Well, well, what a crazy 18 months ahead. 18 Months of in person conferences lockdown, mental and health challenges all over the world. I admit I didn’t blog enough. As an extrovert I need incentives to create nice blog posts. I spoke at a lot of virtual conferences, so I served the community with my insights. Speaking at (even virtual) conferences is for me easier than blogging because I have more balance between energy giving
and energy receiving comparing speaking next to blogging.
Enough of nagging for an optimist like me, because last month I’ve been to my first in person conference after those crazy 18 months. I’ve been to Commsverse in Weybridge in the UK.
We’re running on Teams!
Commsverse is a community conference dedicated on Microsoft Teams. And I know, I am a Developer Technologies MVP coming from Xamarin, moving more and more to Blazor, what did I do at a Microsoft Teams conference? Well, one easy answer: During the pandemic my nonprofit – DDSoft – grew and served a whole new customer base via Microsoft Teams. I’ve been responsible to adopt self-support groups on virtual meetings. It was a lot of fun! Helping customers from the social scene – where a lot of them are digitally illiterate – to continue their cause via Microsoft Teams, a tool that is built to thrive companies. And we succeeded! Honestly that was a lot of fun, and one of the big reasons I survived the pandemic (quite) mentally strong.
And working with non-tech customers on a tech tool gave us a lot of insights. So much insights I really wanted to know more and more about Microsoft Teams, about making my own plugins, about meeting best practices, and of course about finding work-life balance if you only have contacts with your co-workers wia digital tools. During the lockdown in Belgium coming together with volunteers in a nonprofit was not allowed, so our DDSoft team as to co-work via Microsoft Teams too!
In Yannick Reekman’s talk: “Build A Microsoft Teams meeting Bingo app” the need and inspiration about using TypeScript to build Microsoft Teams apps was more than triggered enough! Yannick showed us how to build an in-meeting app from scratch. This session was for me a strong motivation because I found purpose to build this kind of apps for some of our customers.
In addition to this Tom Morgan told us how to build applications with Azure Communication Services (ACS), again, also with TypeScript. So, reasons enough to start to learn TypeScript. Honestly with ACS I have a lot of fantasies to help people with learning disabilities. Dennie, what are you waiting for…
The Microsoft AI Stack
Let’s go to another intersection of Commsverse and what I am doing in my developer life: AI! There’s AI everywhere AI Services, AI on the Edge, even AI build into Microsoft 365 and Office 365. And guess what… Those are all the same AI ideas on the same backend from Microsoft! In Bill Ayers talk: “Viva la Vida! How AI is changing the World of Work” Bill explained the overall picture of the Microsoft AI stack across their products. He explained the AI-basics (What is Artificial Intelligence (AI)? What is Machine Learning (ML)? What is Deep Learning (DL)?). After the basics Bill explained how AI is integrated into Microsoft Graph, the API behind the whole O365 suite where Microsoft Teams is part of. He ended his talk with showing how Microsoft VIVA is even takes AI a step further to increase the way of work with pillars like wellbeing, collaboration, learning and more.
What I felt next to the (awesome) technical sessions was a strong connection in the Microsoft Community! During the virtual conferences in the pandemic there was great content too. It is not because I didn’t blog about those virtual conferences that there were no good ones, there were amazing conferences! Amazing sessions and content everywhere! But the real energy comes from the community love. People are talking in the hallway, people that are sharing personal insights, tips and advice after and in-between the sessions. And of course… APPrecation! I felt very welcome as international attendee making the effort to come. Mark Vale, (one of the) mind(s) behind Commsverse showed his APPrecation for my trip. The sponsor booths, the speakers, no, no, no in virtual alternatives you can’t do this! I am sure I made the right decision to come to this conference!
Cross – Sectionally
What will the future of conferences be? What I see currently is a strong focus on combining sectors, combining completely non-developer concepts with developer life. Commsverse was at the Mercedes Benz world, and there were loads of non-IT side activities. People need more than IT after too many months. I guess this is the future of conferencing (citing a word that don’t exist to remember the Swedish culture where I been a couple of times, In Sweden they make verbs of everything I learned, even a verb for interacting/ learning at conferences).
Is this combining sectors a brand new thing? No, not really. Even in Belgium we had in the past a conference like CloudBrew – combining the Microsoft Cloud with Beers, a typical Belgium thing. Although I think more and more conferences will do this. At the time I write this article I am in Mechelen, Belgium for another conference (DataMinds Connect) and they combine Data/Tech/Dev with Grand Priz and Formulla 1.
So I end this blogpost with warm greetings from Mechelen and ‘see’ you later!
Read about Dennie’s insights about TypeScript & Community Love at @Commsverse!Tweet