Red Hat Summit 2015 Wrap-Up

Company Blogs June 29, 2015 By Shannon Chang Staff

This year, Liferay was proud to be a Gold Sponsor of the Red Hat Summit in Boston. With over 210 sessions including ones from top executives and developers worldwide, we knew we’d be in for a treat. We witnessed a number of insightful keynotes and big announcements as well as key interactions taking place at our booth and many others.

 

 

In case you missed it, here are some of the highlights from the event.

 

Our Main Highlight

 

Middleware Keynote. Marco Bill-Peter, Red Hat’s Vice President of Customer Experience and Engagement, mentions a shift from reactive customer support to a model where engagement with customers is king.

  • The centerpiece technology that enables Red Hat to have this type of superior support is the Red Hat customer portal. It was not built by IT alone at one-go; rather, it took a dedicated team working in an agile workflow so they could quickly adapt to new needs

  • Building that level of support requires investment, not a single set of requirements and a single release.

  • The main takeaway: If there was ever any doubt, here is validation of the business value of portals in providing customer service as a competitive advantage.

 

What’s Trending

 

  • Containers. There was a lot of talk about containers, and OpenShift was one of the main talking points. (Check out some of the reactions)

  • Internet of Things. Red Hat announced a strategic partnership with Samsung after an awesome demo of JBoss Fuse, OpenShift and Red Hat Mobile on stage. Read more about it here!

  • Big Data, Mobile. Certainly, the terms have been thrown around a lot the past year or so, but Mobile and Big Data are here to stay.

 

 

What’s Next

 

Liferay LIVE | Web Event: Incorporating Mobile Into Your Digital Experience Strategy

July 15, 2015

Join us as we discuss key elements of successfully incorporating mobile into your digital experience strategy.

Learn More

 

3 Opportunities for Employee Engagement

Company Blogs April 24, 2015 By Shannon Chang Staff

Takeaways from intra.NET Reloaded Boston

 

Modern organizations are increasingly seeing the value of trading in their notoriously outdated and static intranets for social and collaborative digital workplaces, but the opportunity to greater facilitate employee engagement still exists. At the recent intra.NET Reloaded Boston event, attendees were asked to consider, “What is the single most important thing for employee engagement?”

 

 

Three themes stood out among the 80+ answers collected, reflecting industry challenges and moreover the opportunities to facilitate greater employee engagement ultimately leading to a successful intranet.

 

Employee Empowerment

“Of, by, for the people.” While a reference to the Gettysburg Address may seem a little extreme, it gives you an idea of how passionate the attendees are about “liberating” the traditional intranet and advancing it as a modern tool for employee engagement.

Whether creating a champion or rebel, empowering employees to become agents of change starts with:

 

  • Sharing knowledge by putting social tools in the hands of your employees

  • Allowing employees to use devices of their choosing

  • Creating emotion and a sense of belonging to promote culture

 

UX as the Key to User Adoption

The value of a productive and engaging intranet depends on user adoption, but is improving the user experience (UX) the answer? Some say yes.

L'Oréal proclaims to have devoted its energy and its competencies solely to one business: beauty. As Cara Kamenev of L'Oréal (@carakamenev) eloquently states, ”Every piece of content needs to be branded and beautiful.” When the UX reflects the culture of the organization, the digital experience becomes an approachable extension of the community that will drive adoption.

 

Content that Matters

“Clean out the ROT (Redundant, Outdated, Trivial) [content],” says Marcia Robinson (@MarciaRnyc) of Mercer. The cycle of improving productivity begins with making space for contextualized content that will actually help people make better decisions.

 

Employee Empowerment, UX as the Key to User Adoption, and Content that Matters sum up the inspired ideas resounding over the roundtable and three opportunities for employee engagement. Do you agree? Join the conversation and leave me a comment!

 

For more information on how to modernize your employee engagement with Liferay, check out: www.liferay.com/solutions/intranets

Using iBeacons at Real World Events

Company Blogs April 7, 2015 By Shannon Chang Staff

A little over a year ago, iBeacons made their way to the retail market in a mass deployment to 254 Apple stores. Since then, they’ve had technology enthusiasts and event marketers alike anticipating the splash this fresh technology would make in the world of events. If you’re thinking about using iBeacons at your next event or are looking for ways to enhance your attendee's experience, read on for some real world experience.

 

If you haven’t seen them yet, iBeacons are transmitters that give off unique signals using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which gives them long battery life and have no need for a WiFi connection. By hiding these discreetly-sized iBeacons around an event venue, the possibilities are endless for new ways to engage audiences through location-based notifications, data collection, and gamification.

 

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Here at Liferay, we were enamored by the location-based targeting and easy integration with our Liferay Events app and piloted the technology at three conferences last year. We reaped the benefits from using iBeacons by paying attention to the following details during event execution.

 

Prep the Audience

There are a ton of details when it comes to using iBeacons, so develop a plan focused on enhancing the attendee experience. Ensure you properly market the use of iBeacons to your attendees so that they will know to enable the Bluetooth on their mobile devices and download any corresponding event apps prior to arriving. You could have a great engagement plan, but if no one knows how to participate, then it’s all for naught.

 

Don’t Be Pushy

Avoid becoming a nuisance to attendees with excessive push notifications by sticking to a pre-determined schedule. Be strategic in your location-based targeting. At Liferay Symposium, we decided to use location-based notifications to welcome our attendees at the main entrance and flash sponsor logos upon arrival to our networking reception. We also reminded attendees to rate sessions when they left meeting rooms which got us 5x more feedback than post-event surveys in past years.

 

 

Test it Out

Schedule plenty of setup and testing time. Map out where the iBeacons will live on your master floorplan so you can easily locate your iBeacons during or after the show -- it’s ok to get creative in your placement! And before going live, test, test, test! iOS and Android compatibility makes iBeacons accessible for diverse audiences, but with the plethora of Android devices out there, testing as many Android devices as possible will ensure a bug-free experience for the maximum number of users.

 

Whether your objective is engaging your audience through location-based notifications, driving traffic to sponsor booths, or collecting attendee data, incorporating iBeacons is a great way to enhance your event. If you have an iBeacons implementation story to share as an event marketer or attendee, I’d love to hear it! Leave me a comment!  

 

For a complete diagnostic of iBeacons and more helpful tools check out, Finding Your Way Around iBeacons for Event Marketing. Included in the e-Book:

  • Annoyance Checklist
  • Location Sensor Comparison Chart
  • Android vs. iOS Considerations
  • 2 Case Studies from Real Conferences

Download the eBook

3 Things I’ve Learned about Budgeting for Bandwidth

Company Blogs March 3, 2015 By Shannon Chang Staff

The single most frustrating part of meeting planning for me lately has been budgeting for bandwidth. Internet access has become a requirement for meetings, and it’s virtually impossible to plan a meeting for the tech crowd without factoring in WiFi -- and I don’t just mean coffee-shop-quality WiFi, but a RELIABLE connection.

 

 

Every hotel and convention center seems to price Internet differently. The number of devices people are carrying seems to be growing each year. How can one possibly predict how much bandwidth will be used, and how can we actually guarantee that meeting spaces will accommodate our needs?

 

If you have experienced this frustration, I am here to tell you: there’s hope. After doing a lot of research, I wanted to share three things I’ve learned about budgeting for bandwidth.

 

1. You Can Learn a Lot from Your Past

While planning a large conference a few years ago, the in-house AV company was also the Internet provider. We walked into our site inspection empty-handed, basically letting the provider tell us what we needed. Needless to say, we had a lot of issues that year.

 

Before walking blindly into a conversation with a hotel Internet provider, gird yourself with your event history. Jot down the total bandwidth used, how many IP requests were made hourly, and the traffic volume at peak usage. If you don’t have it handy, try asking your A/V or Internet provider from your last event for this information. Your chances will be good if the event happened recently.

 

Tip: Ask your IT department at work about how much bandwidth is used for a group of <your event size>. Depending on your company, this could be a great place to start.

 

By asking an internal resource, I got a basic understanding of how much bandwidth a group of 200 may use with a mix of engineers, IT folks, and business folks, and I then compared it with a great online resource.

 

2. You Can Always Negotiate

Like most things, Internet rates are negotiable. I discovered that most hotels and convention centers are equipped with a certain level of bandwidth, and it does not cost them anything extra to extend more bandwidth to your group. That doesn’t mean it didn’t cost them anything to wire up their spaces or that they have unlimited bandwidth, but knowing it’s a soft cost provides a lot more room to negotiate.

 

While it’s a faux pas to ask for free dedicated WiFi, most hotels and convention centers can offer it at a discount, especially if your group is holding a significant chunk of the meeting space.

 

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I have only wised up to this knowledge in recent contracts, so I pass this on hoping you can benefit from my shortcomings. And if you want to be extra thorough in your contract, request a summary of Internet stats after the close of the event (total bandwidth used, IP requests made hourly, and at peak usage). That way, you will be ready with your history for the next event when it comes.

 

3. Test It Before You Sign

Before doing all this research, I had no idea how to test for adequate bandwidth during a site inspection. “I’m just one person,” I thought. “What will happen once 100 people want to log on?” Many hotels have WiFi available in shared spaces like the lobby and guestrooms. Unless you ask for dedicated Internet in your meeting spaces secure with a private password, you may be sharing bandwidth with other hotel guests.

 

One easy online tool to use during a site inspection is a quick bandwidth speed test. After the hotel assures you that they have the bandwidth to accommodate your group, verify that it’s up to speed while you are on site. You might also want to ask for references and actually contact them.

 

Also, make sure you do a basic sanity test. If email access is all your attendees will need, then sending an email should definitely be part of your test. Try downloading a large file, uploading a photo to social media, and streaming a video on YouTube. The connection should pass this basic test or else it will not stand a chance when multiple users ping the network.

 

 

Prices can vary a great deal depending on the amount of bandwidth you need. It’s important to determine how much you will need before budgeting, but once you do that, hopefully these tips will help you in estimating your bandwidth budget.

 

Remember that you are only limited by what you do not know, so do your homework and find out your usage history, negotiate based on what you know, and test it before you sign. In recent negotiations, it has meant the difference between budgeting a few thousand for Internet needs and tens of thousands more.

 

I hope these tips are helpful to you, please test them out and let me know how it goes! Do you plan events? What other bandwidth worries have you faced? Leave me a comment!

 

For more information about Liferay Events, visit www.liferay.com/events.

Finding the Right Venue for Your Networking Event

Company Blogs February 4, 2015 By Shannon Chang Staff

It's hard enough to get certain developer types to mingle for even a little while without constantly checking their phones for the best time to make their exit.

 

It can be challenging to plan a networking event, but for a tech audience, finding the right venue to cultivate great conversation can make the difference between your event hashtag filling up social media and well, an empty room. If you are considering a networking event for your group or just haven't had the most success in the past, here are some things to consider while searching for that perfect venue.

 

Know Who You're Trying to Please

 

Your typical tech audience will likely have a mixture of millennials and Gen-X's whose off-hours interests may vary but social values are mostly the same: they loosen up best with a cold beverage in-hand and can make that connection with the right conversation starter.

 

A couple years ago, I planned a networking reception at an edgy gallery space in the Financial District of San Francisco (111 Minna) for a couple hundred software guys. Our audience ranged from developers to C-level business suits. They all came thirsty with big appetites, so with the help of Off the Grid, we opened the bar and brought in a few food trucks to create the perfect networking environment.

 

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The gallery was classy enough for the “suits”, but the sliders and beers kept the vibe accessible for everyone. Knowing the common ground of the mixed crowd helped to bring them together. Know your audience and try to meet them halfway, and if budget allows, offer an open bar.

 

Cast a Vision

 

For the gallery event, I could picture the scene in my mind: guys in t-shirts and sport coats in groups of 4 or 5 exchanging handshakes and laughing with their favorite beer in hand. With the goal clearly in mind, all that was left to do was to fill in the missing pieces.

 

Find a venue that fits your vision by deciding on atmosphere, size, and whether it can accommodate any activities you have planned. If you are looking for a hip vibe, an office space or hotel ballroom might not be the best fit unless you can get a DJ and some uplighting. If you are planning for 50-100 guests, you might look into a partial buy-out at a local bar or pool hall where you occupy a smaller intimate space but with room to roam if your guests need a breather.

 

Food Trucks.png

 

If you are hoping to bring in food trucks, a restaurant might not be the right fit (they often won't allow outside food), so try to create your own makeshift beer garden at a local park (but make sure to look into getting the right permits). With a clear vision, finding a venue to make it come alive is the fun part.

 

Be Realistic

 

Now, booking the Red Hot Chili Peppers or reserving a dunk tank might seem like a great idea, but remember to be realistic. Everyone has limited resources, a challenging group dynamic, and a budget. Find the right balance between planning the best networking reception in the history of tech events and executing a memorable event for your customers and partners that will leave them asking when the next event will be.

 

Consider the lead time of making reservations and the amount of time it takes to send out invitations and collect RSVPs when reserving a venue. Think about how your guests will arrive and whether your venue has convenient public transportation nearby or whether parking validation is needed.

 

Remember that details make the event, so bring in personal touches like customized napkins with your sponsors' logo or providing commemorative bottle openers that guests can take home. Finding the right venue that will work with you on special requests and help you stay within your budget will keep your feet on the ground and help make your event a success.

 

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When All is Said and Done

 

At a recent event, a sponsor hosted a game of giant Jenga in the center of the room that got even the quietest developer’s attention. The activity, pumped up by a great playlist, drew in the whole room as people held their breaths and roared with laughter at every turn. When all was said and done, the planners kept the audience in mind, cast a great vision, and were realistic in their plans -- it got everyone talking and memories were made. Have fun and cheers to a great event!

 

Learn more about Liferay Events at www.liferay.com/events

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