Today it is one week until IBM ConnectED, the conference formerly known as Lotusphere (and briefly also as IBM Connect) opens the doors in Orlando. This might be the last year the Lotus faithfuls gather at Walt Disney Swan to drink from the firehose of knowledge, as Lotusphere used to be described. Back in 2006 (if my memory is correct), IBM announced during the conference that the company had renewed the contract with Dolphin & Swan until 2015, a year that then was far in the future. Now we are there, and I an convinced that IBM will merge Lotusphere/Connect/ConnectED with one of their other big conferences.
This year we will see many changes. Some are already known, other we will probably see when or after we arrive. Some of the known ones:
- The conference will be smaller, the number of attendees have been limited to around 1500. The number of IBM:ers have also been reduced to a few hundred.
- The conference will take place (almost) in it’s entirety at the Swan conference center. A few sessions have been listed on the official site as taking place at Dolphin, like BP101: @IF(“Its Really Good”;”It MUST Be Notes”;”Must Be Something Else”) 25 Notes on 25 Years of Notes! with Carl Tyler, Mat Newman and Alan Lepofsky.
- ConnectED is more technical than the last few years, with less sessions dedicated to case studies and panels, and more focus on the technical aspects of the products.
- The conference is one day shorter, ending Wednesday instead of Thursday.
- There will be no theme park visit/party, instead there will be a poolsite party Tuesday.
- The Sunday night welcome reception will take place on the Swan Lake Terrace, as well as in the new TechnOasis area, which replaces the solutions showcase and social café from the past.
On a more personal front, some of my long-time friends in the Lotus/IBM/ICS community will not be attending this year, for a number of different reasons. They will all be missed. But many will still be there, and there are even several attending only the social events and not the actual conference. That is a sign of how strong the community is. I hope this will continue at whatever conference Lotusphere get assimilated into. The social part is the best part of the community. Like Volker Weber said a few years ago:
Let me tell you something: life is about people, not about technology. Your friends will be your friends. And you will see them again. And again, and again. Technology changes, friendship lasts. In change, there lies opportunity.
I am looking forward to the people of ConnectED 2015. And the technology. I am for example interested to learn more about the roadmap for IBM Verse as well as Notes/Domino on premises and in the cloud. I also hope to learn more about IBM BlueMix.
See you in Orlando!