London Book Fair – a digital standstill?

MIke Byrne - LBF


We like to think Netex is unique (for various reasons!) but one of these is due to the services we offer to both corporate customers and educational publishers. It is this work with publishers, that allows me to visit London Book Fair , and I went along on April 8th for my third annual visit.

I like going to LBF, it’s different to the usual corporate focussed Learning Technology events we attend and provides me with some new perspectives. For those of you reading this blog, who are unfamiliar with the event, it’s a “global marketplace for right negotiations and the sale and distribution of content across print, audio, TV, film and digital channels.” It’s these digital channels that really interest us at Netex, we work with some of the world’s largest Educational publishers, such as Sanillana, Cambridge University Press, Group SM and Anaya – creating digital solutions that are transforming the 21st century classroom. It is for these reasons that I look forward to attending LBF, catching up with existing customers and talking to prospective new ones.

In Learning Technologies back in January, I delivered a seminar on a really interesting R&D project we are looking at, to use technologies such as xAPI and Web Sockets to turn traditional eLearning into collaborative classroom content (you can take a look at the slides here). Part of this seminar focussed on the evolution of technology within training and the difference between corporate and education in this respect.

Educational publishers and schools, colleges and universities had been leading the way in terms of the transformation of digital classrooms but I am not sure I saw anything on offer at LBF this year that made me say “wow!” I should intersect this by saying, LBF is very big and I was only there one day, so there may have been stands or seminars I missed, however….

I was looking for examples of how we can use technologies such as xAPI and the emergence of big data to start transforming how we can deliver content in the classroom but I am not sure I saw this. At Netex we are lucky to work with some truly innovative and forward thinking publishers, who are already starting to look at the potential within this area but I don’t think we have seen the sort of adoption overall that we were expecting say 18 months ago.

What I did see, specifically in the digital arena, was the continued emergence of cloud-based, multi-device digital solutions – enabling authors and publishers to distribute content much more easily and freely than ever before. The digital area did not seem bigger this year and maybe there will be some traditionalists that are thankful for this fact but there is no doubt that digital publishing will continue to grow, and I will return in 2015 to see by how much!


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Mike Byrne

Netex Global Channel Director - Mike has over 10 years experience working in the Learning Technologies sector. Experienced in developing direct and indirect sales channels for multinational product and service solutions providers, he joined Netex in January 2012 to open the UK office.