IBM ConnectED 2015 – The Good and The Bad

When I arrived to Orlando for the 18th time to attend Lotusphere (now renamed IBM ConnectED), it was with mixed feelings. The conference was much smaller than before, and everyone expected this to be the last conference in the Lotusphere format in Orlando. IBM had a contract with Disney that expired after the 2015 conference and we all knew it. So most attendees did see this as a last hurrah or a kind of farewell to Lotusphere.

But during the conference the feeling was something different. There was an energy there, and people were excited, not saying farewell.  Many new announcements were made that energized the attendees.  In particular the new web based mail client IBM Verse generated a lot of buzz.  The news that IBM Verse will integrate with Watson logic and capabilities and the promise of an on-premises version later this year were especially positive and energizing.

The sessions I attended were great. The opening session had a new format, with the guest speaker at the end instead of at the beginning, and this actually worked really well. There were a lot of demos, most of them said to be live, and no panels on stage. There were three customer stories/presentations (from Blue Cross of California, Bureau Veritas and LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton) and they were refreshingly more relevant than the “commercial breaks” of the last several years. The guest speeker was French high-wire artist Philippe Petit, famous for walking on a line between the two World Trade Center towers in 1974. This event is the subject of an upcoming movie called The Walk, with former Lotusphere guest speaker Joseph Gordon-Levitt playing Petit. I enjoyed his talk, it was one of the better ones. I still think he is crazy for what he does, though. 🙂

SessionIsFullThere were several session who were filled to capacity and had to turn away people, just like in the good old days of 10,000+ attendees back in 1998-2000. Yes, the sessions who were full were scheduled for fairly small rooms, but they were also extremely technical in nature. To me this indicates that this is just what the audience wants. More hard core technical sessions and less marketing and customer stories. IBM marketed ConnectED as more technical than in the past, and to a large extent they delivered. But there were still a number of sessions with less technical/product subjects.

Liz Urheim at IBM is talking about IBM Verse at the closing session
Liz Urheim at IBM is talking about IBM Verse at the closing session

The main focus of ConnectED was in two areas: IBM Connections and IBM Verse. The unexpected announcement that IBM Verse will be offered as a freemium product and positioned to compete with giants like Google Mail in itself generated a lot of interest. Attendees were also guaranteed early access to the new IBM Verse mail client.

Personally I really like the integration of IBM Watson in Verse, and the way email is sorted/categorized based on importance. I am looking forward to testing this for myself.  I hope there will be a way to import existing email from Gmail or even on-premises Notes mail into IBM Verse.

There were, as always, some complaints among the attendees and many had to do with changes to procedures from previous years. During registration, each person was give four (4) drink tickets for the Monday and Tuesday parties. Previously the drinks were free at these events.  Since the generic paper tickets given out at registration came from the office supplies chain Staples, some attendees considered just driving to a local store to buy some more. In the end IBM did not enforce the drink ticket policy.  They rescinded this in steps, first not requiring them at the Monday evening event where the 25th birthday of Lotus Notes was celebrated, and then again at the Tuesday party.

The traditional Wednesday party in a local theme park was moved to Tuesday last year, as the Kennexa part of the conference ended one day before IBM Connect (as the conference was called in 2013 and 2014). This year the party was held in the Dolphin hemisphere ballroom, with a band playing and serving some food and drinks. The party was two hours long, shorter than the theme park parties in the past. The loud music made it hard to talk, so I actually did not mind the shorter party. But I have to say that it did not feel anything like the events in the past.

It is obvious that IBM is in cost savings mode. The badge holders were regular clear plastic holders, not the much more elaborate and useful holders of the past with the conference name printed on it, integrated pen holders, pockets useful to hold and collect business cards as well as space for the convenient pocket guide with all sessions. But what irked the attendees the most was that the traditional pretzel cookie in the boxed lunch distributed on the last day of the conference had disappeared.  In its place was a generic cookie that was not well received by attendees. The Twitterverse lit up as disgruntled attendees expressed their strong displeasure using the hashtag #pretzelcookiegate.  IBMs Jeff Schick even mentioned this during the closing session.

The exhibitors at the showcase were located in a new area called TechnOasis, two meeting rooms in the Swan conference section across the hallway from where most of the sessions took place. Personally I liked the location, it made it much easier to drop by the different pedestals between session than in the past. The area was much smaller than in the past and a little bit harder to navigate. I am not sure if the size was due to fewer companies exhibiting this year or because the available space was limited. As opposed to previous years I was able to meet up with pretty much every exhibitor, and I found some very useful products.

One of those product was Domino4Wine, which lets you run Domino Designer and Administrator natively in OSX and Linux. Prominic.Net worked with (and paid) CodeWeavers, the company behind CrossOver, to get the IBM products working in Linux and on OSX. Teamstudio also announced that their products work in this environment, and other toolmakers like Ytria (creator of scanEZ and several other Domino toiols) and MartinScott Consulting (developer of NoteMan) also plan to make sure their products work in this environment.

This is a very interesting development, and it shows that the business partners community see such a strong value in Notes and Domino that they are willing to pay for development that IBM really should have done, and which the community have been requesting for years.

DSC_3671The closing session featured Dr Arthur Benjamin, a professor in mathematics. He is what he calls a mathemagician, and on stage he squared two-digit, three-digit and four-digit numbers faster than the assistants from the audience could do it with their calculators. He even squared a five-digit number, but that took a little bit longer, about 45 seconds. He also explained the method he uses to perform these calculations. The closing sessions are always great, and this was one of the best ones I attended, in my personal opinion.

After the closing session there were a number of traditional events loosely organized by members of the community. Linuxfest was held poolside.  This year it was more a review of Linux related news and a Q&A session for running Notes and Domino on Linux. Later that evening another tradition continued with the closing of Kimonos at 2am, followed by a gathering of about two dozen community members and IBMers in the Dolphin rotunda. Beverages were consumed and Mat Newman had his badge removed around 3.45am, marking the unofficial official ending of Lotusphere (or ConnectED if you are IBM).

People said farewell, with the usual “see you next year” and “see you next time” even though we were all acutely aware of the lack of future plans for the conference. Some people hope that the success of ConnectED 2015 (rumors talk about over 3000 paying customers, as opposed to the planned 1500) will pave the way for a Lotusphere 2016.

In my opinion the most likely resolution is that IBM will fold the conference into one of their mega-conferences in Las Vegas. The important thing then is that the ICS (Collaboration) products like Notes, Domino, Verse and Connections must have their own section and not be so mixed in and diluted with all other products. That would make it very hard to find our specific sessions and also be a huge disadvantage for the active and engaged Notes community itself. There is a need to have a place to congregate as specialists in this field so that we can meet, congregate, learn from each other, re-invigorate and motivate ourselves and enjoy each others company.

At the closing session, Liz Urheim from IBM said that the plans were still being discussed, but that there would be a ConnectED/Lotusphere in one form or another. She promised some news in the next few months.  Soon we shall see.

On a personal note, I am happy I got to see so many of my friends, and as always I made some new ones. Some of my long-time friends were missing and their absence was noted.  What is clear is that they are still part of the community even if they do not attend anymore or have moved on to work with other products or platforms. Once in, never out.

With this I am saying goodbye Orlando and goodbye Lotusphere. See you all next year, wherever and under what name it may be. To me it will always be Lotusphere.


IBM ConnectED 2015 – Community events

Outside the official program at Lotusphere/Connect there has always been a number of community events, organized by different people. One tradition for many years was Blogger open, a mini golf tournament at Fantasia Gardens across the road from Dolphin, but as of two years ago, that was cancelled. A new tradition started that same year, a soccer tournament Saturday morning, and that one will take place this year again. Soccer Saturday starts at 10am and ends at noon. More info here.

Another long time tradition is BALD, which stands for Bloggers (and friends) Annual Lotusphere Dinner. This one takes place at Big River Brewhouse on the Boardwalk, starting at 3.30pm on Saturday. People usually come and go, have something to eat, something to drink and enjoy each others company. This usually goes on until about 7pm or so.

After BALD most people continue over to ESPN a few doors down on the Boardwalk. Originally this event was know as Turtle’s Party, and despite The Turtle no longer attending Lotusphere, the party continues in the same spirit with people having fun together. The ESPN Pre-ConnectED Community Party starts around 7.30pm and goes on until people get tired or ESPN closes, whatever comes first.

Finally we have the annual Linuxfest. This year it starts 30 minutes after the end of the closing session on Wednesday, and it takes place at the Swan poolside bar.

You can find out more about these events by getting the Totally Unofficial Totally Unsupported IBM ConnectED Session Database.

I hope to see you at some of these events!

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Celebrate 25 years of Lotus Notes at ConnectED

Monday evening at IBM Connected there will be a party hosted by, SocialBiz User Group and the IBM Champions. The invitation can be found below. I hope to see some of you there. Due to the shorter conference, there are a lot of social events taking place at the same time, Monday evening is very busy. But I hope I will be able to make it!



Blogging anniversary – 7 years!

Yesterday marked my 7 year anniversary of this blog. It was in January 2008 I created my TexasSwede blog on, and in October 2012 I moved it to my own domain and switched to WordPress hosting.

My blogging frequency have been going up and down, based on what’s been going on in the IBM/Lotus world as well as how busy or motivated I have been. Over the years I have written 404 blog entries (including this one), making it an average of almost 58 entries/year or close to 5 entries/month.

So why am I blogging? I am not sure there is just one simple answer to that. I think it mainly have been a combination of wanting to share information I have gathered over the years , as well as wanting to be seen and/or recognized. The latter was more of a result of my blogging, not a reason in itself to blog, but it encouraged me to continue.

I had started blogging a couple of times earlier using the different Domino based blogs available, but those attempts ended up being just one or two posts. The one exception was in 1995 when I “blogged” during a scuba diving trip to Egypt. I wrote a web diary every day on the IBM Thinkpad 701 laptop I brought with me and also added photos I took with an early Kodak digital camera (DC-40 I believe I used on that trip). I did not have any kind of internet access during the trip, so I uploaded the page and pictures after I got home. Also, as opposed to a modern blog, the oldest/first day was at the top, as in a more traditional narrative/diary. I lost the text of that diary since, but some of the pictures have survived.

In 2008 I started blogging right before Lotusphere. I wrote a couple of entries the first few days, and I got good feedback on them, as well as several hundred views. So I got encouraged and continued. After about a month I got brave enough to start sharing code on my blog, and I also started using it as a way to expand on answers I gave to question in the developerWorks forums.

The next year at Lotusphere more people recognized me from my blog, and that further made me feel like it was worth my time and effort to share information. Eventually my posts became less frequent. One reason was that it was hard to post code on the IBM Connections based blog, and only registered users could comment, limiting the public participation. Those were among the main reasons for my move to WordPress in 2012, together with a desire to use my own domain.

With WordPress it was suddenly much easier to post code and embedded videos, and my blogging started up again. I could now also easily blog from my smartphone. I have been lucky enough that my boss let me blog more or less during work hours, and even publish code and information I generate for work. Usually I do it during lunch or after work, though.

Lately I haven’t been blogging that much, due to things going on in my life. The next few months will be very busy for me, but I hope to be have the energy to continue sharing code and information here. Last year I was so busy at Lotusphere IBM Connect that I did not write very much from there, but I hope to do a better job this year. Especially for my many friends who are not able to go this time.

So to everyone who been reading my blog: Thank you!
And an extra big thanks to everyone who took the time to comment on my ramblings.



One week to ConnectED 2015 in Orlando

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!


We are the IBM Champions

IBM ChampionThis morning I received a mail from IBM telling me that for the second year I was selected as one of the 96 IBM Champions. Last year I was very surprised to be selected and to be in the company of so many of the experts in the ICS/Lotus community that I for years looked up to and have been inspired by. I am extremely proud and grateful to have been selected again, and I will continue to post blog entries and code as a way to give back to the community. Many people (some of them are now fellow Champions) have been helping me in the past, and the last few years I have been trying to help others the same way.

You can read the public announcement here. Oliver Heinz, the Community Manager for the ICS Champions, also shares some details about the selection process in a blog entry.

I am looking forward to meet the other Champions (especially the 22 new ones for 2015) together with many other long-time friends at IBM ConnectED in Orlando in less than two months. See you there, I hope!

IBM Champions at IBM Connect 2014.
Photo by John Rolling, aka Greyhawk68.


Here is the list of the 2015 IBM Champions for IBM Collaborative Solutions (ICS):

Adam Brown Jesse Gallagher Olaf Boerner
Andrea Fontana John Dalsgaard Oliver Busse
Andreas Ponte John Head Patrice Vialor
Andrew Barickman John Jardin Patrick Hope
Arshad Khalid Julian Robichaux Paul Calhoun
Benedek Menesi Karl-Henry Martinsson Paul Della-Nebbia
Bill Malchisky Kathy Brown Paul Withers
Brad Balassaitis Kazunori Tatsuki Per Lausten
Brian O’Neill Keith Brooks Ray Bilyk
Bruce Elgort Kenio Carvalho Rene Winkelmeyer
Chris Miller Kenji Ebihara Richard Moy
Christian Güdemann Kim Greene Rob Novak
Christoph Stoettner Klaus Bild Rudi Knegt
Daniel Nashed Laks Sundararajan Salvador Gallardo
Daniel Reimann Liz Albert Sandra Buehler
Daniele Grillo Luis Garza Sasja Beerendonk
David Leedy Marcel Ribas Satoru Abe
David Price Marion Vrielink Serdar Basegmez
Eric McCormick Mark Calleran Sharon Bellamy
Felix Binsack Mark Leusink Siggi Meyer
Femke Goedhart Mark Myers Simon Vaughan
Francie Tanner Mark Roden Sjaak Ursinus
Fredrik Norling Martin Jinoch Stefan Sucker
Friso van den Berg Masahiko Miyo Steve Pitcher
Gabriella Davis Matteo Bisi Stuart McIntyre
Gary Swale Mike McGarel Takeshi Yoshida
Giuseppe Grasso Mike Ostrowski Theo Heselmans
Handly Cameron Mike Smith Tim Clark
Howard Greenberg Mikkel Heisterberg Tim Malone
Jan Valdman Mitch Cohen Tony Holder
Jean-Yves Fiou Mitsuru Katoh Ulrich Krause
Jerome Deniau Nathan Freeman Wannes Rams

Free Code – Class to read URL name-value pairs

Here is another little code snippet I want to share. I use it all the time in my Lotusscript-based Domino web agents, and I figured that other could benefit from it as well. It is just an easy way to check for and read the name-value pairs (arguments) passed from the browser to the web server by HTTP GET or POST calls.

Put the code below in a script library, I call it Class.URL:

	Library Class.URL
	Created Oct 9, 2014 by Karl-Henry Martinsson
	Description: Lotusscript class to handle incoming URL (GET/POST).
Option Public
Option Declare

	Class URLData
	Description: Class to handle URL data passed to web agent
Class URLData
	p_urldata List As String
		Sub New()
		Description: Create new instance of URL object from NotesDocument 
	Public Sub New()
		Dim session As New NotesSession
		Dim webform As NotesDocument
		Dim tmp As String
		Dim tmparr As Variant  
		Dim tmparg As Variant
		Dim i As Integer
		'*** Get document context (in-memory NotesDocument)
		Set webform = session.DocumentContext
		'*** Get HTTP GET argument(s) after ?OpenAgent
		tmp = FullTrim(StrRight(webform.GetItemValue("Query_String")(0),"&"))
		If tmp = "" Then
			'*** Get HTTP POST argument(s) after ?OpenAgent
			tmp = FullTrim(StrRight(webform.GetItemValue("Request_Content")(0),"&"))	
		End If
		'*** Separate name-value pairs from each other into array
		tmparr = Split(tmp,"&")		 
		'*** Loop through array, split each name-value/argument 
		For i = LBound(tmparr) To UBound(tmparr)
			tmparg = Split(tmparr(i),"=")
			p_urldata(LCase(tmparg(0))) = Decode(tmparg(1))
	End Sub
		Function GetValue
		Description: Get value for specified argument.
		Returns a string containing the value.
	Public Function GetValue(argname As String) As String
		If IsElement(p_urldata(LCase(argname))) Then
			GetValue = p_urldata(LCase(argname))
			GetValue = ""	
		End If
	End Function
		Function IsValue
		Description: Check if specified argument was passed in URL or not.
		Returns boolean value (True or False).
	Public Function IsValue(argname As String) As Boolean
		If IsElement(p_urldata(LCase(argname))) Then
			IsValue = True
			IsValue = False	
		End If
	End Function
	'*** Private function for this class
	'*** There is no good/complete URL decode function in Lotusscript
	Private Function Decode(txt As String) As String
		Dim tmp As Variant 
		Dim tmptxt As String
		tmptxt = Replace(txt,"+"," ")
		tmp = Evaluate(|@URLDecode("Domino";"| & tmptxt & |")|)
		Decode = tmp(0)
	End Function
End Class

It is now very easy to use the class to check what values are passed to the agent. Below is a sample agent:

Option Public
Option Declare
Use "Class.URL"

Sub Initialize
    Dim url As URLData

    '*** Create new URLData object
    Set url = New URLData()

    '*** MIME Header to tell browser what kind of data we will return
    Print "content-type: text/html"

    '*** Check reqired values for this agent
    If url.IsValue("name")=False Then
        Print "Missing argument 'name'."
        Exit Sub
    End If

    '*** Process name argument
    If url.GetValue("name")="" Then
        Print "'Name' is empty."
        Print "Hello, " + url.GetValue("name") + "!"
    End If

End Sub

It is that easy.

If my proposal for a session at ConnectED is accepted, you will about how to use jQuery and Bootstrap to retrieve data in .NSF databases through Lotusscript agents, and I will be using this class in my demos. So see this as a preview.
If the session doesn’t get selected by IBM, I plan to record it and post it somewhere online later.

The premise of the session is that you have data in a Domino database, but for some reason you can’t use XPages. Your company may be on an older version of Notes/Domino with no plans/budget to upgrade, the web developer don’t know XPage and have no time to learn it, or the data will be retreived from some other Web based system, perhaps WordPress.

Update: The session was not accepted at ConnectED, but I will present it at WMLUG in Atlanta on August 19, 2015.


More on IBM ConnectED 2015

This morning Kristin Keene, Events Manager for ConnectED,  talked more about the upcoming IBM ConnectED 2015 in January at the monthly ICS Community webcast. IBM realized that the last few years they been swinging over too much to the business side, and is now going back to a much more technical conference. As I mentioned the other day, some tracks are new, some are renamed and some are gone. As an example, ChalkTalks replaces the old Birds of a Feather, but will take place throughout the day, not just morning and evening.


The keywords mentioned was “smaller and more intimate”. The conference will be at Swan only, to condense it and make it all in one place to make it easier to connect with IBMers and other attendees. Opening General Session will be Monday morning as normal, but in the Swan Ballroom.

IBM Connected 2015 schedule
IBM Connected 2015 schedule

As opposed to previous years, the number of IBM attendees will be greatly reduced, to around 300. Most of them will be subject matter experts, speakers or staffing the labs. All IBMers will be invite only, not coming as regular attendees as in the past. The lab decisions are still a little bit up in the air, according to Kristin, but the Meet the Developer lab will be there as usual. The special event (previously an evening at one of the local them parks) will this year be more of a special party, as she put it.

Registration for connect is already open, the call for abstracts just opened this week and close on October 10 (probably extended to October 15). The full agenda will be finalized on November 15, and the presentations are due on January 1 from the speakers who were chosen.

Kristin also said that IBM does not consider this the last Lotusphere/Connect/ConnectED, but she does not know exactly what will happen after the contract with Dolphin and Swan expires after the 2015 conference.

You can read more details here.

Hope to see you in Orlando in January!


IBM ConnectED agenda published

The agenda for IBM ConnectED (the conference formerly known as Lotusphere and IBM Connect) has now been posted.


As previously announced, the conference is one day shorter than before, ending already on Wednesday. There are no jumpstart sessions listed for Sunday, but the Master Class sessions are returning that  day. The individual sessions have not been announced yet, the call for abstracts have not even ben sent out. So it will probably be at least a month or two until the list of sessions is announced. But expect a more technical conference and less marketing that the last few years.

A new item on the agenda is TechnOasis. The way it is listed (together with the name) makes me believe this is the solutions showcase with a different name combined with the social café. If you look at the tracks, it seems like BoF (Birds of a Feather) has been renamed Chalktalk:

Come one, come all! Chalktalk sessions are informal, interactive discussion groups for attendees to share ideas and experiences in an small group,  and open forum setting. Feel free to submit topics that interest you, either those you would like to lead, or topics and discussions that you’d like to participate in! As a reminder, attendees build the agenda by voting on all submissions and ultimately select the sessions that will appear on the agenda. So you’ll be sure find something that’s well worth your while!

The Wednesday special event was moved to Tuesday evening in 2014, and it will again take place that day in 2015. The event is shorter, 7pm to 9pm, which could indicate that it may not be one of the parks like previous years. On the other hand, since the conference will be smaller the park may not need to stay open as late to allow everyone to ride all the rides. I have (in the past) left the Wednesday party around 9 or 9.30, so if a majority been doing that, it may save IBM some money closing the park earlier. I guess we have to see. Personally I am hoping for Universal Studios with the new extension to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that was opened this summer.

Read more here.


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#ThrowbackThursday – JMP 101 from Lotusphere 2012

I recorded this video of the session JMP101 IBM Lotus Domino XPages JumpStart at Lotusphere 2012 in Orlando. The conference, later renamed IBM Connect and now renamed again to IBM ConnectED, will take place again in January 2015. Perhaps this video will get you inspired to do some XPages development, or you can show it to your boss as a good example of what you can learn at ConnectED.

Hope to see you in Orlando in January!


IBM ConnectED 2015 – registration open


IBM ConnectED, the conference formerly known as Lotusphere and Connect, has now opened the registration for the 2015 event.

The “early bird” conference fee is $1,595 and on October 4 it goes up to the full price, $1,795. This is less than Lotusphere/Connect in the past, but the conference is also 20% shorter at 4 days instead of 5. The cost per day is actually less than previous years, if you look at the full price (if I did the math right).


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ConnectED 2015 – Smaller and shorter but more technical


If you read the official IBM announcment for ConnectED 2015 posted by Mat Newman, you will notice a few interesting details.

First of all, the event is shorter than previous years. It starts on Sunday and ends on Wednesday instead of Thursday. On Sunday IBM has scheduled the Leadership Alliance meeting, which previously been held in the late fall in Boston. This is of course much more cost efficient for business partners, esxpecially international ones, who only have to pay one airfare and one hotel cost. But it also means that business partners who are invited to LA have to choose between presenting at the Sunday JumpStart sessions and attend the Leadership Appliance meetings. In the past, Sunday has also been the day for the Business Partner Day, hopefully IBM is not putting that on the same day as well.

Second, the conference will be held only at Walt Disney World Swan, not at both Swan and Dolphin as in previous years. This indicates a somewhat smaller conference. The Swan ballrooms combined can seat about 2700 people, with the other meeting rooms seating an additional almost 1000. So a qualified guess is that the number of participants will be limited to around 3000 or just above, assuming the keynote/OGS will still take place in the Dolphin. However this is not that much less than Lotusphere/Connect in the last few years. The labs and the sessions we all come to love (“Ask the Developers”, “Ask the Product Managers”, “Gurupaloza”) will be back, and I would be very surprised if there will not be a product showcase of some kind. There are also more interactive elements planned, like roundtables.

Third: ConnectED will be more of a technical conference, similar to the developer conferences IBM had back in the 1990’s. It will be bigger than a LUG (Lotus User Group) conference, but have a much more technical agenda than Lotusphere and Connect in the last few years. In my mind, this is a good thing. Perhaps less catering to press/analysts, “suits” (CEO/CFO type managers), project managers and similar non-technical crowds and more to the hard-core developers and admins who actually use the products.

Personally I think this is a good move by IBM. Separate out the non-technical attendees and focus on the technical side, instead of mixing technical and strategic sessions in a big messy conference. I am excited about ConnectED 2015, even if I am suspecting it will be the last conference in Orlando. Some years ago (2006? 2007?) IBM announced that they had renewed the contract for the conference (back then still called Lotusphere) until 2015.

With so many other IBM conferences merging together and taking place in Las Vegas, I would not be surprised if Lotusphere/ConnectED will suffer the same fate in 2016. I hope not, as Dolphin/Swan is a more intimate setting, where people can meet and socialize in the evening (as well as a day or two before the conference). With IBM pretty much taking over “Swolpin” (Swan and Dolphin) during that last week of January, there are very few non-conference people around. That would not be the case in Las Vegas.

No matter what, I will try to again be able to go to Orlando this coming January and see all my friends and learn more about Notes, Domino, Connections and the other products in the ICS stack.  Hope to see you there!


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