As threatened, welcome to my DIA Annual Meeting updates! I hope you will find my ramblings helpful and somewhat interesting. I'll be posting an entry daily outlining my thoughts on some of the interesting sessions, exhibitors and events surrounding the meeting. Without further ado, let's hit it.
I love Washington, DC. It's a great city to visit and it has ample services for a large conference. The event is being held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, a large, fairly new and spacious facility. The negative is that the facility is really several large buildings, linked by walking bridges. I found many, many attendees roaming about the hallways looking for room 153A or 222B, etc. I suppose be the time we all leave on Thursday, we'll have it figured out. On the plus side, the conference center has plenty of helpers directing the lost souls find their destinations.
Interesting story: In speaking to young London-based ladies who were exhibiting their company, I was asked if Washington, DC, was part of the state of Washington. Hmm. Seems like a surprising question from two educated world travelers. However, I must admit that I might well have asked a similar question during my trips abroad.
"The DIA (Drug Information Association) is a neutral, nonprofit, global professional association of nearly 18,000 members who work in every facet of the discovery, development, and life cycle management of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and related products. DIA operates as a financially independent nonprofit organization that funds itself from meeting and membership fees. The voluntary efforts of DIA members and speakers allow DIA to provide programs and publications to members at a reasonable, competitive cost."
How's that for an intro? My visit to the DIA Press Room was pretty interesting and the associates provided me with a fairly in-depth run down on the organization.
DIA sponsors numerous conventions, webinars, training sessions, etc. throughout the year. The Annual Meeting is a classic. There are nearly 8,000 attendees and 550 exhibitors occupying over 750 booth spaces for the event. It started on Sunday and will end on Thursday, June 20th. I arrived bright and early on Monday, following a 6 AM flight from my home in Albany.
There are virtually hundreds of educational sessions during the convention. They fall into 25 areas of interest including Advertising, eClinical, Medical Communications, and Regulatory Affairs to name a few.
The exhibit hall
Talk about sensory overload! With 550 separate exhibitors viewing for business, this place reminds me of a marketplace I once visited in Morocco. The booth personnel fall into three distinct categories:
- The sharks. The sharks roam the aisles around their booths and lure unsuspecting attendees with cheap trinkets and the chance to win an iPad (the iPad is this year's sought after item).
- The hermits. The hermits are those individuals who were forced by their companies to attend. They tend to sit low in their seats, at the back of the booth, doing anything other than look up and actually converse with an attendee.
- The pros. The pros are those talented sales professionals who are pleasant, engaging, open but not intrusive. They make eye contact, nod or smile and are open to conversing with any attendee who might stop by to chat. They provide clear answers to questions and are open and alert to help the conversation move to needs versus solutions. (I'd like to think I'm a pro when I man our booth, but I have caught myself slipping into the shark role from time to time.)
All sessions are broken down into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced level of difficulty. I stick with the Basic and Intermediate levels. I attend sessions on topics related to my business (translation and localization services). One such session on Monday was Electronic Regulatory Submissions/Document Management. The session chairperson was Nancy Smerkanich, VP Global RA from Octagon. Stephen Wilson, Director Division of Biometrics at FDA and Own Jiang, Senior Clinical Data Manager from PGxHealth were also speakers.
I found the session quite interesting. It focused on due diligence and how all aspects of the clinical process must take this into account. This is especially important now with the mergers, acquisitions, the selling of copyrights, etc. is so prevalent. Due diligence is often broken when these changes occur.
SIACS (Special Interest Area Communities) are a DIA sponsored groups where professionals can share common experiences and knowledge. There are 25 different SIACS. I belong to two of them – the Professional Education, Training & Development and the Global Sourcing.
Over the next several days I will be meeting with these two groups and will provide further information on them
I'll be highlighting an exhibitor each day. Today we will consider Schlafender Hase and Partner, a software and communications company. SH (my acronym) integrates the Adobe PDF Library into their Text Verification Tool, enabling users to improve the quality and accuracy of their printed materials."
I found their tool fascinating. Picture this: You have a document that needs to be proofed against another version. The tool quickly highlights every instance where one deviates from the other. There are functions which allow some differences to be allowed, versus others which are not. The differences can be in word choice, punctuation, etc. And, the two documents can be in different file formats (Word, PDF, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark, etc.). Very slick!
Their tool views all text as characters and this means one can compare two multilingual documents for proofing. I see this as a valuable asset for translation post alignment projects.
For those of you who couldn't make it to DC, I hope you've enjoyed update. I'll be back tomorrow with an update on day two of the conference. Until then, full speed ahead!
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