Dream vacation around Europe or a three-day pass to C2 Montreal?

That’s a question I was asking myself before attending what could be one of the city’s most expensive conference. At a whopping $2,955 for an entry ticket, I needed to find out what the organizers had in mind.

Founded in 2012 by the creative agency Sid Lee in partnership with Cirque du Soleil, the 8th annual business conference this year took place at Grande Studios in Pointe St-Charles on May 22, 23 and 24 2019. With over 6500 participants from 50 countries and 20 industries, there was certainly no shortage of people to connect with and exchange ideas.

Upon arrival on site you are given an entrance badge, which uses very innovative technology called Klik by PixMob. One of the features of the smart badge enables every participant to share their contact information by simply pressing a button on both badges simultaneously when in close range.

This system made it easy to collect contact information, but how many people follow up with one another is another story. The badge is also associated with a smartphone application where you can see your contacts, register for activities and even participate in live polls.

Regarding the conference, there were many collaborative sessions to choose from along with entertainment and even a closing party on the last day. Some sessions included virtual reality games where you can play and chat with people you just met, get professional mentoring inside a BMW i8 and even a fun activity called Goat Yoga.

With so many to participate in, it’s easy to get lost. Better to be prepared in advance by jotting down what talks and workshops you want to attend and even who you would like to have a chat with. The list is quite long but some notable speakers included top executives from Cirque du Soleil, Lightspeed and Stradigi AI to more internationally recognized companies from Microsoft, Facebook, XPRIZE, DARPA, NASA JPL and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).

Speaking of the CSA, a panel I found most impressive was a live video feed from the international space station, where Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques spoke about space exploration and some of the future challenges ahead, emphasizing on healthcare.

“Healthcare is one of the big problems we have to figure out. Because you know right now here on the space station we can always entertain the idea that we can come back to earth if there is a big problem but on mars, no way, the crew has to be more autonomous”, said Saint-Jacques. He then went on to propose some ideas we need to work on such as “better miniaturized medical devices” and “smarter sensor technology” so that its less cumbersome to obtain vital signs. He also mentioned using artificial intelligence so that “computers become our medical assistants” to make good medical decisions.

I could go on, but to sum things up, was it worth it? Short answer is it depends. In my opinion, the greatest value from the conference are the connections you make and the ideas shared.

If you’re not willing to put yourself out there, sign up for workshops or truly get involved then I’d say it’s not for you. However, if you are someone who wants to challenge the status quo, think outside the box and beef up your Rolodex, then start saving now for next year’s conference. You may even be able to get sponsored tickets or obtain discount codes which could eliminate or reduce the cost of entry.

Did you attend C2 Montreal this year? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below!