MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) -The competition connected to Montgomery’s annual Air Force Information Technology Conference gets started today in a new way.
For more than 20 years, the AFITC has brought in thousands of people with the military, department of defense, and some of the top technology companies and products in the world. In 2020, the conference is going all virtual, and creating some unique opportunities.
“While you may not have that face to face interaction, you do have the ability to actually provide even more information and you’re providing it over a longer span of time,” explained Charisse Stokes, Executive Director of TechMGM, a driving force behind the conference and connecting those who attend with members of the local community.
“Whereas some people were restricted by how long they could stay, how long they could be in Montgomery for the event, they have an opportunity to actually see so many more seminar sessions,” Stokes said. “We’ve had probably 100 plus seminar sessions that are given each year. And you have to choose which one you’re going to attend. Now that you have a virtual conference, you could literally attend and view all of the presentations that are there, you also have the ability to look at that content well past the date of AFITC.”
Stokes said TechMGM is an initiative for the Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s all about how we connect everything from an education and workforce development side of the house, to what we’re doing from an economic development, how we diversify the economy and be able to not only sustain and maintain a lot of the companies and the missions that we have here, but how do we attract other vendors into Montgomery,” said Stokes “All the while developing our entire community using technology and being able to leverage all the value assets that we have here in Montgomery. “
This year’s virtual move is an adaptation that a lot of events around the country are having to make. For this particular event, it creates some very interesting and positive opportunities for the conference, and for the InnovateAFITC competition, that partners IT professionals with students in the River Region.
“We’ve been able to expose our high school as well as our college students, to just the variety of careers in technology in general, not just within your military service, but also on the industry side. And so this year, we’ve been able to have another collaborative InnovateAFITC, which is essentially a hack-a-thon and cyber challenge,” Stokes described. “So some that may have a lot of zoom fatigue, I guess you would call it these days, they get an opportunity to go and actually collaborate into develop something that could be used in our very own community. And we’re actually doing that this year, around COVID-19. So now your students and your professionals get to develop an application that could be used in your community, be it for the medical side and helping to build databases for PPE, or even in how we distribute and actually hold Virtual Education, but then also how you look at hospitality and logistics and city policy.
Stokes said they are also looking forward to having some fun.
“We’ll have an Esports competition. So we have a number of students as well as other IT professionals that at the end of the day, they want to have fun and play ESports. ” Stokes added. “So we’ll do that in a competitive environment, and then also a network and systems challenge. So this year, we have a couple of different things that we’ve added to the competition to give a little bit more flavor. It’s not just a weekend hackathon, but really a week long event, so that more people can participate. “
The Air Force Information Technology and Cyberpower Conference runs Aug. 24-17. Learn more about it here.
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