Last week some of the After Digital team were lucky enough to attend the notorious annual Tessitura Learning & Community Conference (TLCC) 2013 in the digital hub that is San Francisco, finding out about all the latest advances in Tessitura ticketing technology and meeting an assortment of friendly faces.

Bringing together a community of over 400 prestigious arts and cultural organisations from across the globe who form the Tessitura Network, the Conference ran for five days from Sunday 14 July to Thursday 18 July.

San Francisco’s culture of unity, liberalism and pluralist values made it the ideal host city for the event, echoing Tessitura’s organisational objectives and community-based approach. Attendees were given access to several stunning locations and landmarks, including the impressive Davies Symphony Hall where delegates were able to enjoy an intimate performance from the Tessitura Choir, followed by networking in the spectacular San Francisco City Hall.

Tessitura utilised a unique networking approach, called ‘Neighbourhood Networking’, which encouraged delegates to mingle by changing tables for each course of dinner and dividing initially by department and then by interest. This was a fantastic way to meet a plethora of interesting new people, discuss hot topics from the day and encourage interaction.

Throughout the duration of the Conference delegates noted a significant shift in this year’s core theme; moving away from a focus on websites from last year’s Conference to a more holistic view on digital strategy and how it impacts today’s multi-faceted online presence.

The keynote presentation, from the venerable Luke Wroblewski - an internationally acclaimed author, UX and digital product expert - embodied everything the Conference was about. His engaging talk reinforced the core messages that underpin our agency’s approach, emphasising the importance of taking a mobile-first approach to deal with the modern scenario-based, multi-device digital environment. He challenged arts’ organisations to review the way they look at their online presence, identifying appropriate touch points and new opportunities for connecting with audiences. Critically, he stressed “not to just make things smaller for mobile” but start with mobile and scale up, making the most of all the additional functionality this presents, i.e. location-based marketing, personalisation, built-in cameras, etc.

From a Tessitura Web Capable agency perspective there were lots of interesting discussions around the new REST API and scope for development, as well as the new features and functionality of Tessitura V12. Tessitura talked about the community-driven design approach, which involves the users of Tessitura Software to generate the most intuitive and effective products going forward, and outlined a roadmap for the future of this innovative ticketing technology.

The final evening consisted of a closing dinner and networking event in the incredible California Academy of Sciences, which boasts its own aquarium and rain forest, amongst a multitude of fascinating exhibits. As well as having free reign to explore this awe-inspiring venue we were lucky enough to be treated to a performance by the Tessiturians band, making it a truly memorable occasion.

The whole conference was facilitated by the ever-present and engaging Tessitura staff, who integrated with the other delegates, helping to enrich their experience and promote a real air of collaboration and community.

The experience was both educationally enriching and thoroughly enjoyable and we thank the Tessitura staff for their fantastic organisational and planning skills, to pull of this momentous event. We look forward to seeing all our old and new Tessitura Network friends later this year in London for the UK Tessitura Conference and next year for the annual international Tessitura Conference in Dallas!

Graeme Pratt, Systems Analyst & Integration Specialist, said;Being invited to the Tessitura Learning & Community Conference was a real honour. Tessitura are such a unique organisation who have managed to nurture fantastic relationships between its Network of global licensees, suppliers, developers and staff, and we’re excited to be part of it. The Tessitura ticketing technology is world-class and its aspirations to continually evolve and innovate to benefit the arts and cultural organisations using it align perfectly with our own values. We look forward to continuing to develop our Tessitura integration solutions and bespoke After Digital Tessitura Bridge™ product off the back of our ever-evolving knowledge and learnings.”

David Johnstone, Business Development Director, said; "It was great to see digital strategy and mobile was at the forefront of thinking at this year's Tessitura Conference, embodying the strategic focus on digital innovation that we, as a digital agency, constantly strive for. The Tessitura staff went above and beyond to produce an informative and memorable event, whilst bringing its Network ever-closer together. Thanks to everyone involved!"