Seriously, the tides have shifted.
A conference is mostly a place for marketing folks to get an idea of what people are peddling. It's a bazaar.
this can be valuable to you and your employer in 2 obvious ways.
1) you will come across products that you would otherwise not search for.
2) your employer will learn about how your product(s) suit the current market.
If neither of these things are something you or your employer care about, then they are useless.
When I send people I ask for 2 things:
1) find one gem of the shared knowledge in the sea of presentations that you can learn from
2) identify the closest competition and see what they are doing different