Sydney shines at the IBM Cloud Innovation Exchange

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Author: Dev Mookerjee, Technology Leader, Red Hat Synergy, Asia Pacific, IBM Global Markets

It was all rather incredible.

I am not sure whether it was the front-page wrap of the Australian Financial Review that boldly proclaimed “Smart Loves Problems” or the brightly lit ad shelters saying the same at all the bus stops that led to the event, or the goosebumps the 2000 delegates felt when William Barton sang the beautiful Acknowledgement to Country, but there was something special in the Sydney air at the IBM Cloud Innovation Exchange event last week.

After months and months of hard work, last Tuesday, IBMers opened the doors to the IBM Cloud Innovation Exchange. There was an unprecedented lineup that included:

  • A welcome address by Katrina Troughton, Managing Director of IBM A/NZ
  • Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM talked about Chapter 2: Scaling AI using next-generation hybrid multicloud platforms
  • This was followed by a panel called The CEO Agenda: Scaling hybrid cloud and AI featuring industry leaders Brian Hartzer, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Westpac and Peter Coleman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Woodside
  • Martin Schroeter, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Markets, spoke about Driving and scaling digital transformation and Bob Lord, Senior Vice President, Cognitive Applications and Developer Ecosystems talked about Cloud and AI: How to move the needle
  • Then finally Martin and Bob joined Jason Paris, Chief Executive Officer for Vodafone New Zealand and Susan Doniz, Group Chief Information Officer of Qantas in a discussion on how to lead a digital transformation to deliver on customer experience.

They all shared the stage for a power-packed two hours of candid conversations that left people grinning, learning and being inspired all at the same time! You can watch all of their sessions here.

The rest of the day had 23 theatre sessions and 53 tech talks and product demonstrations – running in four streams concurrently! As our CMO Amanda Johnston-Pell put it in our internal briefing, the biggest worry the delegates will have is one of FOMO – the Fear of Missing out! And boy was she right!

Of course, while delegates were deciding on which sessions to attend, they got the opportunity to soak in the Data and AI, Security, IBM Garage and Open campuses. Here they could meet Call for Code winners, Prometeo, relive the first moon landing, introduce themselves to CIMON, the world’s first AI-powered companion in space and much more! I particularly loved the 1950’s living room to sit and watch the moon landing and the fantastic Harley-Davidson LiveWire™, the legendary brand’s first-ever electric motorcycle on the floor!

The Red Hat team

The Red Hat team

I would be amiss if I did not talk about our new extended family – the Red Hatters, who were one of our Innovation Sponsors for the event and who shared the Open Campus with IBMers. They showcased some of their best offerings and presented a packed session on Red Hat Openshift. It’s never a dull moment with the Red Hatters, and it was a pleasure for me to host 25 Red Hatters at the event, who as you can see had a blast!

The one thing that the IBMers were very serious about was sustainability, and it showed – from the drinking water fountains to the reusable construction, right to the lovely little thank you card that could be planted when we got home. I will be doing that – maybe that’s a blog post for another day!

I have to say, apart from the amazing buzz I felt at the end of the day, that the one feeling I had was incredible pride and hope. Knowing what IBM stands for and what we bring to the world, I believe there has never been a better time to be an #IBMer!

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