The countdown is well and truly on for the second annual FastForward: Sydney, which today unveils its latest batch of speakers and locks-in its daytime programme with the return of the hackathon.

The brainchild of former EMI U.K. executive Chris Carey, FastForward: Sydney will take place across two days from April 11 at the Aerial Function Centre within UTS, Sydney, and features 40 local and international speakers.

Organisers on Wednesday announced fresh names to its lineup, including Helen Marcou (Bakehouse Studios/SLAM), Renee Hermsen (Promoter, Live Nation), Simon Cahill (VP Partnerships + Audience Management, Warner Music Group) Melody Forghani (twntythree music), Mel Cheng (One Louder), Keith Tan (CD Baby, Singapore), Jackie Antas (GM Communications, Live Nation ANZ) and Poppy Reid (Managing Editor, The Brag Media).

poppy reid
Poppy Reid. Credit: Stewart Munro

Warner’s Cahill will log double-duty. He’ll back up for the “Can We Hack It” judging panel, alongside event co-organiser Vanessa Picken (Comes with Fries, Australia), Takayuki Suzuki (ParadeALL, Japan), Julie Knibbe (Soundcharts, France), Jeff Bronikowski (Warner Music Group,USA), Kate Burleigh (Amazon Alexa Skills, Australia) and Chris Carey (Media Insight Consulting, UK).

From this Friday (March 29), the smartest kids on the block are invited to compete in the hack-fest, which sets the challenge of creating a “voice experience” with Alexa Skills to “enhance consumer experience.”