Amphion Forum, a security event to watch
by Zeljka Zorz - Friday, 2 March 2012.
Kurt Stammberger is the VP of Market Development at Mocana and the Chair of the Amphion Forum. He is best known as the founder of the annual RSA Conference. He joined RSA Security as employee #7 in 1990, helped launch spin-off company VeriSign, and created the brand for the technology that now protects virtually every electronic commerce transaction on the planet.

In this Q&A he shares why Amphion Forum is structured the way it is, how it changed since its inception and what you can expect at the event in Munich this March.

Introduce the concept of the Amphion Forum to our readers and explain how the event differs from other existing security events.

The Amphion Forum is an exclusive, interdisciplinary, and intense event which brings together thought leaders from academia, business, government and technology to discuss the threats and opportunities presented by the unprecedented proliferation of connected devices.

The Amphion Forum is different because of its interdisciplinary nature. The “Internet of Things” consists of industries that, up until now, haven’t interacted much. Grid companies didn’t confer with medical equipment makers. Consumer electronics companies didn’t share ideas with industrial automation companies. Only at Amphion do device security experts from different industries mix to share solutions and best practices they’ve discovered. We all have different pieces of the puzzle.

Wondering why we call it “the Amphion Forum”? In Greek mythology, Amphion was the son of Zeus & Antiope. When the city of Thebes needed protection, Amphion’s brother Zethus started hauling rocks to build a wall. Amphion had a better idea. Amphion has a magical lyre, and with it he charmed the rocks and stones around him with his music, and made them “smart”. Thereafter the stones did his bidding, assembling themselves into the massive fortifications that protected the kingdom and treasures of ancient Thebes.

What do you see as your strengths? Why does the Forum take place every three months? On what does it focus on? How many attendees do you expect at the Munich event this March?

The Amphion Forum is a new event designed along the lines of the “World Economic Forum”. Exclusive, interdisciplinary, and intense. It was launched last year in the United States by the same entrepreneur that launched the global RSA Conferences. So clearly, one of the event's strengths is it's pedigree: the RSA Conference is now the world's largest security event.

But unlike RSA, we aren't focused on PC/Network security. Amphion focuses on device security. We see the future of security focusing almost exclusively on connected devices. And not just phones and tablets - but consumer electronics, cars, industrial automation, smartgrid nodes, military electronics, etc, etc. We expect about 200 participants at the Munich event.

Finally - why every three months? Well, it's difficult for most people to travel halfway around the world for a technology event, no matter how compelling. So we move Amphion around to make it easier to attend. Also, we believe that there are important regional differences in how companies - and individuals - are approaching the device security problem. Amphion's nomadic and global nature help the event stay relevant to all communities and geographies.

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