VentureBeat’s second annual CloudBeat conference is coming up, and here’s why you should be there:

* Unlike most other conferences, customers are center stage at CloudBeat 2012. We’ll have IT executives talking about how they implement cloud technologies in the real world, sharing equal billing with the vendors that provide those technologies.

So if you’re sick of marketing mumbo-jumbo and want to know what the reality is behind all this “cloud” verbiage, come check out CloudBeat.

* It’s a small, intimate venue, perfect for learning about cloud technologies at a high level and for making deals. If somehow the people on stage aren’t clear enough with their examples or aren’t giving you the data you need, ask them about it afterwards. This is not a velvet-rope conference where only the few have access to the speakers. This is a true networking event.

* Cloud and mobile are two sides of the same coin. Cloud technologies enable the be-anywhere, you-can-take-it-with-you mobility that tablet and smartphone users demand. If your employees are using iPads or Nexus 7s for work (and you can bet they are, whether or not they got them from IT), cloud-based enterprise apps will make those devices far more productive and useful. That’s why learning about the cloud is critical right now.

* Last year, one of the most amazing revelations came from the chief information officer of a nationwide physical therapy chain, RehabCare: He said that the company saw a 92 percent reduction in broken devices after it switched to supporting Apple iPads and iPhones. The tipping point that pushed IT to support Apple devices? When the CEO got an iPad, of course.

The lesson isn’t that Apple products are amazing — though that certainly might enter your head, especially if compared with whatever pathetically outdated device, probably from RIM, your IT used to provide. Rather, the lesson is that well-made devices that don’t get in people’s way are less likely to get hurled against the wall in frustration and rage. The world is shifting away from PCs and smartphones designed for computer lovers and towards simple tablets made for nontechnical people; your employees expect your company’s tech to keep pace with this trend.

* Another thing we learned at last year’s CloudBeat event: Small startups have a shot at knocking behemoths like Microsoft and Oracle off their pedestals. Enterprise technology is where it’s at, as far as market opportunity and revenues are concerned. Forget about trying to make the next Pinterest clone or yet another mobile app for getting your Facebook friends to help you find the best onion rings in town. Build something that will solve a real problem for real businesses, and there is a small army of investors and customers waiting to help you succeed.

* We’ve got an amazing lineup of speakers. On the vendor side, we’ve got senior execs from Box, VMWare, Nimbula, Cisco, Huddle, Google, and more. On the customer side, we’ve got IT execs from Pepsico, Harvard University, Bosch Tool, Dignity Health (the largest hospital network in California), and the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Yes, the Mormon Church is going to talk about how it is using the cloud.

And, of course, on the VentureBeat side, we’ll have the talented moderation of our founder and editor-in-chief Matt Marshall as well as the onstage interviewing talents of VentureBeat reporters Jolie O’Dell, Meghan Kelly, and Christina Farr. I’ll be there too, so get in touch if you’re attending. I’d like to hear from you.

Want to attend? Here’s a link to register with a deep VIP discount of 30%.

Originally published on VentureBeat.