Monday, February 4, 2013

ConnectOSphere 2013 report

Wednesday keynote

Another event that turned out to be way more interesting than I thought it was going to be was the Wednesday keynote session. As well as the final of the Social App Throwdown, Jane McGonigal, spoke eloquently and passionately about gamification in business -- what games could bring to business culture and to process. You can find some of her conference sessions and speeches on her Web site.

Parties and BALD people

Then there's events, receptions and parties and being fully social in the evenings.

BALD (Bloggers at Lotusphere Dinner) on Saturday, actually open to all comers, The Sunday night official opener, Showcase Reception, UKLUG night, and others, on Monday. Tuesday many of the IBM country operations have a reception, and then there's the Great Geek Challenge Quiz night.

The Wednesday night main bash this year was at Universal Studios. I think it's the first time we've been there and it's not rained, so instead I stood at exactly the wrong place on Twister, and got soaked!

The show closes on Thursday with three panel sessions; often rather more entertainment than enlightening, but well worth the time to attend. Gurupalooza puts the speakers on the Best Practices track on the stage, and is followed by the product managers and the developers.

After which the show closes properly with pure entertainment. John Hodgman talked mathematics with Steven Strogatz, highly entertaining as well as interesting. After all, did you know that 1.0 is actually the same as 0.99 recurring? You may need to think about that, and why.

Expectation

Did Connect 2013 live up to expectations? By and large, yes, it did. For a long-time Lotusphere attendee making use of the Lotusphere technical part of the program, there was all the usual content available: sessions on Domino admin and on Notes client management, lots of them on XPages for developers.

Apart from one session on the new Calendaring objects in the Java and Lotusscript backends, no traditional Notes client development content, though there were user and admin oriented Notes client sessions. Lots of technical sessions, too, for Sametime and Connections, though I didn't see any mention of Quickr.

For those who'd been attracted to the Connect bit, there were complete tracks on Smarter Workforce, Exceptional Customer Experience, and IT-related customer and business partner case study sessions showing how people have adopted Connections and social business and what they got for them.

But I'm a Notes and Domino person, as I think were the majority of the attendees, so I'm afraid that I paid little attention to these tracks. But things are changing. Notes and Domino are mature product sets in the collaboration space -- but still hugely valuable -- so it's important for IBM to show off the new girl, Connections, both technically and in business. Exactly was done for Lotus Notes in the nascent groupware and collaboration space, 20 years ago when Notes first appeared and Lotusphere was all new.