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Earlier this week, I attended IBM Partnerworld. The show was hosted at the beautiful Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas. Both IBM DeveloperWorks and IBM Partnerworld divisions use our software, so we wanted to attend to show our support. DeveloperWorks has implemented Jive Forums and PartnerWorld has implemented Spark FastPath (formerly Jive Live Assistant) product to allow partners to contact technical support for server implementations.
The ironic part of the show was that the network on the show floor kept losing connections, and even worse was the performance of the network in the hotel rooms. Not sure why this happens at conferences. Maybe it's the thousands of attendees clogging the lines.
While the booth traffic was underwhelming
(thanks to being blocked by a big map of the show floor), the people who stopped by understood the value of having a good internal community solution. In addition, when I explained the value of Spark Fastpath and being able to route internal IM questions to the appropriate people, their faces immediately lit up and could see their thought process going on how their organization could use that type of functionality.
Most tradeshows give out bags and reams of paper, but not IBM. They handed out free cellphones with Windows Mobile technology. The phone came embedded with a web application allowing the attendee to view their customized schedule (via the web), provide feedback on sessions, and view all the possible activities at the show. At the end of the show, attendees were able to keep their phone and just drop in a SIM card to use it as their normal cellphone. A paperless conference, how cool is that?