Brands, agencies, and marketers working in digital media will tell you, innovation happens so rapidly that predicting future trends and reviewing trends from previous years can either be illuminating, or a subtle evolution, as platforms attempt to better monetize their offerings from the previous year's developments.
Conferences have long been opportunities to connect, share information, develop new working relationships and uncover new ways to approach solutions to vexing problems. Before the widespread use of technology and social media, that information was limited to those in attendance. Even then, connecting with other attendees could be difficult. Anyone unable to attend the conference missed out all together!