Connect 2017 Registration - Same Name But Something Very Different

Today registration has opened for the conference known as Connect 2017.  Connect in Orlando wasn’t anything more than a rename of Lotusphere but although this bears the same name it’s very far from being the same event. Connect 2017 is taking place in Moscone West in San Francisco at the end of February but that’s not the biggest change - the content,  structure and even pricing is drastically different too.

Let’s start with the title and tagline.  No more vague marketing phrases about what the conference is about (“pool of knowledge”) instead we have “Redefine work with Watson”. You may not know what Watson can do for you or your business yet but the conference very clearly is planning to focus on that

Then we have the tracks

Emerging Technologies

Explore the promise of technologies like augmented reality, Internet of Things, blockchain, artificial intelligence and Watson, and their potential to change our work and life challenges.

So if you want to understand new technologies, things your customers are only aware of on the peripheries , if you want to understand how to position your skills and what opportunities are out there this is for you.  This is definitely for me.

Strategy and Business

Discover how pioneers are addressing current trends and issues in the evolving domain of strategy and business. Led by industry speakers and leveraging case method, the track explores business challenges, approaches, and outcomes across engagement, expertise, productivity and work.

I have no idea what will appear in this track but i’m encouraged by the terms ‘industry speakers” which suggests we’ll be hearing from outside IBM

Development, Design and Tools

Delve deep into product, design and code. Build a deep understanding of products and solutions that help us redefine everyday work including Verse, Connections, Notes, Domino, Bluemix, WebEx, Toscana, Spark, Box and more.

.. I’m calling that “Best Practices” in my head.

On top of the tracks there will be “lightning talks” which sounds like pop up Ted type short sessions appearing around the conference.  But what do I know.

Now we come to registration pricing and some nice new offerings

Full Conference Pass @ 1695 USD (or 100 USD less if you are an alumni) this gets you access to everything including receptions, breakfast and lunch. A Daily Conference Pass is also available at 895 USD.

Experience registration at 995 USD includes everything except the hands on labs and breakout sessions. For 995 USD you can still attend keynotes the expo and lightning sessions but if you don’t usually go to regular breakout sessions, if the conference is more of a networking than direct learning event for you, maybe the Experience registration is better.

Finally if all you want to do is visit the Expo and network you could opt for Discover Connect at only 89 USD per day.

Take a look at the registration options here. I’m hoping IBM will allow upgrades from one level to the next but I can’t find any confirmation of that right now.

Connect 2017 - All Change & Call for Speakers

The website for IBM Connect 2017 is now up and giving us more detail about the event next year. It’s all change from Orlando to San Francisco but actually the only thing that hasn’t changed is the name - from the looks of the event and tracks this seems to be a very different kind of conference.

Taking place in San Francisco at Moscone West from 20-23 February there seems to be a bigger focus on new technologies than in the past and certainly ones that step further towards the edges of traditional ICS products.  Today many of us work cross-product and with hybrid infrastructures so its welcoming to see IBM recognising that and offering a conference that gives us both present and future topics to learn.

Registration for the conference isn’t open yet, but you can submit a session as a speaker here  only until Nov 4th and the topics listed give an insight - an exciting one I think - into what the conference will contain.  I plan to submit a session myself and hope to be there in San Francisco next February even if I’m not speaking.

Sessions can be submitted in the following categories:

Emerging Technologies: Join experts discussing technologies that are shaping our world. The Emerging Technologies track explores our work/life challenges and investigates the promise that technologies like Augmented Reality, Internet of Things, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and Watson will bring.

Strategy and Business: Discover how pioneers are addressing current trends and issues in our constantly evolving domain of strategy and business. Led by industry speakers and leveraging case method, the track explores business challenges, approaches, and outcomes across engagement, expertise, productivity, and work.

Development, Design and Tools: Delve deep into product, design and code with the experts. Discover a deep understanding of products and solutions that help us redefine everyday work including Verse, Connections, Notes Domino, Bluemix, Cisco WebEx TM, Toscana, Spark, Box and more.


Spark Ideas - Connect 2016

This year at Connect in Orlando the Nerd Girls and IBM once more hosted the Spark Ideas session where we ask people to talk for around 6 mins on any topic they like.

This year we had some great from changing career to changing country, to dealing with large life changes to growing your own vegetables. We managed to get the sessions recorded* and we have now uploaded them into a youtube playlist for you to enjoy.

I hope you find them as entertaining, enlightening and moving as the audience in Florida did.  A huge thank you to Amanda Bauman, Jamie Magee, Ginni Saini, Chris Miller, Lauren Maxwell, Theo Heselmans, Mat Newman and Carolyn Pampino for so generously sharing

*apologies to Mitch Cohen who took the raw video as I then edited them and uploaded them. Any issues with the video are entirely down to me.  Thanks Mitch!

Orlando Here We Come…

Surprise and delight (yes honestly, I had no idea if I’d get on the agenda this year) but I’ll be speaking at IBM Connect in Orlando in January.  When I heard about my session acceptances no-one else seemed to be posting about theirs so I wasn’t sure if there was some NDA I had missed.. apparently not and now the session preview tool is available with all the sessions and timings, I guess I’m good to share 🙂

On Monday at 11.30 am in Lake Eola A I will be presenting on security with Mark Myers from LDC Via.

Our session will focus on the recent SSL vulnerabilities and how to create and deploy a SHA2 certificate (#1086)

Two years ago enabling your site with SSL was a simple affair, buy a certificate or create your own, install it, then just remember to renew it every couple of years. Then, suddenly security holes are being found in SSL virtually every month , popular browsers stop connecting to your site to protect themselves, and you’re continually being told your users data is at risk. In this session we will discuss how it all went wrong and can go wrong again, then go through each step of requesting, generating and deploying a 4096 SHA-2 certificate to use in a keyfile by Domino, IBM Connections, IBM Sametime and other WebSphere products. If you work with these IBM products and need to secure them with confidence this session will show you how!

On Tuesday at 5.15pm (eek!) in Lake Mizell AB

I’ll be presenting on how to Plan & Complete a Connections Upgrade, hopefully talking about Connections 5.5 if it’s shipped and out of NDA by then.

This is the last session of the day on Tuesday just before everyone leaves to go to Harry Potter @ Universal so I’m going to take a chance that some of you will be there and put together a great presentation for you (#1084)

So we have IBM Connections installed, but now it’s time to consider what and when to update. It could be a WebSphere fix or a DB2 fixpack, a new application, or database scheme. Some updates are for security, some for performance and some for new features. In this session we’ll discuss how you can decide when and what to upgrade, how to plan for and perform a safe upgrade, test when it’s complete and what things can trip you up along the way. All of this is based on lessons learned over hundreds of deployments.

Finally I’m really excited to say that IBM have invited us to do Spark Ideas again this year

- it’s always a fun and inspiring time when 8 or so brave volunteers get up on stage to tell us in 6 minutes about something that inspires them or changed them.  I’ll do another blog following on from this explaining more but if you know Sparks, enjoy Sparks and will be at Connect drop either Amanda Bauman (@amandabauman) or I a line - as always we are looking for volunteer speakers (and if you know you would like to talk but don’t know on what, I can even help you work that out)

Sparks will be 2.30pm on Tuesday in Florida 4 - give your week a lift and come and see us or even join in.  We’ve got ideas for a few surprises this year too (#1120)

I am writing my sessions now so if there’s anything you would like to ask me to cover (within my topics) please let me know and I’ll try and do that.

So Orlando here I come (well “we” as my colleagues Mike Smith & Tim Davis will be there too).. we really look forward to seeing you there.


Turning The Optimism Up To 11

After last week’s great MWLUG conference (thank you Richard Moy, Lisa Duke & all the sponsors ) I realised how much I miss my community now there are fewer chances to meet in real life. I’m reminded it’s far too easy to think what’s the focus in my little personal bubble matches what everyone else is doing. My friends are not just my friends, they are the people who nudge me off track and kick my brain into thinking about new things it wants to learn and do.

The biggest gathering of all is always January in Orlando and although I had resigned myself earlier this year into saying goodbye for the last time (and literally did that) I realised I’m not ready to walk away whilst there’s still a strong community of people just as vocal and excited by technology (albeit very different technology) as when I first went in 1995. I saw it in Belgium in March, in Norway in May, in Atlanta last week and will see it again in London in a few weeks. So. Orlando.

I have no idea what the conference will be

I have no idea if my friends will be there

I have no idea if I’ll be speaking

But today I booked my flight, put a deposit on accommodation and sent in 4 abstracts which I’m excited about. I briefly went through the panic of “but how do I word this so IBM will pick it” before giving myself a slap to remember it’s not about what I’m meant to talk about, it’s about what I know, want to share and what I think people want to hear.

I may not be on stage - I don’t know if my subjects or even me are what are wanted this year - but I’ll be there, ready to hug my friends, share ideas, talk and laugh. I hope you will be too.

All Change On IBM Connected Abstract Submission

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the Connected Abstract submission process and the topics available to choose from

.. that was then.  This is now  All change.  Gone are the topics of

Digital Experience, Email, Meetings and Chat, Social Collaboration, Social Content

To be replaced by more familiar “topics” that look more like the tracks we are used to.  As I discovered when I went to submit the ones I had written in draft .. time for a bit of a rework.  You still have until September 4th to submit yours

Abstract Topics

Submitting Abstracts For Connect 2016 And Some Interesting Discoveries

Yesterday the IBM Connect 2016 site updated with the call for abstracts, so today I’m submitting sessions because I don’t know 100% what form the conference will take but I want to contribute as best I can to deliver the kind of event we all want to be at.  They may not pick my session (alright sessions - I’m submitting a few choices) but I have topics I’m excited about and that I think people want to learn about so I went to submit.

First thing’s first, as with last year you have to create a speaker profile before you start with your background and a small bio but what I really found interesting was the submission form. There are no mentions of any specific tracks so when you submit a session you only get to choose from “Technical Breakout” or “Business Strategy Breakout”.  What’s really exciting is the list of topics to choose from which I assume are alphabetical rather than importance order

Digital Experience
Meetings and Chat
Social Collaboration
Social Content

Look at that! Those topics may be broad but they are exactly the things I want to hear about (Email, Chat, Social Collaboration) and talk about.  In previous years we’ve had a lot of other topics listed that I would say fell outside the core interest of people that attended Lotusphere of old.  I’m not saying that’s bad but it’s certainly good news that this conference is embracing the topics and technologies we’re all working with today and not just those IBM hope we will be working with tomorrow.

The categories that your session can fall into are short and sweet as well - personally I”m excited to see sessions that fall under these headings


There are only a few weeks to submit as it closes on September 4th and I’ve heard noises about the short notice but I’m honestly not sure why.  It’s not a surprise to anyone that Connect is running in January, that was announced months ago. It’s not surprise content, we are all working with these technologies.  Submitting an abstract is simply a case of finding a topic that interests you, that you have a unique slant on and sending it in.  My plan as always - be enthusiastic, write a good abstract and hope for the best.

I’m not involved in any way with the content this year but I’ve seen enough abstracts over the years to offer some advice I think - YMMV but here is last year’s posting on how to write an abstract 🙂

Good luck and click here to get started..

BP304: What We Wish We Had Known: Becoming an IBM Connections Administrator

This is my presentation with Paul Mooney on Connections administration.  In it we attempted to cover all the key things about Connections administration we think you need to get started.  I realise it’s a very heavily graphics based presentation and I will be uploading some speaker notes to go with it next week hopefully.