Calgary Set the Stage for World’s Largest Signal Processing Conference

May 9, 2018

Tech giants Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Google were among some of the brightest minds to converge at the annual IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech and Signal Processing (ICASSP), held April 16-20 at the Calgary TELUS Convention Centre in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 

As the world’s largest and most comprehensive technical conference focused on signal processing and its applications, the 43rdedition of ICASSP attracted 2,300 attendees and 28 high-caliber exhibitors spanning 21,000 square feet of expo space.

Touting the theme “Signal Processing and Artificial Intelligence (AI): Changing the World,” the four-day conference featured several high-profile speakers and 150 educational sessions and meetings covering tech trends ranging from cyber security to how machine learning and AI is impacting society and technology. 

“Signal processing methods are powerful enablers of many modern technologies including communications, autonomous systems and intelligent devices or machines,” said Ali H. Sayed, president of the IEEE Signal Processing Society, prior to the event. 

He added, “This conference will showcase the breadth and reach of our discipline.” 

Designed to introduce new developments in computer vision, speech recognition, speech synthesis and additional technologies underlying our digital life, ICASSP provides researchers and engineers with an engaging forum to exchange ideas and presenters with a platform to get their work peer-reviewed and published in conference proceedings, according to show officials.

Leading tech speakers included: 

  • Yann LeCun, director of AI Research at Facebook and inventor of the convolutional network method that is widely used for image, video and speech recognition. 
  • Alex Acero, senior director at Apple, in charge of speech recognition, speech synthesis and machine translation for Siri, Apple’s personal assistant for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Carplay, Macintosh and HomePod. 
  • Luc Vincent, vice president of engineering at Lyft, where he leads the company’s Marketplace and Autonomous Platform division. 

Hosting ICASSPfor its first run in Calgary was a big victory for Meetings + Conventions Calgary, which worked with conference organizers and competed against five cities from across the globe to host the event. 

According to Clark Grue, CEO of the CTCC, Calgary is a great fit for conferences and trade shows such as ICASSPdue to the city’s status as an international hub for technology and innovation that boasts more tech start-ups than any other Canadian city.  

“Home to over 100 major publicly-listed company headquarters, this young vibrant start-up city invites entrepreneurial thinkers to tap its core of technology professionals and forward-thinking companies,” Grue said. 

He continued, “Convention delegates that come to Calgary not only benefit from engagement with its vibrant business and education community but can also take in a variety of unique experiences including hi-end downtown shopping, an amazing food scene, an Olympic experience, the Canadian Rockies or meeting the Pandas at the Calgary Zoo.”

In addition, convention delegates at the TELUS Center can enjoy the convenience of being connected via walkway to four hotels including the Hyatt Regency Calgary, the Fairmont Palliser Calgary, the Le Germain Hotel Calgary and the Calgary Marriott Downtown Hotel as well as being within a four-block radius of myriad theaters, restaurants, bars, retailers, shops, hotels and unique offsite venues – demonstrating why Calgary’s downtown convention center district is a popular locale for local, national and international conventions, congresses, meetings and events.

Jay Lightfoot, executive officer of Conference Management Services, which organized ICASSP, said he couldn’t have been more impressed with the support of the CVB and the city of Calgary.

“Since we moved our large conference with about six-months notice, it required a team effort to make it all work,” Lightfoot explained. 

He added, “It all went flawlessly with no issues or problems All of the staff there worked with our team on the planning and helped us anticipate and avoid any issues. We and our delegates could not have had a better experience (and) we look forward to bringing another conference there in the future.”

ICASSP 2019 is set to take place May 12-17 at the Brighton Conference Centre in Brighton, U.K.


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Less than six months ago, Lisa Messina joined the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) as the first-ever chief sales officer after leading the sales team at Caesars Entertainment. A 12-year Las Vegas resident, Messina is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and serves on MPI International’s board of directors. TSNN had a chance to catch up with this dynamic leader and talk to her about her vision for the new role, current shifts in the trade show industry, creating more diversity and equity within the organization, and advice to future female leaders. Lisa Messina, Chief Sales Officer, LVCVA With Las Vegas becoming The Greatest Arena on EarthTM, what are some of the things you’re most excited about in your role? Our team was at The Big Game’s handoff ceremony earlier this month, and I couldn’t help but think, “We’re going to crush it next year!”  These high-profile events and venues not only drive excitement, but also provide unmatched opportunities for event planners. Allegiant Stadium hosts events from 10 to 65,000 people and offers on-field experiences. Formula 1 Grand Prix will take place in Las Vegas in November, after the year-one F1 race, the four-story paddock building will be available for buyouts and will also offer daily ride-along experiences that will be available for groups. And, of course, the MSG Sphere officially announced that it will open in September, ahead of schedule, with a U2 residency. It’s going to be the most technologically advanced venue as far as lighting, sound, feel, and even scent, and it will be available for buyouts and next-level sponsorships inside and outside. There’s no ceiling to what you can do when you’re doing events in Las Vegas.  Allegiant Stadium As the trade show and convention business returns to the pre-pandemic levels, what shifts are you noticing and how do you think they will impact the industry going forward? Our trade show organizers are very focused on driving customer experience. Most of our organizers are reporting stronger exhibitor numbers and increased numbers of new exhibitors, with trade shows proving to be almost or above 2019 levels. Now our organizers are really doubling down on driving attendance and focusing on the data to provide that individualized, customized experience to help attendees meet their goals and get the best value. Some companies continue to be cautiously optimistic with their organizational spend when it comes to sending attendees, but I think it will continue to improve. As the U.S. Travel Association makes more progress on the U.S. visa situation, we also expect a growing influx of international attendees. What are some innovative ways the LVCVA helps trade show and convention organizers deliver the most value for their events? We focus on customer experience in the same way that trade show organizers are thinking about it. We got rave reviews with the West Hall Expansion of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), so over the next two years, we will be renovating the North and the Central halls, which will include not just the same look and feel, but also the digital experiences that can be leveraged for branding and sponsorship opportunities.  Vegas Loop, the underground transportation system designed by The Boring Company, is also a way we have enhanced the customer experience. Vegas Loop at the LVCC has transported more than 900,000 convention attendees across the campus since its 2021 launch. Last summer, Resorts World and The Boring Company opened the first resort stop at the Resorts World Las Vegas , with plans to expand throughout the resort corridor, including downtown Las Vegas, Allegiant Stadium and Harry Reid International Airport. The LVCVA also purchased the Las Vegas Monorail in 2020, the 3.9-mile-long elevated transportation system that connects eight resorts directly to the convention center campus. This is the only rail system in the world that integrates fares directly into show badges and registration. For trade show organizers, these transportation options mean saving time, money and effort when it comes to moving groups from the hotels to LVCC and around the city. Also, the more we can focus on building the infrastructure around the convention center, the more it supports the customer experience and ultimately supports our trade show organizers. Scheduled to debut in Q4, Fontainebleau Las Vegas will offer 3,700 hotel rooms and 550,000 square feet of meeting and convention space next to LVCC.  What are some of the plans for advancing DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) within your organization? We’re currently partnering with instead of working with a leading consulting firm, to lay the foundation and create a solid DEI plan and be the leader when it comes to DEI initiatives. The heart of that journey with the consulting firm is also talking to our customers about their strategic approaches to DEI and driving innovation in this space.  What are your favorite ways to recharge? My husband and I have an RV and we’re outdoorsy people. So, while we have over 150,000 world-class hotel rooms and renowned restaurants right outside our doorstep, one of my favorite things to do is get out to Red Rock Canyon, the Valley of Fire, and Lake Mead. Five of the top national parks are within a three-hour drive from Las Vegas, so there’s a lot you can do. We love balancing the energy of Las Vegas with nature, and we’re noticing that a lot of attendees add activities off the Strip when they come here.  Valley of Fire What advice would you give to women following leadership paths in destination marketing? I think it’s about being laser-focused on what you want to accomplish; building a team around you that lifts you and helps you achieve your goals; and being humble and realizing that you do it as a group. No one gets this done alone. Thankfully, there are a lot of women in leadership in this organization, in our customers’ organizations, and in this city that we can be really proud of. We’re a formidable force that is making things happen.   This interview has been edited and condensed. This article is exclusively sponsored by the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. For more information, visit HERE.