“The ending of the Hardwear.io Conference USA, 2021 was a new beginning for me.” The thousand different participants and I said to ourselves.

The behavior shift that the worldwide pandemic has caused demands us to be isolated, yet our past experiences draw us towards having a social connection. When we talk about virtual conferences, it is generally unimaginable what to expect; we always prefer the physical platform. However, Hardwear.io changed my perspective.

Started in 2015, Hardwear.io is a platform for all individuals, researchers, industry experts to share their knowledge about hardware security and connect with each other. The event included three to four days of hands-on training sessions by industry professionals, followed by a two-day conference. Parallel to the conference, multiple challenges and contests were being conducted that gathered players across countries to participate in BioHacking Village, Wall Challenge, and more.

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It had only been a week since I started working for Hardwear.io. During my meet with my team, I observed how each one puts effort into playing their role to ensure the conference was a success. I, on the other hand, was just getting started. When I entered the virtual conference, I saw my team ready and pumped to get on with it; soon, fifty participants entered, and in no time, the number reached hundreds. I must admit the research about the Hardwear.io conference was merely the tip of the iceberg; the reality was much more pleasant. Personally, I was excited about exploring an altogether different industry that I did not know anything about.

The negative myth about ‘Technical talks are not for the regular audience’ vanished when I attended the conference for the first time. Being from a Communications background, I was under the impression that I would not make sense of the talk. Nevertheless, as the conference progressed, diverse topics such as The Cheapskate Revolution, Secure Builds, and more became meaningful. The heavy reliance on gadgets around us makes our privacy and data vulnerable; this is when being highly secure comes into place. Furthermore, when the hardware is not working due to some technical issue or hacking, it co-relates directly to the loss of money, time, and effort for an organization or even for an individual. The constant hard work and innovation by these industry experts will benefit us from securing our machines at a minimum cost.

Several speakers delivering speeches in their particular expertise gave me a better hold of knowledge regarding gadgets that simplify our everyday tasks. The insightful conference generated a curiosity in my mind to explore further possibilities and learn more about the basics of hardware. Every participant that attended the conference belonged to a distinct background, with contrasting levels of knowledge. However, Hardwear.io added value in each one of our lives. It is my privilege to attend the Hardwear.io conference and being part of the team.