Well, that was amazing.

IBM InterConnect 2017 wrapped up about a week ago. I am still trying to parse all the knowledge and insights I gathered, as well as all the connections made. This was my first InterConnect event and its size and depth continuously blew me away. My domain is typically smaller, developer-focused community events that, on average, host an audience in the hundreds. Events this size, with attendance in the thousands, are a new thing for me. That being said, it was easy to find many, many informative and insightful sessions. I’ve come away from the event invigorated and flush with inspiration.

The theme of the event was Cognitive and Cloud. However, there were a few other themes that rose to the top as well, such as Blockchain, Quantum and Diversity. Fellow StrongLoop evangelist Erin McKean hit on these with her response when I asked the team for their InterConnect takeaways:

“If I had to pick a word to describe IBM’s 2017 InterConnect conference, I’d have to pick ‘curiosity’. There was something to satisfy my curiosity on just about any technology, from blockchain to Watson to the sounds-like-science-fiction-but-is-totally-real quantum computing! A couple of sessions really stood out—especially the Open Technology Summit. which was a smorgasbord of cool open-source tech (check out the very active #IBMOTS hashtag and the IBMCloud wrap-up). If you’re a heavy user of Twitter (as I am) it should be encouraging to hear that Twitter is looking to use Watson to reduce abuse on its platform. And it’s always inspiring to hear Reshma Saujani, CEO of Girls Who Code speak, and her message of teaching girls to be brave–and curious!–resonates today more than ever.”

Erin hit the nail on the head. If you came curious to InterConnect – like we did – then you were not disappointed. And two core values to our team are open source and diversity, so seeing those both on full display were heartening.

Another thing central to our team: APIs. While the theme was Cognitive and Cloud, the piece that brings it all together is APIs. There were many sessions and conversations around API management and gateways. Whether it was microservices architecture or OpenWhisk tips and tricks, APIs were prevalent. Whether it was enterprise use cases or bot and integration workshops, APIs were pervasive. Like I always say: API all the things!

My fellow StrongLoop evangelist, David Okun, concurred:

“The operative question no longer seems to be, ‘How can I build an API?’ but rather, ‘How can I manage it well?'”

Pulling the integration story together into a very compelling presentation was our own Juan Carlos Soto, Head of Hybrid Integration. He brought a number of people on stage to share their stories: Nicola Palmarini (IBM), Srinivas Tummala (Citi/Banamex), and Adam Seligman (Salesforce). Each of their stories and conversations were insightful and aptly highlighted tomorrow’s integration trends. But for our team, the big splash was our colleague Ram Vennam‘s demo. A number of us worked on this project and it was thrilling to see it in action on the big stage. It showed a freight company intelligently re-routing deliveries of critical shipments around developing storms, using not only cognitive integrations but a number of other emerging technologies, including IoT and (of course) API management. You can see the demo in the video below.

Personally, I am fueled by the social connections and interpersonal relationships. While I learned a ton and explored many facets of IBM, its technologies and the space it operates within, my biggest takeaway is all the people I was able to engage with in such a short time: so many interesting people doing impactful work. I look forward to nurturing these relationships, seeing how I can help and generally cheering on all my friends, new and old. Salut!

What’s Next?

Inspired by what you learned at InterConnect or in this summary?