As part of my community party planner role at Liferay (aka community manager), I try to get out and meet many of you at industry and Liferay conferences and other events. I think it's really important in this webified world that we keep the human touch at least a little! At our events I get to learn about new cultures and make new friends, learn how people are using Liferay and getting along in our community, and try to contribute back a little through knowledge sharing on what I've learned over the last couple of years.
Next week I'm attending the first ever Liferay Benelux Solutions Forum in Amsterdam, and wanted to let you know about some of the awesomeness in store for you, and encourage you to check it out if you can make it!
First, I'm happy to go to the home pitch of one of our most active and influential user groups, the Liferay Netherlands User Group, housing many of our community rock stars, indicative of the selfness nature of our Dutch Liferay community and surrounding regions. When people like this come together, it makes for one of the best places to come to learn more about our community, and about Liferay. It reminds me of an experience I had last year at another Liferay event (actual picture over there on the right), where a couple of engineers from Liferay and other companies sat together with a customer for 15 minutes and figured out a perplexing issue on a production Liferay server -- during one of the breaks. That would have normally taken countless emails, IMs, and phone calls. It happens all the time at Liferay user group meetups and official conferences such as this one when sharp people get together, and I haven't yet seen the Dutch disappoint!
It's also one of our first "big" events of 2014, with what looks to be some fantastic speakers, and I can't wait to see the first official roadmap presentation of the year (no pressure, Ed!), hopefully with some details on what lies in store for the future of Liferay, version 7 and beyond. Also featured at the Solutions Forum will be the return of the Expert Exchange discussion groups, in the style of the World Café. It's speed dating with basically every other attendee on various focused topics related to getting the most out of Liferay as your audience engagement platform. I loved this style of event last year, and learned some interesting ways our customers and community are engaging their own communities of partners, employees, and customers.
On a more technical level, I've had the privilege to work on some exciting new technology we'll be demoing at the Benelux Solutions Forum, using Liferay and iBeacons. We're going to sprinkle several of them throughout the venue and in conjunction with our Liferay Events mobile app [iOS | Android] you'll receive localized and contextually-aware messages and helpful hints throughout the event (with a few surprises thrown in for good measure, none of which involve tracking your every move! I value privacy as much as you!). We'll also demo how the whole thing works, from the Bluetooth transmitters, through the mobile environment, and into Liferay as the core engagement platform, hopefully spurring you to think and ask about how you can get more out of your investment in Liferay.
Finally, the venue itself (Pakhuis De Zwijger) has a lot of history (ok, not as much as the city itself, but you get the idea). It used to be a cold storage facility that fell into disrepair in the late 20th century, and was planned to be demolished to make way for a new bridge over the nearby haven only to be brought back to life thanks to some innovative dutchies, and is now a "Cultural meeting place, multi-arts center and gallery, with multimedia studios" (and soon to be acquiring a few strategically-placed iBeacons). A bridge through a building! Nice one.
So I hope to see you there next week!
PS: I'm also dropping in on the Vaadin crew later next week after the solutions forum, for a Liferay+Vaadin developer hangout. More on this later, but be sure to sign up if you are into great user experiences and awesome portal platforms, with a great developer community behind it all. How can you say no to that?