UbiComp 2013 Social Media ChairI continue our look behind the scenes this time with Christian Beckel, who manages catering for the main conference and takes care of sponors and exhibitors as well. Christian studied Computer Science and Business Management in Tübingen, Germany. Before joining Prof. Mattern’s group at the ETH Zurich in 2011, he worked 3 years as a development engineer at Bosch Corporate Research.

Q: Christian, could you briefly tell us what your responsibilities for UbiComp 2013 are?

Catering and ExhibitorsI take care of catering for the main conference, which also includes the organization of the social dinner. I will also be responsible for providing local support to sponsors and exhibitors – so far this has been mostly a few emails, but closer to the event I expect a lot more requests coming in.

Q: Catering sounds like a large undertaking – how many people do you expect?

Catering and ExhibitorsWe initially planned for about 450 conference participants, but due to our very strong early registration stats, I now have to ensure that we can handle numbers above 550. The particular challenge is that we will have the poster sessions take place during the (2 hours long) lunch breaks, while the demos will be shown during the welcome reception. I really need to work closely with our University catering services and the facility management to make sure there is enough space for everything and everybody 🙂

Q: What about the social dinner – that sounds equally difficult to organize for such a large number of participants?

Catering and ExhibitorsIt sure is! It is not so easy to find venues in Zurich that can actually host that many people. I must have checked out dozens of options on-line, and visited many of them in person, together with our General Chairs. I am very happy we finally found this amazing place: the Uto Kulm restaurant on top of Uetliberg, a hill overlooking the city of Zurich. If the weather permits, we should have an amazing view over Zurich, the lake, and the Alps from there! I just hope we all fit (laughs)

Q: Sounds like a lot of work indeed. What would you usually do if UbiComp wouldn’t keep you busy?

Catering and ExhibitorsMy research is in ubiquitous computing and smart energy, and in particular in novel services that electricity providers can provide to users to help them make more efficient use of energy. I am currently working on the analysis of electricity consumption data from thousands of households, from which I am trying to automatically infer the socio-economic properties of a household. If you are interested in the details of this work you can also read the BuildSys 2012 and e-Energy 2013 papers, which I have co-authored with another local organizing committee members, Leyna Sadamori, and our General Co-Chair Silvia Santini.

Many thanks for sharing this with us Christian!