It's all about knowledge. The technical talks are rarely, if ever worth attending. Let's face it, now one is going to give out trade secrets in those things. At best, they are a minor muse towards how you could do something. The real benefits in conferences is seeing things you didn't know existed. Do you need a 10+2 1/10G ethernet, mil-rugged, layer 3 switch in a forum factor the size off your fist? If you do, then hell knowing the right company is the difference between a project going bust and making it. Conferences are about sharing knowledge of the technology that exists that you don't know about, not about saving costs on commodity items. No one is going to go to a conference and say "zomg, I just saved my company 50% on the price of steel!".