Beating the Odds: Our Week at IBM Think
For CoreMedia, March means Vegas. Specifically the two major trade shows that take place there: Shoptalk and IBM Think. For our impressions of Shoptalk, see the post here. For impressions of IBM Think, read on!
IBM Think, which took place March 19-22 in the Mandalay Bay Convention Center and MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas, is a newly named show that combines a number of IBM's previous events into one gigantic gathering. And I do mean big.
Check out the numbers:
- 40,000+ attendees from all over the world
- More than 325 exhibitors showcasing products and services, ranging from mainframe hardware to A.I.-powered marketing suites
- Over 2,700 sessions, from small hands-on workshops to the chairman’s address with thousands of attendees. And not just in person but also via numerous satellite viewing venues and a live online video stream.
And, indeed, it felt crowded. Lots of chatter in the hallways about the gridlock getting to and from sessions. IBM may need to pick a bigger venue next year.
What Did We Learn?
IBM Think covered a lot of ground, but there were a few clear themes that dominated.
A.I. and smart assistants were absolutely everywhere. The dancing robot (in the video above and photo below) was trying to attract attention to an A.I.-assisted mainframe monitoring solution. We also learned about A.I.-assisted supply chain management, chatbot-based experience management, and much more. Smart assistants are already playing a major role in day-to-day business, and their importance will only increase in the next few years. Referring to IBM's own A.I. project, Watson, CEO Ginny Rometty predicted that "Watson's Law" will replace "Moore's Law" as the key metric of performance growth in the computing industry. The implication is that every industry has the potential to be transformed by A.I.
The same applies to cloud computing. This topic certainly isn't new, but plenty of vendors at IBM Think were out to prove that it's evolved from a cutting-edge trend to a booming commodity. One of the show's biggest cloud announcements (which was also a major "big data" announcement) was the introduction of IBM's Private Cloud for Data, an online platform for building enterprise apps and unlocking deep insights from mountains of data.
Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and quantum computing were the additional themes of the show. If you're not familiar with blockchain, it's an ingenious system for the storage and secure distribution of global transactional data. It was originally developed for digital currencies like Bitcoin but now promises to drive innovation across a huge range of industries. The idea is that blockchain will be seamlessly embedded into everything we do online: securely tracking purchases, monitoring the flow of goods, distributing private documents, and generally streamlining global business transactions. And to show how compact this technology can be, IBM unveiled the world's smallest computer: as powerful as one of its chips from the '90s and literally smaller than a grain of sand.
IBM has been talking about quantum computing for a while but this year looked like a big leap forward. IBM announced an upgrade to its quantum computing "Q platform" from 5 qubits to a 50. A qubit is a "quantum bit": a unit of information that can exist in two separate states simultaneously (e.g. on or off). It can only maintain that state for about 90 milliseconds but apparently that's all you need – 50 qubits can represent over 50 quadrillion numbers and can outperform even the most advanced supercomputer.
No surprise that Forbes recently reported that IBM is betting its future on this risky but crucial technology.
How We Played Our Hand
(It's Vegas, so excuse the gambling metaphors.) Standing out at a gargantuan show like IBM Think is not easy. So we made some calculated bets on the best way to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Rather than sinking money into a giant booth, hoping for foot traffic, we took a targeted approach. We went with a smaller booth and sent focused email and social campaigns to our target audience. We also honed the message to highlight our new integration with IBM WebSphere Commerce V9, conducting a joint webinar with partners shortly before the show.
We wanted to drive the point home that CoreMedia helps IBM customers make the most seamless transition to the new platform. And we also wanted to back up our claim that CoreMedia is the best CMS for eCommerce. Our deep integration with IBM's Watson Content Hub is the proof.
At the show itself, we stayed away from the main exhibit hall and instead networked with prospects at events and sessions. We shook hands, distributed flyers, and kept our team of solutions architects busy – giving demos, showing product enhancements, and explaining how CoreMedia can help brands build iconic online flagship store.
The result? Jackpot! ;)
See You Next Year in San Francisco
IBM Think 2018 was a big success for CoreMedia and we're already looking forward to next year's show in San Francisco. Since our West Coast office is based there, this will be a "home game" for us. (But we'll save future sports metaphors for next year.) Let us know if you're planning and we'll share some insider tips on the best places to go in San Francisco. See you there!