What’s A Conference Without A Dolphin Rotunda?

Those of you that understand the heading to this post know what I mean but for those that don’t.. through 20+ years of Orlando IBM conferences around ICS products, the general gathering place, the place where you’d sit and catch up with people walking by, the place where you could always go to find someone to talk to – was the Rotunda in the lobby of the Dolphin hotel.

This year at Think in Las Vegas there is no Dolphin hotel and no rotunda but I believe we still need a gathering place.  A single location where people can go, get a drink and meet up or catch someone walking by.  Having been to Vegas a lot (don’t ask) and InterConnect last March, I’m suggesting this place – Mizuya at the Mandalay Bay https://www.mandalaybay.com/en/restaurants/mizuya.html

It’s right outside the conference entrance so probably a <5 minute walk

It is basically a bar that opens at 11am and serves sushi all day

It has a live band in the evenings

It doesn’t have to be that place (I’m open to suggestions) but I think we need to put our stake in the ground and choose “A PLACE” so everyone knows where to go and where to find each other.

Anyone?

 

THINK Adventures

IBM Think is fast approaching in March (19-22) in Las Vegas.   I enjoyed the larger scale and scope of InterConnect and this is going to be even bigger so here we go….

Speaking:

I currently have one confirmed session on the Think site, I will be presenting on single sign-on both the technical aspects and the behavioural ones focusing on working across hybrid systems and with external solutions.

I am also confirmed to do another session on Domino that i’m very excited about but more on that later when I can share..(VERY excited)

Finally I will be at Champions day which is taking place on Sunday 18th and hope to be speaking there too.  This is open to all IBM Champions.

Show Floor:

At InterConnect I spent one entire day walking the showfloor (or whatever it’s called) visiting booths and really learning what is new, what is interesting, and what I had no clue about in sectors I don’t usually work in.  I plan to spend a day doing that again. I was very interested in the security products for instance and I particularly enjoy walking up to a booth and watching them look surprised when my response to their “we are out of giveaways” is “I’m not here for those, I want to know what you’re selling”

Make sure you give yourself enough time,  at InterConnect last year there were lots of labs dotted around the show floor between the booths as well.  I’d say you want at least 4 hrs.

Sessions:

So. Many. Sessions.  Make sure you download the app.  Previously I tried to plan sessions in advance but the day and my interests move too fast and there is simply too much choice so my plan this year is to wing it slot by slot “OK what are my options for this morning? – that’ll do”.   Don’t miss out on some of the talks either, there are many theatres doing short and longer talks which have a broad subject matter. Last year my favourites included a talk on Robotics Engineering from Dr Sabine Hauert of Bristol University, a talk on new media from the editor of Buzzfeed, and Linden Tibbetts CEO of IFTTT discussing how they work with large amounts of data.  None of those theatre talks are recorded or come with shareable presentations so you have one shot to see them.

Networking:

The size of Las Vegas actually provides great opportunities for smaller networking meet ups (you can’t go 5 steps without coming across a bar)|.  I will be there along with my colleagues in The Penumbra Group as well as my fellow Champions across all IBM sectors and I really hope to see some of you too.  If you see me (even if I look stressed and caught up with work which apparently is my resting face) please say hi, I love to talk to people about what they’ve seen, what they think and I love to talk about what I think. Sharing ideas and feedback is a very big reason to do this stuff in person.

Vegas:

I won’t lie, I’m a fan of Vegas which is odd because I’m not a fan of masses of people or noise.   I do like sun though.  And cheap high quality hotels.  And bars where you can ask for a cocktail and they know how to make it.  And music everywhere.  And really good food.  Vegas is notoriously cheap in the week and expensive at the weekend.  The last I looked the Luxor which is right next to the Mandalay where the conference is had rates as low as 60 USD per night during the week.  Even if you’re not coming to the entire conference (and I do have a 100 USD discount code for those that might want it), consider coming to Vegas to meet everyone.

So that’s it.  I’ve got lots to do beforehand to prepare but I have 1000 ideas of what I want to do and I’m already getting excited.  OK that’s partly because I really want to see what the sun looks like . but only partly.

I really hope to see you there, it’s not the same without you.

 

An Introduction To Docker From MWLUG 2017

Last week I attended and presented at MWLUG in Alexandria, VA.  This was my third MWLUG event and the biggest so far.    Lots of great and varied content, I even went to a couple of developer sessions, thanks to Richard Moy and the rest of the MWLUG team for putting on another great show.  Next year the conference is getting a new name and a new location in Ann Arbor MI.

This session has been changed from the one I gave previously to reflect changes in Docker storage and networking behaviour.

MWLUG – Sessions upon Sessions (Some From Me)

What are you doing this August?  If you’re interested in ICS technology then then you want to make your way to Washington, DC and MWLUG.  The Midwest User Group conference has once more moved to a new location for 2017 and will be held at the Hilton Mark Center, Alexandria from August 8-10.

Sessions have started to be announced and as well as the usual popular topics there are new Watson Work and Innovation tracks to play in.  Take a look at the list of announced sessions here .

I’ve attended and spoken at MWLUG for the past 3 years and it’s an event I look forward to thanks the the number and breadth of sessions and a chance to meet customers and spend time with the ICS community.  This year I’m speaking again and I’m very pleased to have three brand new sessions and one new speaking partner(!).

In the Best Practices track I’ll be showing you how to architect and configure a hybrid cloud solution for Domino

Setting Up a Hybrid Domino Environment to Ease your Way to the Cloud

Are you looking at Cloud options and wondering how and if you can get there from where you are? If you have Domino on premises and are considering Cloud then a good option is a hybrid architecture which maintains all your on premises configuration managed by your own administrators but adds Cloud client access managed by IBM. We will look at how simple it is to create this hybrid solution using Domino passthru servers and review how things like user and directory maintenance, client access and mail routing will then work. From Domino Admin to Domino Hybrid Admin in a few simple steps.

In the Innovation track I’ll be discussing IoT in the Enterprise, security implications and opportunities

IoT In The Enterprise Brings You Industry 4.0

IoT brings us to the beginning of Industry 4.0 and with the opportunities for improved delivery, services and customer relationships comes challenges of data management, creative process re-engineering and most of all security. IoT devices are arriving through the door each day, meanwhile the introduction of GDPR compliance next year brings additional responsibility for data ownership and privacy. . In this session we will investigate the opportunities for IoT in different business sectors alongside the risks of the IoT experience. We will discuss how to defend and protect against today’s IoT’s vulnerabilities and review how security offerings such as blockchain are evolving. We wil also offer a checklist for how your enterprise can plan for and benefit from the emergence of enterprise IoT.

Finally , in the System Administration track I’ll be joining Linux expert Bill Malchisky  to discuss Docker on Linux and what you need to know

Running Docker and Linux Together

The introduction of docker within IBM’s product strategy as well as the popularity of containers as a solution means it’s time to learn some new tools. Join Gab & Bill as they offer architectural insight for both Linux and Docker along with storage and network isolation tips. Curious about good and bad devops processes, deployment, upgrades and backups? You will receive technical explanations with examples. If Linux is the path ahead, Docker is the depolyment conduit. Let’s get you ready for the journey.

Thank you in advance to the NH / Maine convoy that will help get me from NY to VA,  I’m looking forward to sharing these new sessions and learning some new stuff myself.

Thoughts On Think

IBM have announced their new one-size-fits-all conference Think 2018 which will take place in Las Vegas next March.  This will consolidate several existing conferences including Connect (previously San Francisco and before that Orlando) , InterConnect (Las Vegas) and World of Watson (Las Vegas).

So to start with I’d like to say this is a great idea and what, as a 20+ year veteran of Connect (Lotusphere) and a newbie to InterConnect, I had hoped for.  However it’s also a lot of content, brands, interests, objectives and attendees to merge together so IBM to their credit are inviting feedback in their JAM session on June 20th on how best to do this.  I couldn’t wait until then and my friends are bored of hearing it so here are my top level ideas

  • Of all things let’s not separate brands into their own locations, especially ICS.  There is enormous value in being part of a larger pool of content, products and speakers
  • How about having a “brand” day at the end of the event or even the beginning so the brand focused strategy sessions could be presented to the brand focused audience.  Those brand days could be held at any hotel in Vegas
  • I’d hope that IBM maintain a single conference location for the main conference even if that means fewer and shorter sessions from everyone.

    To that end, I noticed InterConnect did not have the low level “how to” sessions that we’re used to in Connect. However there are plenty of great ICS user groups all over the world that do have those sessions.  Can we give up trying to find room for them in Think in favour of higher level more strategic sessions ?  I think so.

  • Why not group sessions together by interest area not brand.  ?
    • For developers working with ICS products, wouldn’t they also be interested in other development technologies and opportunities?  Why not have all the developer sessions across all brands near each other
    • As an admin much of my work involves integrating technologies and learning about what’s available across the entire stack.  The most valuable thing would be to make it easy for me to move between sessions / cross brands in one location. Whether it’s ICS, Cognitive, Security or Cloud – it’s all admin and I want to learn about it all.
    • For CIOs attending surely they would be more likely to go to multiple strategy sessions about multiple brands and products if they were located near each other ?
    • Having the opportunity for designated conference areas also increases the opportunities for networking with like minded people
  • Interconnect this year offered pick and go sandwiches and snacks over lunch in the Concourse (showfloor) which was a lot faster and easier than marching 1.5 miles to the aircraft hanger size room where the formal buffet was.  That’s also a huge space that could be freed up for more sessions.  Why not deliver cold sandwich lunches, more informal seating areas and more stations around the conference centre. There are also many places around to grab your own snacks or lunch.  I didn’t eat in the large hall at all after I realised how much time was wasted getting there and back.

Just a few thoughts that have been burbling in my head.  I’ll definitely be joining the JAM and you can register to do and read more about Think here

 

Session from InterConnect – IoT In The Enterprise

Firstly I’d like to thank Chris Miller from Connectria who wrote and submitted the original abstract then kindly let me have the session when he had a scheduling conflict.  Any issues or problems with the content are down to me not Chris so please don’t hold him responsible 🙂

The original abstract was

Enabling Internet of Things (IoT) so your employees and your customers can have a simplified experience with new services and products sounds exciting. In this session, we will dig into the top ten risks that come with the IoT experience. Due to the rapidly evolving nature of IoT and associated threats, there are risks in allowing access to your enterprise resources. Custom firmware, embedded operating systems and wi-fi connectivity of IoT devices offer many possible areas for exploits and misuse. Come explore current security offerings and get a first look at best practices. Walk away with an immediate checklist to benefit your enterprise as it deploys and offers IoT access.

There are several aspects to IoT in the Enterprise which are important to the world of collaborative working

  1. IoT devices generate a huge amount of data. That data has to be analysed and actioned.  In a presentation at InterConnect IBM made the point that 80% of data analysts’ time is spent on cleanup and scrubbing not analysis.  Although we have had access to big data for many years, most companies simply haven’t gotten their heads around how to work with it.  That’s going to become more and more critical as IoT devices start to appear in companies.
  2. Security is a huge issue with IoT devices that are still primarily designed for consumer use.  Most devices still transfer data over HTTP (even authentication data) and security has not been a priority.  The introduction of blockchain technologies such as the one IBM has developed is the best chance for having secure IoT devices but we’re not there yet.
  3. IoT is really the beginning of Industry 4.0 with 3.0 being “the internet” 2.0 being “the conveyor belt” and 1.0 being “steampower”.  Consider that your company is on the precipice of the beginning of the internet. You’ve heard of it, you wonder where it’s going to take you, you might be considering something called email.  Well IoT is going to change your business and give you the same kind of opportunities to leap ahead of your competitors as the Internet did.  This isn’t something you can choose to ignore.
  4. The technology might not yet be there but now is the time to consider how you would change your business processes if you could access any data and use it in any way.  Again, consider the changes in processes pre Internet and now.
  5. Being able to analyse data , redesign business processes on the fly and take action is all in the DNA of those of us who have worked for years in the ICS community.
    Data Analysis = WATSON
    Business Process Action = WATSON APIs

I will be presenting (hopefully with Chris) on this at Engage in Antwerp on May 9th. You can register for that here

My InterConnect & Where To Now

The post is purely my opinion.  It comes from love for my ICS community and excitement about what the future offers.  Your opinion may differ 🙂

InterConnect isn’t quite over, there’s still tomorrow but I feel confident I can write this blog now and I want to share it whilst the ideas are still bouncing around my head. At least some of the ideas. I don’t want to write pages here and I could.

A bit of background.  I went to Orlando as part of the ICS (IBM Collaboration Solution) conference for over 20 years and this year I went to Connect in San Francisco.  Then 4 weeks later three of us flew from London to Las Vegas to attend Interconnect.

I didn’t expect InterConnect to be anything like Connect.  Looking at the website and sessions it was clear this was on a very different scale. The number I heard was 20k people at InterConnect which was held at the Mandalay Bay convention centre.  Much as I enjoy Connect I remember the Lotuspheres of the mid 90s when the numbers of people were overwhelming, when there were more sessions to see than I could possibly fit in, when I would wander the showfloor for an entire afternoon just absorbing what was happening in the industry.  If I’m honest that feeling of excitement, or leaving the conference with my head bursting with things to learn had been missing the past few years.

I will say I left Connect this year more excited by the technology than I have been in years but it didn’t have the energy – the feeling of rushing along at the head of technological innovation and change that I remember from its heyday.  I have missed that.

What did I want from  InterConnect ?

I wanted to be inspired.  And maybe a bit overwhelmed.  I wanted my brain to spark with ideas.

I got all of that.

The first thing to realise is that sessions at InterConnect almost exclusively do not teach you how to do things, no how to write code or how to install or maintain things.  The sessions (IMO) are more intended to show you what can be done, what’s happening with different divisions of IBM and technologies.  Oh, and no-one knows who ICS is or cares about email or Domino or Collaboration.  I didn’t see , speak or hear about any of the ICS products all week.  So this isn’t about “our” technology directly and that’s fine – I know about that and there are many many great user groups every year I can attend for free that have sessions telling me “how’.   I will leave InterConnect having learnt about technologies and parts of IBM I had no idea existed and with a plan to go learn more.

None of those things move me away from ICS in fact I couldn’t help thinking how well our ICS community would understand and be able to bring value to these technologies.  I would see sessions on NoSQL and wish Mark Myers were there or on Blockchain and security and wish Andrew Pollack was there so I’d have someone to talk to about it, on data analysis and even storage.  I attended 6 sessions on Monday alone and not once, not once, was I bored. I could sit here right now and write abstracts for friends I know are amazing presenters on technologies that not only belong at InterConnect/WOW but that our community has a unique perspective on.  A best practices track at InterConnect is missing and we would rock that.

There’s also the issue of perspective. The ICS community in my opinion has closed in on itself in many ways, has become insular and narrow focused but being at InterConnect you can’t help see how small that world is compared to the rest of IBM. It’s just waiting for us to arrive and bring our skills, expertise and understanding of customers and collaboration. If you have left ICS to go work with other technologies in the past 5 years, those technologies are there at InterConnect/WOW and you don’t have to choose, you can combine existing knowledge with new knowledge in a way that I think is unique to those coming from a collaborative software background.

So where to now?  Well I can tell you that I’ll be at the next InterConnect (possibly World of Watson) and from discussions I had and heard this week, it’s unlikely Connect will be repeated as a standalone conference.  The general consensus is that Connect will be “rolled” into a large IBM Vegas based conference but possibly as a standalone pocket conference at its own hotel and with its own agenda just running alongside and with access to the larger conference.

I hate that idea.

HATE it 🙂

If it’s not clear from this long blog, I got so much out of InterConnect which gave me a chance to learn and hear about new things. I spent 4 hrs wandering the Concourse (show floor) talking to vendors, getting demos and visiting labs. So what would happen if ICS and all the ICS sessions were at say Caesers with InterConnect or WOW and only the keynotes at the Mandalay.

I’d never go to the Mandalay.  I’d miss all the InterConnect sessions.  And so would you.

If you have never been to Vegas it’s hard to understand scale but I averaged 7.5 miles walking a day just from my room at the Mandalay and around the conference centre.  It was only 4 mins from my room to the main reception but the size is Dolphin  + Swan.  Getting from Caesers to the front door of the Mandalay is at least 1.5miles. You could walk it or get in the queue for a taxi – either way you aren’t doing it to go to one session. Especially if all your friends are hanging out in the lobby or a bar at Caesers.

I think my ICS friends integrating into the existing InterConnect or WOW conference at the same location as everyone else could not only reinvigorate the community but save it.  

Don’t let IBM isolate ICS, let’s have a best practices “how to” track in Vegas at the Mandalay Bay and bring your skills, smarts and enthusiasm to a wider audience.