Riding the InterConnect shuttle – Grand to Mandalay Bay

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wpid-thumbnail-237c6bc1856a8e302ce0ab9e89ed755f.jpegThe most interesting dialogue with clients and partners that I’ve had while at InterConnect 2016 took place on the Connector Shuttle bus, from MGM Grand to Mandalay Bay and back. Each day, I sat on the bus and deliberately sat alone, making eye contact with folks that had either a green or blue ribbon on their InterConnect badge. The green ribbon identified an attendee as an IBM client, the blue ribbon was used for partners.

As a newly boarding passenger sat beside me, I engaged in conversation. On days when conversation wasn’t flowing, I eagerly listened in to the chatter on the bus, keen to gauge interest and engagement at InterConnect.

As you’d expect, conversation on the way back to the MGM on day one was focused on the VMware and Apple partnerships. I spoke with a partner building DRaaS solutions keen to better understand our VMware capabilities on SoftLayer. The on stage presence of VMware president Carl Eschenbach with Robert LeBlanc, SVP IBM Cloud, really struck a chord with this InterConnect attendee. “’Combining VMware’s pedigree in virtualization technology with IBM’s world class cloud infrastructure has got to be a winner,” he shared. He was all too right.

Taking the bus home on Tuesday evening (after walking more than 10km according to my pedometer), I spoke with a client, the CIO of a pharmaceutical based in the Netherlands. The conversation was dominated by Watson, IOT and cognitive. Her eyes were opened to the potential of these related technologies after seeing Harriet Green share the stage with KONE earlier that day. We swapped business cards and I suspect a trip to the Netherlands may be on the cards not too long after my return to Dublin.

Three days in and my bus journey home was shared with an IBM employee. Initial dialogue focused on the Elton John concert later that evening if I’m honest. Once we’d exhausted that topic, we turned to technology and Tanmay Bakshi, a 12 year old developer and keynote speaker at InterConnect. Tanmay uses both Watson and Bluemix to develop applications. A testament to Tanmay’s ability or ease of use of the platform? While Bluemix is certainly easy to use, you don’t see many 12 year old coders building applications to support college students these days. Tanmay’s outstanding talent was evident as he addressed the InterConnect audience on more than one occasion through the week.

I’m writing this piece on day four of InterConnect. As an IBM Cloud Advisor, I’ve spent time attending sessions, meeting with clients and manning the IBM Cloud Smart Bar. While each of these activities were worthwhile, I still have to say that my best gauge of the InterConnect impact, has riding the shuttle between the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

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