We’re back from Barcelona after an excellent week at the European SharePoint Conference. This year was the first time that Lightning Tools has exhibited at the European SharePoint Conference, and we will definitely be sponsoring it again next year. We’d heard good things about the conference from speakers and attendees from within the SharePoint community and so thought we should give it a try.
Our trip to the conference began with a long drive! Due to a colleagues (Andy Carter) fear of flying, and due to the amount of kit we wanted to bring with us to exhibit, we decided to drive. 5am Saturday morning soon came around and we started our 1070 mile drive down to Barcelona. After an overnight stop in Lyon, we made the trip with just 16 hours of driving time and averaged 38 MPG despite the weight of the car with the conference gear.
The venue was magnificent which offered a well designed conference centre, great hotel, and permanent sunshine. The only drawback to the venue was the cost of a beverage which seemed to start at 8 Euros for a small bottle of Estrella!
The conference kicked off on the Monday with workshops taught by excellent speakers such as Dan Holmes on SharePoint Governance, Joel Oleson speaking on Yammer, and Sahil Malik on SharePoint 2013 App Development. After the workshops, the full conference started on the Tuesday with the full sessions and the exhibit hall open. It was great to see the usual names from the US and the UK speaking at the event, but also the opportunity to meet some of the speakers from the European continent. There were some excellent sessions with great feedback. The conference agenda can be seen here: http://www.sharepointeurope.com/conferences/2014/conference-programme
The conference also included a community area where pod shows were recorded, interviews were recorded, and Agnes Molnar & Ben Robb (Both SharePoint MVPs) introduced the ShareMentor. The ShareMentor programme is an excellent idea and allows for anyone to be mentored to reach certain goals within their career or also to help mentor others. Read more about it here: http://aghy.hu/sharementor—make-it-to-the-next-level
I was fortunate to be able to speak in the soapbox sessions for a short while on Business Connectivity Services within the community area. We had a small gathering where questions could be asked and answered on any subject. This enabled at least two in-depth conversations for two SharePoint community members where I managed to resolve technical issues that were experienced with BCS.
Brett Lonsdale (Soap Box Session – Community Area – European SharePoint Conference)
The Lightning Tools staff were inundated throughout the three days with potential partners and customers from throughout Europe. We were able to demonstrate our latest products such as The Data Viewer Web Part and The SharePoint Chart Web Part. Our new edition of BCS Meta Man was also demonstrated whereby we were able to show off the new improvements to the Oracle data connectivity, OData and WCF service support.
BCS Meta Man – External Data Connectivity tooling
The Wednesday night was the gala dinner (sponsored by Harmon.ie). All of the attendees were invited to the dinner where wine was flowing, awards were given to the community, and everyone had a great location to network with other SharePoint community members. Immediately after the gala dinner, everything got a bit blury….
Gala dinner sponsored by Harmon.ie.
I probably don’t need to say that the start of the next day was a slow one. Attendees trickled into the conference centre throughout the morning (and afternoon), sales staff at the booths looked a little worse for wear, with some of the vendors finding it difficult to give away free beer.
Fortunately our Lego was once again in high demand. Come 11:15am we had a crowd around the booth full of eager attendees wanting to win our formula 1 Lego car pictured below.
Lightning Tools booth and F1 Lego car
The end of the conference arrived and the Lightning Tools staff enjoyed a quiet evening <cough/> <cough/> with some of the speakers and other SharePoint vendors.
We’re looking forward to next year and hoping for yet again a sunny venue!
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