All posts by Handly Cameron

Social Connections 11: A New Foundation for Collaboration

The week of Social Connections 2017 was a whirlwind of cool places and even cooler technology. Danielle Zhu, AppFusions’ Senior Product Manager, and myself arrived in Chicago early on Wednesday morning and headed straight to IBM’s Chicago Innovation Center to kick off 3 days of excitement.

Connections Pink Developer Briefing
We then spent the morning at the IBM Connections Pink Developer Briefing, learning about the technologies driving the new IBM Connections 6.0 OrientMe services and the upcoming “Connections Pink” – IBM’s next gen collaboration micro-services architecture.

Pink, among many other value propositions, takes benefit of Docker containers coordinated by Kubernetes orchestration for a highly scalable and robust platform. Services within Connections Pink will run on many smaller containers, which can be spun up and shut down as the workload changes. This allows for dynamic balancing of power to deliver the specific services in use at any given time. If any of the services run into operational or security issues, Kubernetes can easily kill off the related container and spin up a new version.

Heart of Business
After lunch, we headed over to Oblong Industries’s Chicago office to IBM’s Heart of Business event. We joined several other partners and got a chance to present to each other using Oblong’s Mezzanine meeting and collaboration system.

For those who were at IBM Connect 2017 this year likely also saw Oblong on stage during the opening keynote. Developed by the same people who designed the user interfaces seen in the film Minority Report, the room at Oblong contained one wall with a triple set of large monitors that could be used as one super-wide screen or to display multiple slides or other information sources. Another large panel on a second wall provided an additional display, with a third wall set up with a traditional whiteboard with a camera feed for remote user. A motion capture system in the room allowed participants (not just the speaker) to easily move content around and grab captures of the displayed experience, to save to another screen, or even to drop into an application like a file store or a Watson Workspace chat.

Our presentation was an overview of AppFusions’ integrations with IBM Connections. I found it very nice to be able to put up multiple slides and tell a story comparing content across the set. I then was able to easily download a small helper app, connect to Mezzanine from my laptop, and use the huge displays to give a live demo of our Sharepoint and JIRA integrations.

Check out this video to see Mezzanine in action!

Social Connections 11
The main event kicked off on Thursday morning with a keynote from Ed Brill and Luis Guirgay, discussing the next steps for Connections. We also learned from our friends at panagenda, Francie Tanner and Luis Suarez, how to leverage social analytics for better understanding of how your users collaborate and to drive user adoption.

Confront the Madness!
After lunch, Danielle and I were on stage, showing how you can use AppFusions’ integrations with IBM Connections to bring your file sharing, project management content, and ‘getting work done’ applications into a single workspace within IBM Connections communities. We had a fun time showing a live demo of Sharepoint, Office 365, Salesforce, and JIRA. If you want to see for yourself or even trial integrations in your own IBM Connections environment (cloud or on-prem!), contact us at and we’ll set you up!

Getting Work Done on an iPad
Following our live demo, I ran to the next room to deliver a quick 15 minute session on how I use my iPad Pro to get work done and automate a lot of tasks. Even though it was a short time, I considered it a success when I got a loud gasp from the audience after showing a workflow I wrote that scanned the QR code from the Social Connections badge, sent a templated email, and set up a follow up reminder, all in a few seconds. I’ll have the session slides and notes up soon with details on how to build your own version!

The last ‘session’ of the first day was Speedsponsoring, a fun event where everyone is divided into groups and rotates around to see high-energy 3 minute presentations from each vendor. Tony Holder did an awesome job as MC. Our CEO, Ellen Feaheny had been at the DNUG event in Berlin and arrived at Social Connections shortly before we started so we were able to offer chocolate “fresh from Germany”.

Ace Bounce
For the Social Connections Gala that evening, we all headed over to Ace Bounce, which is a bar filled with ping pong tables. Each table had several buckets of balls (and beer!) next to them, so you could play without chasing the many balls that went flying off into the crowd. Nice assistants patrolled around with special nets to pick up the balls and provide you with a never ending supply. Everyone had a great time!

A New Foundation
Our sessions were all done, so we got to spend more time joining other’s presentations and having great discussions with customers, IBMers, and other partners. Throughout both days of the conference, every session I went to was very informative and showed the excitement and energy that is being driven by Connections 6, the Pink architecture, and other efforts like the new app and integration catalog coming to Connections Cloud.

This is certainly a very exciting time to be involved in defining the next generation of collaboration! Please join our conversation in the comments below.

Rock on,

The AppFusions team

Post by Handly Cameron, Marketing Manager of AppFusions