jStart's Web 2.0 Goes to Eastern Europe: Part 1, BSU
Chris Spencer pointed us to some "notes from the road" from Artem Papkov and Vladimir Stemkovski:
The jStart team's Web 2.0 Goes to Eastern Europe trip started with a Web 2.0 seminar at the Belarusian State University on September 24, 2008. Eight IBMers were going to tell an audience of 200 students and professors about why Web 2.0 is important and how they could use Web 2.0 tools in their lives and future businesses.
The seminar has started with the jStart's Customer Innovation Team (CIT) manager Jim Smith with the translation help from Artem Papkov, giving the first presentation of the series, "What is Web 2.0 and Why Should Customers Care". The audience was mesmerized by the presentation. However, due to the nature of the material, the presentation has not resulted in any major questions being asked. Once Jim and Artem were done, Fiodar Zboichyk gave a presentation on evolution of mashups and widgets. Fiodar's presentation gave an insight into the history of mashups and visual programming in general. And Fiodar's witty delivery and sense of humor created casual and relaxed atmosphere in the auditorium conducive to asking questions and participating in general discussions. The presentation was received very positively.
After the overview material has been delivered, the jStart teem dove deeper by delivering several presentations describing several technologies that IBM provides in the Web 2.0 space. Ed Elze, Sam Thompson and Vladimir Stemkovski gave a thorough overview of the IBM Mashup Center and showed a demonstration of using the technology for creating mashup applications. This presentation has generated several questions. How long did it take IBM to develop the IBM Mashup Center has asked one of the audience members. It took IBM about six months to develop the IBM Mashup Center, but it takes only a few hours to create a widget and only about 5 minutes to wire together a mashup replied Sam. The audience also wanted to know if the mashup is available for general public or is it an IBM internal service. Sam has explained to the participants that the technology is used both within IBM and is sold to IBM customer and, moreover, anybody could log in to a public IBM Mashup Center instance at http://greenhouse.lotus.com and try it for free. He has also described some limitation of the free version such as using only existing widgets and not being able to publish newly created mashups for public consumption.
After a short break Oleg Kholod presented a thorough overview of the Mashup Hub focus on feed development aspects. He showed how a new feed could be created using visual programming techniques and published in the Mashup Hub catalog. The demonstration has generated a lot of interest and some technical-minded participants inquired about the technology used for creating Mashup Hub plug-ins. Oleg explained that developers may use Java for creating new plug-ins.
Oleg's presentation was followed by Keyur Dalal and Fiodar Zboichyk talking about several social networking initiatives undertaken in IBM. They have described an internal service called BeeHive that allows IBMers staying in touch with other people in IBM outside of their usual work relationships. They have also described Lotus Connections and a project based on both of these technologies that is supposed to greatly increase convenience of finding the right lab out of 11 IBM lab clusters existing throughout the world. Obviously, social networking discussion has created a lot interest and questions ranged from why IBM creates a new service while there are similar services available in the public Internet (e.g. Facebook or MySpace) to what geographic markets do these technologies target. Keyur has explained that IBM finds that employees often put confidential information in their profiles and having a social network inside of the IBM is a safer choice. Also, he mentioned that IBM does not have any specific geographical market targeted for these offerings and, instead, believes that a lot of medium to large enterprises around the world may benefit from them.
The last presentation of the day was delivered by Sergey Vasiaichau and centered on technical details of iWidget development. In thirty minutes Sergey was able to demonstrate how to create a simple iWidget and has successfully used it in a Voting mashup. After a few questions about technical details of the demonstration, such as, if the developed iWidget uses a database to store voting results and alike, Sergey has finished his session and the seminar was adjourned.
The second Web 2.0 session conducted by the IBM jStart team in Belarus took place in rather informal environment inside one of the banquet rooms in a very nice restaurant called "Seven Rooms" which was conveniently located in the center of Minsk, the Belorusian capital city. IBA (IBM's partner and long term ally in Belarus) organized the meeting and invited representatives of major Belorusian IT companies as well as government organizations which have influence on future directions of internet technologies and overall IT industry in Belarus.
The seminar was accompanied by several meal courses and naturally lead to a lot of one on one conversations between visitors and IBM team members. Most of the questions were raised and answered in such informal manner. Along the way the IBM team gave three presentations about Web 2.0 and related technologies.
First jStart’s manager, Jim Smith, with the translation help from Artem Papkov, gave the presentation of series "What is Web 2.0 and Why Should Customers Care". Then Ed Elze, Sam Thompson and Vladimir Stemkovski gave a thorough overview of the IBM Mashup Center and showed a demonstration of using the technology for creating mashup applications. These two presentations really captured the audience's attention and resulted in several questions about applicability of mashups and IBM Mashup Center for government projects concerned with data centralization and delivery. The audience also asked about a way to try the IBM Mashup Center within their companies and organizations and IBM team explained that the technology could be freely evaluated at the Lotus Greenhouse.
After a short break for the main course and informal discussions Keyur Dalal and Fiodar Zboichyk talked about several social networking initiatives undertaken in IBM. They described an internal service called BeeHive that allows IBMers staying in touch with other people in IBM outside of their usual work relationships. They also described Lotus Connections and a project based on both of these technologies that is supposed to greatly increase convenience of finding the right lab out of 11 IBM lab clusters existing throughout the world. Keyur explained that IBM finds that employees often put confidential information in their profiles and having a social network inside of IBM is a safer choice. Also, he mentioned that IBM does not have any specific geographical market targeted for these offerings and, instead, believes that a lot of medium to large enterprises around the world may benefit from them.
The presentations were immediately followed by further discussion about mashups, widgets and applicability of these technologies for Belorusian customers. Great emphasis was also made on standardization movements in regards to these technologies and IBM team explained about OpenAjax initiative. The audience also expressed a concern about high cost of internet traffic in Eastern Europe comparing to that in the Western world which could make an adoption of Web 2.0 technologies slower in this region.
Overall, the first stop in the Web 2.0 Goes to Eastern Europe trip was a great success and demonstrated that there is a certain interest in the latest Internet technologies and IBM products.
Chris Spencer and Jim Hsu
IBM jStart Emerging Technologies Team