I'm writing this in the train back home from the airport. Just had a 10 hour flight from San Francisco to Amsterdam. Actually not the best part of the whole thing, but it's definitely worth it. Meeting people, attending sessions, eating the sponsored lunches, going to the customer appreciation event, Oracle OpenWorld was great! It was fantastic!
I was just thinking of the fact that in IT currently Social Computing, collaboration or Enterprise 2.0 within the boundaries of an enterprise are very hot things. So you'd think that with all new technology in place in a couple of years attending a conference might mean not going there physically, but virtually.
To my opinion attending a conference will not be as much fun, and as worthwhile then now.
I think that conferences like this, although technology is advancing rapidly will still be about people flying in from all over the world and meeting each other, no chat or webcam session can change that. I saw a lot of people finally meeting each other after a long while of being in email contact or even chatting or blogging together and everyone start smiling at that point.
Nothing but good old human interaction, face to face, discussing live and drinking beers together.
Nothing but the real thing.