I love this thing called the internet with RSS feeds, Mailing lists and Newsgroups etc... It always amazes me how you can stumble across information that makes you take a second to stand up and think to oneself "hey - that's really cool!"...
I was doing some email triage (I got my fourth "your mailbox is over your limit" message this weekend from the good old Exchange agent) and I perused some folders of the DL's I'm a member of (I have 43 outlook inbox rules to auto sort my mail). This post happened to be from the Ottawa Carleton Linux User Group general mailing list advertising something called "BarCampOttawa" taking place this past Saturday. Damned if I didn't read it on Friday, since I would have made time to make it out to the event being hosted at BitHeads. What caught my attention was the community of IT professionals in Ottawa organising something of an event that was an “un-event” (or anti-event?) of getting together to share information and participate in the community as a whole. You had slots you could sign in for to present a topic and have audience participation. Slots were open for the taking and could be on any subject. Lots of stuff on Web 2.0, VoIP and various OSS software products / company startups. (Mental note – check for next event in Ottawa.)
One item that caught my attention the most was a product by a company called iotum who’s product is called the “Relevance Engine” that decides how to route inbound calls to get to you. It can query your online “presence” with Messenger, check your calendar, verify your inbound caller against your imported outlook contacts – all these variables can be used to identify where calls should go (your extension, your cell, your voice mail). Besides being a cool product, they won a DemoGOD award for 2006 showing their product at a conference on emerging technology, beating out all other entries. Check out the video – it’s very good.
Speaking of Relevance, back at BarCampOttawa, one of the sessions was about preparing for delivering this demo. Demos are something that I do as part of presenting and I know what it’s like to have them work, be relevant and also what it’s like when they blow up on ya (I’ll be haunted by DFS for a while). I really liked the way AlecSaunders and HowardThaw from iotum broke the demo down and how to make it relevant and worth watching. It’s something I do unconsciously when I create demos for tours and customers – but it has been beautifully laid out for all demo creators out there.
Way to go guys for the DemoGOD award and also for sharing your process with the IT Pro Community at large.