IBM Connect 2013 – An overview and my takeaways

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Been home in Stockholm for a little more than three weeks after the buzzing IBM Connect 2013, I thought I would give you an overview of the conference, from an Infoware Exhibitor’s point of view. Here we go!

Pre-conference – at home

We have quite a long start-up period before going to a conference like this. Everything has to be set, planned and thought of. Which customers shall we meet? How many t-shirts shall we bring as giveaways? How many customers will attend our yearly dinner at Texas de Brazil on Saturday evening? As exhibitors, will we manage to promote our new product in a way we think is satisfying? Will our booth #C26 be the busiest in all the exhibitor area (the Solution Showcase)? It is safe to say we have a full-written agenda the weeks before leaving Stockholm.

Pre-conference – again but this time on site

Our part of the conference starts on Saturday evening when we have our annual dinner party with the Infoware family of close friends and customers at the Brazilian Steakhouse Texas de Brazil. We had a great evening with lots of laughs. This is an outstanding way to start-up the conference week and set the mood for the fantastic week ahead.

Sunday! It is in a way a day before the actual conference begins, and for some attendees a slow start-up day. But for us, exhibitors and IBM Business Partners, it is nothing as such. Sunday is on one hand Business Partner Day with sessions and lunch. But almost more important, setting up our exhibitor booth and preparing, rehearsing, perfecting our material before action begins the same evening. For a first time ever the schedule has changed so that we begin with a Solution Showcase Welcome Reception before the annual Beach Party. So after a long day of preparing, we opened our booth with high expectations. We were not disappointed! All three of us had a busy two hours of interesting discussions with old and new acquaintances. We now got the feeling that stayed with us the whole conference week: we are right on target! Our product DomainPatrol Social for IBM Connections is spot on in terms of Social Business and it for sure meets the expectations from the visitors in our booth.

After the evening start in solution showcase the Welcome Reception finished up on the beach between the both hotels Swan and Dolphin with dinner and entertainment. The Disney Magic took its effect on the 6.000 attendees and we all felt like a big family.

Welcome Reception at IBM Connect

Welcome Reception and Beach Party

Our busy booth at IBM Connect 2013

Probably the busiest booth at IBM Connect 2013

Solutions Showcase IBM Connect 2013

Preparing the booth for tonights opening

The conference

Monday. And the real action is about to begin. For us it means early morning start, sugar loaded breakfast (although, my colleagues complained a bit, and chose a more healthier alternative), talk to as many attendees as possible, giving demos of our new product DomainPatrol Social and explain how it can help businesses thrive and evolve their social intranet. Also giving out t-shirts with our cute ninja and the message “certified to kick ass”, swapping business cards with new and old customers, meeting friends, and much more. All in all, the solutions showcase was more crowded than previous years and our booth felt like the most crowded!

Monday evening means Business Partner Reception. Finger fooding with attendees from all the other business partners at the conference is a great way to round of a long day.

Kick Ass Ninja t-shirt

Kick Ass Ninja t-shirt

Breakfast att IBM Connect 2013

Sugar loaded breakfast – prepare for a long day

Dolphin Conference Hotel

Dolphin Conference Hotel at Disney

Tuesday and Wednesday is two whole days in the booth as well. Same procedure as Monday. Early start and be on top and alert at all times. Lots of discussions with other exhibitors, customers, IBM representatives and partners. Tuesday evening we all know what to do, it is time for IBM Nordic Dinner at Downtown Disney. We were approximately 250 attendees from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Island. Crowded and fun!

Wednesday evening you don’t want to miss. This year’s IBM Connect 2013 Party was held at Universal Studios Orlando. Feel free to eat, drink, go a on a roller coaster or any other of the rides. Our group went straight ahead to the roller coaster Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit! No queues, just go! I can’t tell you enough how we enjoyed it. It is a special feeling wandering around a big amusement park with only conference attendees who simply have one thing in mind: to have fun. 🙂

Demoing our product

Fredrik is doing demos of our product

Early morning start

Early morning start

Roller Coaster

The roller coaster Rockit at Universal

After a fantastic week we went home, totally exahusted and very happy. We always do our best so that these kind of events will be rewarding, learning and profitable for us and our customers, and this year was no exception. We now have a substantial work load with follow-ups and plans ahead.

And, the sun did shine on us non-stop. Disney did in fact make our week magic, and because of that we cannot wait until IBM Connect 2014. 🙂

Thank’s for reading! If you have any questions about the conference or one of the seminars, or our products, please comment below, email us at info@infoware.se or go to www.infoware.com

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Seeing is believing or should we upgrade just for an S?

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Until recently I did not really see the value to add video to business calls and business meetings. What made me change my mind was statistics saying that video is the most trusted media, we simply don’t trust text or a voice as much as a video. Somewhat correlated was realizing that most of us want human help when we have a problem, in other word we don’t look primarily in the intranet for FAQs or articles but for experts, human knowledge and talent.

Yesterday I visited a session on advanced video capabilities that IBM will ship in their next version of Sametime.  The session came down to two acronyms that affects all of us pretty much but hopefully without too many of you even notice.  I am talking about SVC and AVC (Scalable Video Encoding and Advanced Video Encoding)

Today Sametime video relies on AVC H.264, that is pretty good but not good enough for you!  From what I understand AVC means that the Sametime server looks at the connecting clients in a meeting/session and then transcodes the signal to the least common denominator client requirement and then sends that video signal to all connecting clients. This requires a lot of server power and limits the result for the meeting/session members that have a good link to the meeting server if there is a mobile with a poor link joining in. The server transcoding also makes it impossible to show more than one video stream in the meeting at once.

With SVC H.264 (which is actually an extension to AVC) the video is instead separated in three dynamic layers from the beginning and the server does not need to do any transcoding and each connecting client automatically chooses the best video-mix for themselves.

The layers are

  • Temporal
    • Fram rates 30 fps, 15 etc
  • Spatial
    • Resolution, VGA, HD, iPhone, 1024/768 etc
  • Quality
    • The fidelity of compression, how close a reconstructed frame is to the original input

For example conference room TVs can request a HD spatial signal with maxed out frame rate and quality while a mobile connecting to the same meeting can use something much “smaller”. The same device might always require the same Spatial signal but automatically change to lover temporal and quality rates when connecting over for example a slow 3G or wifi link.

SVC can also handle bandwidth/link changes during the video session gracefully adapting the video quality automatically down and then up again as soon as the bandwidth gets better again. In addition to that the SVC signal can switch between servers and we can for example have local SVC video servers closer to the end users in for example in Asia.

Another advantage with the lack of transcoding is multi video meetings; the server will be able to show several meeting participants videos at once. Sometime that might be good, it will be interesting to see how this will change the meeting cultures. Can we expect phone meetings with mandatory video to avoid unfocused attendees?

If you want to read more in detail on SVC I recommend Wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scalable_Video_Coding

Perhaps you wonder when we can help you get this important S. First IBM needs to release Sametime 9 (sometime after the summer sounds likely but I wouldn’t be too surprised if it is released earlier than so) and then your Sametime Standard servers needs to get to the new release. ST9 is smart so clients without support for SVC will still be able to join in but with the AVC limitations still there. That’s how we infrastructure geeks want stuff so we can deliver new value without necessarily needing to touch all clients. The Sametime mobile apps will of course get SVC support right after IBMs release!

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IBM Docs

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IBM Docs will be released both in the cloud and on premises.
Supports Microsoft and OpenOffice formats.
Where is IBM Docs? In Connections it lives in Files!

You kan create document Templates in Connections, from a template you can create a filé from that!!

IBM Docs really look like a desktop app!!
It is one of the nicest web app I have seen, it has potential to bring the best from both a desktop stabil app and a flexible web app with presens and collab functions.

Limited to 5 Co.-editors, if you need more editors this can have a observer mode!
If you have a larger audience you can easy bring The document into a webb meeting.

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jQuery in XPages

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If you want to make XPages not just look good, but to look awesome, you might want to take a look at jQuery in XPages. Mark Roden gave a funny and hands-on session on how to do it and how don’t. If you’d like to get started, go to his webpage (http://xomino.com/) and geek on from there.

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IBM Docs

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Is now available in an on premise version for Connections. It is shipped as an addon to version 4.x of Connections.
Later version for Sametime and especially meetings and awareness.
Also showing integration on an iPad inside the Connection native app, really cool with offline editing and synch back to Files.

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DomainPatrol Social for everyone

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We are overwhelmed of the reception of our new product DomainPatrol Social here at IBM Connect. The first two days of the conference has been quite busy for us here in the booth with a lot of interesting conversations with the visitors. It is safe to say that we have hit the right spot in social business and business value.

Now, preparing for day three here in Showcase.

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