E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

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IBM’s Lotusphere 2011 Highlights – A Proposal for DIA Now Delivered Successfully!

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If you would remember, a couple of weeks back, I mentioned how I was making my way to Orlando, FL, to attend IBM’s Lotusphere 2011 event, as part of my yearly pilgrimage to one of *the* top notch Enterprise Collaboration conferences out there nowadays! Back then I stated how on my way back, after all of the live tweeting I did while in there, I would be putting together a series of blog posts detailing some of the major highlights from the entire week. Thus today, now that I am finally back into the usual swing of things, I have decided to get things rolling with that series of blog entries. And how about getting things started than with one of the major highlights from the entire week altogether!?!? Yes, A Proposal for DIA is now a reality. Fully delivered successfully and big time: Lotusphere 2011’s wi-fi connection worked amazingly well during the entire week! The way it should be for any tech conference!

But, as most of you folks out there would remember, things haven’t been that pretty in previous editions of such massive face to face event itself. In fact, last year I blogged about an opportunity to propose some Decent Internet Access (DIA), seeing how poor the overall performance from the wi-fi was throughout the entire week. Well, Lotusphere listens. Lotusphere pays attention. Lotusphere, a year afterwards, on the next edition, delivers and does a beautiful job altogether! Just brilliant! I tell you, and I know you would agree with me on this one, it makes such a big difference, to be able to follow streams in a comprehensive manner from both #ls11 and the Lotusphere Social Media Aggregator. Yes, again, just the way it should be.

I realise that while we were at the “Ask the Product Managers” main session on Thursday morning someone from the audience provided the feedback that the wi-fi experience was not that good during the course of the week, and I was a bit puzzled myself, because to me it worked ROCK SOLID the *whole* time, and I kept hearing the same thing from all of the folks I got to interact with! We even had that as one of the main conversations altogether!, even when we were not attending any sessions and wanted to get connected throughout the conference venue(s). And, believe me, you folks out there who I may have met face to face already know already how picky I am with these things. Specially, when you are all pretty jazzed up and excited wanting to spread the message around. If it works, like it did this time, the whole experience is just so much better! For everyone! Even for those who couldn’t make it and who wanted to tune in remotely from the comfort of the Social Web.

My good friend and fellow IBM colleague, Stuart McRae shared, in a short blog post, how this time around there were around 1,600 iPads connected to the conference’s wi-fi, amongst several other hundred devices and smartphones. Two of those were mine. My iPhone 4, which I hardly used, other than taking a few pictures, and, of course, my beloved iPad, which, once again, came to the rescue, nice and dandy, from this poor business traveller, helping him ease his back and wrists pain carrying a single device, as if were a good book! And, boy, did it deliver?!?! Every day, consistently, over 12 hours connected and interacting all over the place, and there was still some battery life left! Can you imagine that with a regular laptop? Can you imagine the flexibility of moving around, constantly connected to the network, and not having to worry about running out of battery juice at the most inopportune time? Yes, indeed, that was my main experience throughout the entire week! And I surely had a blast!

Like I said, last year, I was a bit frustrated that most of us couldn’t get hooked up to the Lotusphere conference wi-fi and enjoy the conference the way it is supposed to. This year, I am extremely pleased that things have now been sorted out, hopefully, once and for all, and that we are finally seeing a huge technical conference taking place where the wi-fi works consistently! Yes, I am saying huge, because there were several thousands of people attending it live, and all of them carrying around multiple gadgets and whatever devices, and it worked just great!

Thus what a year ago was A Proposal for DIA for Lotusphere 2011, a year later, it’s a new reality, delivered with some outstanding performance and reliability (I didn’t even have a single issue once! Can you believe it? I couldn’t. I do now). Robust tech conference wi-fi availability is not longer a wish for the near future. It’s a reality. IBM has made it happen for Lotusphere and I guess they have now raised the bar for everyone else. If they could do it for several thousands of people, I guess there is no longer an excuse for everyone else. Pressure is on. It just works, like it should be, and as such we would no longer need further proposals for Decent Internet Access. #ls11 has surely proved it can be done. It has proved there is a new standard to be met for each and everyone of those tech conferences out there that will be happening through 2011.

And the least I could, as I get to wrap up this first blog post of the series of entries on Highlights from Lotusphere 2011 coming up shortly, was to put together a few words and congratulate, big time!!, the organising committee for being out there, actively looking for feedback, listen to people’s experiences, amending what didn’t work in past editions and provide a superior experience the following time the event gets hosted! Yes, I know, that’s the way conference events should be like. That’s how events like this one could eventually enter the Social Web back in full force! We very much needed it!

Thanks ever so much, Lotusphere Organising Committee, for an outstanding job! You should feel proud! I know I am!

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