Cisco Live US 2023 will take place from June 04 to 08 in Las Vegas. I have just registered, and this will be my 10th time attending. However, the question arises: is the Cisco Live conference worth the price?
Travel and Accommodation
I will not consider the cost of travel and accommodation in this post. This introduces too many variables depending on where the conference is, where you are coming from, and what your preferences are for accommodations. We’re only going to talk about the cost and benefits of attending the conference here.
At the same time, having been at Cisco Live in Orlando, San Diego, and Las Vegas, I must say that the price of flight tickets for someone like me who comes from Europe is almost the same. And when it comes to hotel rates, in all three cities I’ve heard attendees tell me that it’s more expensive here than elsewhere in the US, so again, there’s little variation.
The cost of attending Cisco Live can vary depending on the registration package you choose. This year, the cost of the Cisco Live US 2023 full conference pass is between $2,595 to $2,995 USD. This pass includes access to keynotes and innovation talks, all technical sessions, the walk-in lab, an optional “meet the engineer” session, the World-of-Solution exhibition hall, various networking, and celebration events, and more! For a complete list of activities, you can refer to my post from last year or the Cisco Live conference website directly.
Compared to other big IT conferences, the cost of Cisco Live is on the higher end. For example, the annual VMware Explore / VMworld conference is typically around $2,200 for a full conference pass, which includes access to keynotes, breakout sessions, and the exhibition hall. The Microsoft Ignite conference also ranges from around $1,800 to $2,000 USD for a full conference pass, which includes access to sessions, labs, and the exhibition hall.
But the price itself is not the only factor to consider when deciding whether to attend a conference. Other factors are, in my opinion, far more important, including the quality and scope of the technical sessions, the technical level of the speakers and, a precious point, the possibility of talking with them after the sessions.
Talk with the speakers and the participants!
On this last point, I have to say that Cisco has implemented a great solution: integrate the speaker and all the participants of a technical or lab session into a dedicated Cisco Webex channel. This allows asking questions to the speaker directly after the session. But also, to test or implement the presented solutions after the conference and ask more questions afterward. Because the channel remains active for several months after the conference. In addition, having the other participants in the channel often help to share useful information on points that others may have already encountered. This is the kind of detail that is worth coming to the technical sessions and not just watching them on video.
Quality of the speakers
As for the quality of the speakers, I think that we have reached the best of what is possible at Cisco Live. The speakers are usually THE experts in their field. There are no marketing buzzwords during these sessions, these are technical sessions at the top of what can be done!
Then, going back to the important arguments for coming to a conference in person, networking (human networking) possibilities and opportunities is also very important. As well as the events, which are usually a great plus for interacting with other participants in a less formal atmosphere. At Cisco Live, there is also the world of solution exhibition, including a myriad of partners and live demos. We talk here about over 500,000 square feet of possible interaction with Cisco and partner experts, leading technology companies, and emerging startups. And finally, when it comes to budget, the logistic of the conference is to be taken into consideration: are breakfasts and lunches included? And drinks? For example, coffee is more than necessary for us IT people. At Cisco Live, if you take the full conference pass, everything listed above is included.
In some cases, a more expensive conference may be worth the investment if it offers unique and valuable opportunities as described above.
After the important benefits like learning from the experts, networking with IT professionals from around the world, meeting new people, and making connections, there are some extras.
Coming to a conference is interesting, but you also must leave your family for a few days, organize and delegate your tasks before leaving, and certainly catch up on work when you get back. To compensate a little for this, some extras are always welcome. And again, for this part, there are many during Cisco Live:
- First, there is the opportunity to take a Cisco exam. The price is included in the conference fee. Value: $ 400 USD. That’s a lot of money. And the most interesting point is that the examination center is directly in the conference venue.
- Then, there are the goodies. Okay, this is maybe not a valid argument, but I mention it because it can make people happy. A backpack, a few T-shirts, it’s always something you can bring back to your colleagues or families. Or also for the kids: who hasn’t brought back one of those famous Star Wars swords to their kids?
- In addition, if you are a NetVet, so if you regularly attended Cisco Live, you also have a choice of a free e-book, included in the conference price.
- And finally, there’s the Cisco Live Celebration night, the highlight of the last night of the conference. Also included in the full conference pass. Value: around $ 250 USD. This year’s entertainment features the power couple from NBC’s “The Voice”: Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani.
I am certainly forgetting some arguments. So, I recommend you go to the Cisco Live US 2023 website to get a more precise idea.
In conclusion, is the Cisco Live conference worth the price? ABSOLUTELY!
If you’re looking to learn new skills, meet hundreds of industry professionals, and discover the latest trends in networking and technology, then Cisco Live is definitely a valuable investment.
Personally, I’m looking forward to Cisco Live US 2023, and hope to see you there!
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