The Top 10 North American Tech Conferences to Attend in 2019

By BrainStation January 22, 2019

Looking for opportunities for professional development? Want to mingle with some of the brightest minds in the industry? Sometimes, all you have to do is attend the right conference.

Here are the top ten tech conferences you need to attend in 2019.

IBM Think

Dates: Feb. 12-15
Location: San Francisco, California

IBM’s annual flagship technology conference seemingly offers something for everyone, from high-level strategy explorations to tightly focused technical training, spanning topics including cloud, AI, data science, analytics, and infrastructure.

Speakers will include IBM CEO, President, and Chairman Ginni Rometty, AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan, and Mogul founder and CEO Tiffany Pham.

IBM Think will even get a jolt of star power from outside the typical tech realm, with speeches expected from NFL great Joe Montana and legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk.

EmTech Digital

Dates: March 25-26
Location: San Francisco, California

If you’re fascinated by everything AI, this Silicon Valley conference is the one for you.

The two-day conference promises to explore and contextualize the latest advances in AI research, advancements in the commercialization of AI, and how to address the need to define ethical AI.

Featured speakers for the event include Google senior vice-president of global affairs and chief legal officer Kent Walker, Autodesk president and CEO Andrew Anagnost, and Stanford University professor Fei-Fei Li.

Google Cloud Next

Dates: April 9-11
Location: San Francisco, California

The tech giant’s annual conference promises to help attendees harness their technical skills while taking a behind-the-scenes peek at the latest Google Cloud innovations.

Themes of this year’s conference include application development, data analytics, DevOps and SRE, mobility and devices, networking, serverless and security. While the lineup for this year’s 450-plus sessions has yet to be announced, last year’s conference featured Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, Nielsen chief information officer Kimberley Anstett, and Cisco senior vice-president Kip Compton.


Dates: May 20-23
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Aimed at those who want an objective perspective on tech – as opposed to a “weeklong commercial” – this annual conference is curated from scratch every year with the help of an independent review board.

The main conference program is divided into five themed tracks, including infrastructure, security, DevOps, emerging tech and IT strategy. Attendees will hear from Citigroup vice-president Oritse J. Uku, IBM cyber-resiliency specialist Anyck Turgeon, and Microsoft cloud advocate Sonia Cuff.


Dates: May 20-23
Location: Toronto, Canada

Calling itself “the fastest growing tech conference in North America,” Collision has grown to over 25,000 attendees in just five years. Originally based in New Orleans, the conference has relocated to Toronto for 2019, where it is set to host more than 3,750 CEOs and 5,600 companies from over 120 countries.

Collision is aptly named, as it combines 14 different independent tech conferences – with their own exhibition area, workshops, events, and more – under one umbrella. As you can imagine, there’s something for just about everyone, and this year’s edition has over 100 speakers already confirmed, including executives from GE, Recode, Instacart, Sidewalk Labs, Porsche, Conde Nast, and more.

Augmented World Expo

Dates: May 29-31
Location: Santa Clara, California

Billed as the world’s No. 1 AR and VR conference and expo, this annual gathering of experts in augmented reality, virtual reality, and wearable tech will celebrate its 10th anniversary this year.

Drawing roughly 5,000 attendees from a wide variety of industries and backgrounds, the Augmented World Expo in 2018 featured speakers including IBM head of virtual reality and game design Aldis Sipolins, Adobe head of design lab Silka Miesnieks, and Epic Games GM Marc Petit.

Tech Cruise

Dates: July 7-14
Location: Orlando, Florida

Why should learning be landlocked? Network on the ocean over the course of this week-long conference, primarily aimed at digital marketing professionals.

With stops in the Bahamas, Mexico, and Honduras, Tech Cruise promises content geared toward anyone interested in UX/UI design, content strategy, data analytics, SEO strategy, usability/design, mobile marketing, and marketing automation.

Strata Data Conference

Dates: Sept. 23-26
Location: New York City

If you’re interested in big data, consider heading to New York for this comprehensive dive into the fast-changing world of data science and analytics.

With a focus on emerging trends in the industry, the conference promises to help attendees achieve demonstrable ROI while building security, compliance, and transparency for their data projects, apply machine learning techniques to solve business problems, and deploy and manage machine learning models.

If you’re not on the East Coast, you can also attend the Strata Data Conference from March 25-28 in San Francisco, where speakers will include Microsoft’s Francesca Lazzeri and Intel’s Jason Dai.

Adobe MAX

Dates: Nov. 2-6
Location: Los Angeles, California

Drawing more than 14,000 guests from the world of design, Adobe MAX is billed as the “creativity conference.”

Last year’s event featured an entire track focused on graphic, web and UX design.

Adobe MAX is another event that offers perspectives outside the usual voices from the tech industry. Last year’s keynote speakers included Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard, five-time Grammy-winning drummer Questlove, and comedian Tiffany Haddish.

Microsoft Ignite

Dates: Nov. 4-8
Location: Orlando, Florida

This tech conference is so sprawling – with more than 700 deep-dive sessions and 100-plus expert-led workshops – that Microsoft promises attendees can create their own “ultimate tech conference.”

With an eye on the future of cloud, data, business intelligence and productivity, Microsoft Ignite also offers the opportunity to explore new tools and tech through a variety of experiences and hands-on demos and to meet expert leaders from the company.

While waiting for the 2019 lineup to be announced, check out 2018’s keynotes on demand, including a three-way conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, SAP CEO Bill McDermott, and Adobe Systems CEO Shantanu Narayen.