Recap: Day 1
My first trip to SUGCON EU was full of honors and humbling. First, simply to be selected and make the list of only around 60 or so speakers out of a large pool of talented speakers and sessions. Second, simply to see all the other sessions and the innovation that is taking place across the Sitecore ecosystem at such an amazing rate.
I was present to see Lars Floe Nielsen ask Pieter Brinkman and a small team of "Retired MVP's" (former MVP's now Sitecore employees) to do some "real work". In just two weeks they built a SitecoreUG.com clone that included HOLOLENS integration! It was awesome and even Lars joking "agreed it was slightly innovative".
I then saw the excellent presentation by Mark Cassidy - Decoupling Your Sitecore Architecture Using Azure Service Bus and Azure Storage. It is amazing how the simple utilization of a "message queue" can enable such great scalability and reliability into systems, even when some segments of the architecture could become unavailable. In the simplest of terms, your order would still go through, even if the order processing system was down.
Then, I was present to see the awesome demonstration by Bas Lijten and Rob Habraken of Sitecore Robbie! They built themselves using Raspberry Pi running windows and communicating back to a Sitecore Instance for all of its interactivity, personalization capabilities, etc. and with Microsoft Cognitive Services for its photo/video processing, facial recognition, and LUIS - Language Services. I want to build one myself!
After that, all I can say, is that I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to just recently co-present at the Boston SUG with Mark Stiles and the Milwaukee SUG with Jason Wilkerson because their sessions were at the exact same time as mine and I am glad that I didn't have to miss them! Mark Stiles has done an amazing job with his presentation and open source project: Sitecore Integration with Microsoft Cognitive Services. In just a few words, he has built a whole new Media Library that can auto-tag image, facial and emotional recognition and so much more. Jason Wilkerson's Leveraging SXA to Empower Large Organizations is always very excellent and helps to bring the level of excitement around the benefits of using SXA to whole new heights.
My room was packed. I always love presenting to new audiences, etc. Getting to interact with audience a bit, ask them questions and then personalize the delivery of the content as best I can based on their backgrounds and interests. If this form of surveying has an accuracy at all, the Sitecore practitioners that attend my session where about 80-90% greater experienced and currently using Sitecore Personalization! That is amazing, as the percentage at every meeting prior had been approximately the opposite. Meaning, that 80-90% of those I had talked with previously had stated that they were not doing Personalization yet. This is the future. The tools are here to deliver contextual, relevant and highly optimized experiences. Our customers are demanding it and we all need to deliver it.
Then, I was excited to see Dmytro Shevchenko's Sitecore xDb In-Depth: Harnessing Contacts, Sessions and Clusters. It helps me readily admit that even in just the Sitecore ecosystem there are so many innovations going on in so many directions that any one person would not be able to stay abreast of it all.
During the dinner and entertainment, I was very excited to speak to several of the attendees from my session and find that it was very relevant to their recent customer needs and deliverables.
At the end of the dinner, "Let the games begin". Using the excellent gaming site Kapcu.com, we played "Sitecore Trivia"! The room was packed. I'd estimate 300-500 people and of those 110+ played the game! I was just "in the middle" of the ranking through-out most of the game until I started on a roll and was able to finish in 5th place. It was very exciting and fun. I am still surprised I was able to "turn it around" and come from behind to be that close.. Although as Adam Najmanowicz pointed out, in reality, it meant that I was the first place loser, as everyone else was able to take home some prizes. 😁