SIBOS is all about Correspondent Banking and Correspondent Banking is all about personal relationships.
SIBOS attendees pay to come from all over the world to build and renew the personal relationships that underpin Correspondent Banking. Anybody who tells you that digitization will replace this does not know how the world works. The mantra is “schmooze offline, transact offline”.
SIBOS attendees ALSO pay to come from all over the world to learn about the new
technology that they will need when they get back home. They need to do both to justify an expensive 4 days.
So, Exhibitors need to entice jaded conference attendees as they wander from one session to another talking to partners. Exhibitors often do this with food, drink and entertainment. However if Exhibitors can combine education and entertainment in one package it is better.
IBM managed to do this using the Oculus VR headset. The subject was cybersecurity - an important one for banks and technically complex. Using the Oculus VR headset was clever. They can draw in attendees as they walk past - “what is that?!” Attendees can earn street cred with their teenage kids when they get back home. AND they learn more about cybersecurity and associate IBM with cybersecurity.
Next year, SIBOS 2017, there will be lots of Oculus VR headsets. By SIBOS 2018 it will be as commoditized as a Nespresso machine to wake up tired attendees. You only gain competitive advantage by working with bleeding edge technology. IBM understands this better than most.