Monday, February 4, 2013

ConnectOSphere 2013 report

What did the OGS in for me, personally, was the sections on the Web Experience line and on the opportunities to come from the Kenexa purchase; while well presented, and with some great demos, I just don't think that they grabbed the attention of the audience.

Indeed, by that time many of the people around me were checking their Twitter streams or reading their email rather than paying direct attention to the speeches.

At least the special guest, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was both interesting and on-topic, as he spoke about his collaborative production venture I'm still not convinced by the need for a band to open the show though. Just to put it on record, They Might Be Giants did the honours this year.

Breakout sessions

After that, it was down to the business of the show: breakout sessions, two extra daily keynotes (this year run alongside sessions rather than being run stand-alone), the various labs, the Showcase, special events and parties. Breakout sessions are the core of the show, but aren't the only things going on.

I went to quite a lot of sessions, and of those, just two that were less then perfect. Both were let down by their presenters rather than by the material, so even that wasn't all bad. But as ever, there were a few sessions that for me, really stood out, too:

  • Chris Miller's exceptional presentation on free Domino admin tools. For any admin person, this session alone may well pay for the whole show in savings to be made, regardless of the pure entertainment and energy that this man puts in his presentation.
  • Mark Roden on the use of JQuery in XPages. Very cool stuff. Mark was the guy who asked at Gurupalooza last year, as a newbie, what the value was to coming back. Carl Tyler just said "you'll come back as a speaker", and he did.
  • Craig Schumann on creating and using your own application apis via REST and using them to offer access to your application data in a controlled yet usable and simple way. Lots to think about here.


I then took some questions to the Developers Lab and chatted over them with developers, and also talked about the new Browser plugin for Notes. There's more on that later. I added stickies to a couple of charts in the User Experience Lab, to indicate my preferences against a list of Notes feature ideas.

I visited the Innovations Lab, where researchers from IBM research labs around the world were showing off the fruits of their work. All of them were in the Social world, and most were in the Connections and Analytics areas.

This is stuff to keep an eye on. Several of the Connections components were first seen at Lotusphere's past, in the Innovations Lab.

Two offerings which caught my eye this year particularly included SocialPulse, which looks at what employees are saying on internal and external social media, matching it with personnel data and understanding issues and opportunities with various visualizations, and CrowdFunding, giving people in the company access to a small amount of money ($100 in this case), and allowing them to allocate it to one or more projects that were seeking funding; like an internal version of Kickstarter.