WSO2Con EU 2016: London, and What We Did There

Every so often, London gets to deal with us.

And by us, we mean WSO2 and all of our fantastic clients from all over Europe: people implementing solutions large and small at the cutting edge of enterprise tech and government.

Thus, WSO2Con EU, 2016:  three days of pure WSO2 at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, London. We’d set up a pretty fancy stage and made sure we had a good 1:1 ratio between wine-glasses and presentations. Our sponsors from all across Europe – Yenlo, Chakray, Emoxa, Profesia, RealDolmen, Avintis, iEOLLODEV and Redpill – had joined us at their booths, and all was good…

The tutorials

It’s tradition that the first day houses all of our tutorials. Park Plaza’s curiously labelled Floor -4 (there’s no -3) became home to four color-coded tracks conducted by our experts, with a little bit of mad science happening in the background.

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At our last conference (Asia), we saw quite a lot of interest in microservices and IoT: this time it was integration and analytics that pulled the majority of the crowd – perhaps this had a lot to with the fact that we’re making some pretty big changes and product reveals in these spaces.

The keynotes

Our conferences typically begin with keynotes and shift to a series of topical tracks, including one workshop especially for our partners.

But you need a proper opening act to start off with – and this time it was Box 9 Drumline; the energetic UK-based drummers provided the perfect beat to get everyone awake and ready for WSO2’s founder, CEO and Chief Architect, Dr Sanjiva Weerawarana.

Sanjiva’s keynote touched not just on how WSO2 really works, but also everything new: our new approach to product delivery, for instance, where product, tooling and analytics are equally important; our plans for Carbon 5, the next generation of the underlying foundation on which all our products are built; where we stand on the microservices hype; and how everything we’re doing helps our customers adapt and keep evolving in a digital world.

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There is, he explained, a whole spectrum of digital readiness within organizations. Some companies are born and bred in digital: others are moving up the cycle in stages – starting with problems like ‘I’d like this application connected to this data store’ to ‘how to we give this functionality to our customers?’

And regardless of whatever level of readiness a company finds itself in, he pointed out, introducing the newest changes to our platform, WSO2 is ready to work with them.

The second keynote was by Nigel Fenwick, a VP and Principal Analyst of Forrester. Forrester’s grown immensely since their first report in 1983, and Nigel’s speech, which outlined how companies actually deal with the challenges of going digital, was a clear illustration of the staggering amount of insight they’ve gained in this industry. Less than 20% of companies, he explained, have the right tech to go digital proper in the first place, a problem exacerbated by tacky bolt-on approaches to the problem. It’s a problem of leadership as much as it is of tech. Leaders who truly do understand digital are able to transform into Digital Predators, leading the curve and disrupting how their businesses deliver value to customers.

The third for the day, before we broke off for our multi-track speeches, was Isabelle Mauny, WSO2’s VP of Product Strategy. Isabelle touched on a critical point of today’s business world: customers are no longer satisfied with generic services: decades of personalized search and the likes of social media have led us to expect services that are automatically tailored to our needs. That’s where Big Data and analytics really come in. With WSO2’s analytics platform, not only are we now capable of building services at scale: we’re becoming better and better at identifying what people actually want and adapting – also at scale.

We greeted the end of day three wrapped up with two more keynotes and two panel discussions. Venura Mendis, CTO of WSO2.Telco, a joint venture between WSO2 and Axiata, explaining WSO2.Telco’s vision for telecommunications companies fighting in a digital world; there was Asanka Abeysinghe, WSO2’s VP of Solutions Architecture, explaining how one goes about building a digital enterprise – including what being digital and being connected means in the context of each industry, drawing from the wealth of solutions we’ve built with customers to discuss everything from transport to wearables to architecture.

To those of you who missed out on the keynotes, fear not: they’re recorded and available at eu16.wso2con.com/videos.

The sessions

And was that it? Hardly.

Our conference played out over two levels of the Park Plaza Riverbank, London. In between the keynotes, we had four tracks running constantly, ranging from Integration to Analytics to Strategy to Governance, where our experts talked about the old and the new of the WSO2 platform and our customers and partners shared their stories and insight with what they’ve done. Yenlo even wrote a blogpost from within the conference itself.

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What does Carbon 5 mean for customers? The new IoT server: how do you leverage that? Where is Data Analytics Server headed? What’s the best way to approach microservices? All of this and more were discussed within these halls.

And of course, we had epic music to wind down to …

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We socialized …

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And of course, we had food.

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Because food is important and you can’t integrate stuff on an empty stomach. Our partners agreed with us: Yenlo, who were among our sponsors, brought along a whopping 80 kilograms of candy to distribute to all and sundry. Yes. Free.

All in all, it was three days of pure, undiluted WSO2 in front of the Thames. 55 glorious sessions, 56 speakers, 5 keynotes and 2 parties to boot: experts from all over Europe converging into one single location to share stories you’d never find elsewhere.

Don’t worry – we’ve not let it go unrecorded. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be uploading all the videos to our conference videos list, our YouTube channel and putting up the slides from the presentations  on Slideshare.