CloudEXPO 2018 New York: Peaks And Valleys
The Highs And Lows Of An IT Expo
On November 12-13, 2018, nearly 4,000 enterprise IT professionals gathered at The Roosevelt in New York for the CloudEXPO. In addition to the annual event in New York, there is also a CloudEXPO every June in Santa Clara, California.
Peaks: Content Is King At The CloudEXPO
The heart of every convention is the sessions, which provide digital transformation professionals with cutting edge information about the latest trends in the industry. The 2018 CloudEXPO scheduled nearly 100 different sessions featuring lectures from world renowned speakers and workshops about the latest issues in the enterprise. The event included a DevOps certification course. Although the name of the event is the CloudEXPO, don’t be fooled to think that it’s only about the cloud.
“We'll take a look at not only what topics are most popular, but sometimes things that are maybe less popular because they are emerging,” said Roger Strukhoff, the CloudEXPO conference chair of products. “We were just listening to a speaker who said, ‘If cloud means everything, then it means nothing.’ Well, cloud doesn't mean quite everything, but it does mean quite a lot.”
In addition to standard topics about migrating to the cloud and enterprise going serverless, there were several other topics about digital transformation. The CloudEXPO had entire rooms dedicated to sessions about artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), smart cities, and big data.
“Years ago, we started talking about big data here,” said Strukhoff. “Once IoT emerged and then all the data analytics came out, then suddenly big data was a great topic.”
The CloudEXPO also scheduled an entire room full of FinTech and blockchain topics. Attendees could literally spend the entire expo watching live sessions about combining AI with blockchain, cryptocurrency applications, and use cases about distributed ledger technology.
“Blockchain is very controversial,” said Strukhoff. “It’s insane here. There's a fever running around the halls here. The only cure is more blockchain. During the blockchain sessions, we have to maintain a pretty strict schedule and cut off questions because it is so popular.”
What made the sessions so valuable for IT professionals is the diverse selection of topics, including very niche ones. There were also speakers from leading organizations, include IBM, SAP, Deloitte, and Adobe.
Valleys: Areas For Improvement
In past years, the CloudEXPO occurred at the Javits Center on New York’s west side. In 2018, the event was moved to the Roosevelt, which is in midtown.
“We felt that one thing about the Javits Center, if you have 50,000 people register, then it’s a great show, but we have 4,000 people. I think personally the Javits Center is a little big,” said Strukhoff. “Here at the Roosevelt, were right in the middle of everything. The delegates can enjoy the fact that they can walk out of the hotel and be right in the center of Manhattan.”
In order to meet the demands of the new space, the event had to undergo some changes. Instead of having all 50 exhibitors in one big room, they were divided between five different rooms on two floors. There were reports of some confusion because of this layout, with some delegates unsure where all the rooms were located. As a result of the new layout, some of the exhibitors felt that the attendance diminished.
“This was a waste of time,” said Radek Dudek, a product manager with Dhosting.com, one of the exhibitors. “It was not well organized.”
Catherine Hoy, a sales executive with Synametrics Technologies, another exhibitor, was also disappointed in the attendance and felt that the expo was “disorganized.” Synametrics Technologies originally signed up for the event when it was scheduled to be held at the Javits Center before it was moved to the Roosevelt. Hoy also said that there was a lack of information provided to exhibitors, and their company was not aware about having to purchase power for their booth until they arrived at the event.
On the other hand, Strukhoff felt that the expo had full attendance.
“I got to speak at 8:00 a.m. and the room was almost full. I think a lot of the sessions have been very full,” he said. “There’s more to it than what you’re seeing here.”
Perhaps the biggest mishap was with the registration on the first day. The CloudEXPO set up iPads for delegates and speakers to check in. Eventually, the iPads lost the connection, and many people could not check in. There was also a backup of badges to be printed, which forced delegates to stand in line for a long time.
“At the #CloudExpo and what a disaster checking in with the #Boom check in kiosks,” tweeted Deven Shah, senior director of IT and product management at CA Technoloiges. “Unable to connect, printing multiple badges and your name being called out to collect badges - In this digital age - really?”
This was one of many tweets about this check-in error:
At the #CloudExpo and what a disaster checking in with the #Boom check in kiosks - unable to connect, printing multiple badges and your name being called out to collect badges - In this digital age - really?— Deven Shah (@deven_shah_cal) November 12, 2018
#CloudExpo what an unorganized mess. Passes cannot be printed out. No conference schedule available. No room locations.— Stuart Ng (@ngstuarts) November 12, 2018
@CloudExpo check-in is a little rocky. Be sure to hit Check-In and Print badge. Otherwise you'll be standing waiting for a while.— Ned Bellavance [MVP] (@Ned1313) November 12, 2018
“This has been a good example of using cloud technology and new technology,” said Strukhoff. “I guess at first they had a little trouble, but in the end, everyone got their badges. My guess is that now that they've done it and ultimately it worked, that they're going to do it again and they won't have any further problems.”
Should You Attend The Next CloudEXPO?
As long as the organizers improve the coordination of the event, including the check-in process, you may find it beneficial. The topics of the sessions are valuable enough to check out.