” said Steve Miranda, executive vice president of Oracle Applications product development, on the first day of OOW.

The event is designed for “attendees who want to connect, learn, explore and be inspired,” according to Oracle. Stay tuned for my coverage throughout the week to see if this vision becomes reality.