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IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Weds Opening Session – AppThrowdown and Jane McGonigal (@avantgame)

 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session at the end of this post – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

(@jonathancoulton ‘s Code Monkey playback, the demos, and @avantgame ‘s VERY inspiring and insightful “gaming” talk are a “Don’t Miss” – see video below!)


This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. Here are my notes from 2011 and 2012I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years.  Kevin Cavanaugh, VP Strategy, Social Business and Nigel Beck, VP Business Development led the opening session.

Jonathan Coulton played a rockin’ session of “Code Monkey” to get us awake after last’s night events. (IBMConnect live play at bottom of post!)

Nigel said there will be five demos from IBM partners. These firms just did the work without having to talk to IBM. You can just go to the IBM site and get started.

There were 27 initial entries into the AppThrowdown. From those, 14 challengers presented at Monday’s throwdown sessions. Of those, five were voted in, to do a repeat performance at today’s Keynote event.

SugarCRMThe first demo was from SugarCRM. It provides CRM solutions. Clint Oram CTO and Co-Founder did the demo. Kevin mentioned that Clint has read every Stars Wars book.

SugarCRM is the currently fastest growing CRM app. It can turn every employee into a salesperson. Sugar CRM links to IBM Connections to use its capabilities to help with collaboration around sales. Activity streams, and OpenSocial embedded experiences support remote management of SugarCRM transactions, directly from IBM Connections, providing users with the easy and convenience of progressing the lead transaction right from within Connections. Or, Connections mobile!

WrikeAndrew Filev from Wrike did the next demo. Wrike does social project management. Wrike integrates with IBM Connections to become more social. I have covered them before (see for example Wrike Takes Project Management Mobile). Emails can be integrated into Wrike and Connections to become social objects with version control. So the team can become more efficient.

You can reach out to team members and assign tasks. Wrike is mobile enabled to extend its reach. The tasks get pushed into the activity stream in Connections to better monitor progress. Wrike is very scalable. One client has over 2,000 tasks on a project. You can look at resource availability to help fill the team.

Colin Goudie and David Simpson, Senior Developers at AppFusions led the next demo. Being part of the AppFusions team, I was very pleased to see this portion. AppFusions builds packaged software integrations that bring enterprise systems together.

AppFusionsColin and David showed integrations between Atlassian JIRA and IBM Connections. It uses OpenSocial gadgets, OAuth2 support for seamless interactions, real-time live-link activity streams, and embedded experiences. This integration is especially great in bridging the gap between business personnel and engineering/product management in a corporation.

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With the Immersive for Atlassian JIRA, for IBM Connections, ANY user of IBM Connections can quickly log JIRA tickets from any part of the company, whether they have a JIRA account or not! (AppFusions also has integrations with Confluence and Stash, with IBM Connections – which they did not have time to demo!) These integrations are also supported by IBM Connections mobile, so you can also interact with JIRA, Confluence, etc. from your mobile device.

Next Colin and David showed a quick demo of IBM SameTime integrated with JIRA (issue tracker), Bamboo (continuous integration server), Fisheye (SVN source code manager), Stash (git repository manager), and Confluence (enterprise wiki). Directly from the Atlassian applications, Sametime presence is live for any user, any place a users name is shown. By right-clicking, users can launch a basic chat or even video chat, if your Sametime subscription supports this.

TrilogJohn Tripp from Trilog did the next demo. He is also an opera singer. He showed a demo integrating their project management app and Connections. You can start in Connections and go to their project app. You can use the Connections activity stream and have your project work get aggregated into a Connections community.

He showed a social gantt chart.  The work in their app appears in Connections to make use of its capabilities. You can update status in Connections and it will appear in their project app.

Russ Fradin from Dynamic Signal was next up. He does marathons. The tool does social CRM. He said that your employees can be your greatest advocates with Dynamic Signal. Their solution can manage the whole process giving employees some freedom and the company some level of control to strike a balance.

Dynamic SignalActivities in Dynamic Signal appear in the Connections activity stream. The company can present messages that it would like its employees to share on their Twitter and Facebook pages and other means. Employees can earn points for this activity. Others can see this and also share it.  Employees can share content that their company wants shared and get rewarded for it.

Kevin said there is an open app dev challenge coming up with $5,000 in prizes and there is another contest with same prize money. These are in OpenNTF.org. Jane McGonigal next spoke. Her recent book is, Reality is Broken, and it covers her topic in more depth. She said there are 1 billion gamers in the world who spend over an hour a day gaming online. She said this is good news. Over three hundred million minutes are spent each day on Angry Birds. The average Call of Duty player spends a work month a year playing. Many players called in sick when a new release came out.

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the WorldIn contrast 71% of workers are not engaged in their work. This costs companies 300 million annually as well as lack of innovation. Gaming can be used to get the right engagement. The engagement economy is about unlocking the energy put into gaming. For example 100 million hours went into Wikipedia. This is only 7 days of the time spent on Call to Duty playing. If you can put this time to work on world problems or company challenges much can be done.  You want mass participation. Girls are catching up to boys in gaming hours and 92% of two year olds are playing games on their parents’ devices.

She showed ten positive emotions that people get from gaming. They are in order: creativity, contentment, awe and wonder, excitement, curiosity, pride, surprise, love, relief, and joy. These positive emotions have a great impact on how we solve problems. These positive emotions can overcome stress. There is science backing this up. She has a site – show me the science – to give access to the studies. For example, children who play games score higher on tests of creativity.

Gamers spend 80% of their time failing but they are willing to hang in there to succeed. Studies show that ADHD symptoms seen to disappear when people are gaming. Also cooperation is enhanced through collaborative gamers. Gamers with autism show higher social awareness when doing multi-player gamers. Gamers can outperform drugs on the treatment of depression. Games make us resilient and more likely to get going until you succeed.  She showed some great pictures of gamers in action and focused on their tasks.

She said that the opposite of play is not work but depression. If you can put play into work people will perform much better. She showed brain images of active gamers vs those watching them. The active players have much more active brain images.  This is especially true for the area, hippocampus, where new learning takes place. These changes are lasting.

One project turned to the game, Farmville, to transfer the participation in an actual city garden. They got a 400% increase in participation. I certainly agree that making work into play gets better results. People doing their passions do not retire. When I was developing training programs for businesses in the 80s, including IBM, I always tried to introduce a game aspect with simulation. This could occur in a computer-based game or a classroom situation.  It shortened the required training time and increased perform at the end of the experience and then again on the job.  This was especially true if you could bring the learning tools back to job to help with the work.


 Updated Feb 2, 2013: Added full video of this session below – enjoy, especially the rockstars – at the beginning and throughout! :)

Watch live streaming video from ibmsoftware at livestream.com