TechEd so far seems to be really well run this year.
- Preconference Registration: I found registration fairly easy and straightforward this year. No complaints, but nothing stood out as exceptional either. Rating: B
- Preconference Agenda: Fantastic! I was able to slice and dice all the possible lectures and hands on sessions until I found a path that allowed me to attend most of the sessions on my MUST SEE list. (There are so many MUST SEE sessions, that, in my opinion, there’s not way to see them all, but the online Agenda tool allowed me to make intelligent choices and get as many as possible.) Rating: A
- Agenda availablility on mobile device: I’ve heard the agenda is available on Apple devices but not for Android. If true, Boooooo! I’ll reserve a rating until I have more information. Rating: TBD
- Preconference Communication: I received daily updates from TechEd prior to the show. It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I enjoyed the “who’s coming” gallery so I could check to see who I need to be on the look out for to reconnect, but somehow it still felt a little hollow. I see the potential, but I don’t think the preconference communication website quite achieved it’s full potential this year. Rating: B
- Finding Registration: Registration is in the back, like always, but instead of relying on signs to point folks through the often confusing path to find registration, SAP has posted *actual humans* to answer questions and point the way. I can’t tell you what a difference that makes. Much appreciated! Rating: A+
- Registration itself: was fast and efficient. In the past you had to find the exact correct line (Last name A-D, Last name E-J, etc.). This year you just walked up to any of a large number of manned (or unmanned if you prefer) booths, gave your name and id and received your badge. Super friendly and efficient! Rating: A+
- Distribution of Swag: Conference stuff was handed out at a separate table from registration which is definitely more efficient than having the folks handing out badges have to also manage piles and piles of conference swag simultaneously. Well done! Rating: A+
- Conference Swag: In the early days, SAP gave out button down shirts, backpacks, and other top flight gear. SAP’s not alone in skimping on the free conference swag handed out when you check in, but the swag this year was definitely fairly skimpy: a water bottle and a thumb drive with all the conference materials on it. I’m not a big fan of water bottles, but having all of the conference materials on a thumb drive is incredibly useful, expecially if you want to take a peek at a session that you may have missed. Rating: C (average for any conference)
So far good!
PS. Free idea for any mobile developer attending this (or any conference). In the past, ASUG had a station set up with ribbons that you could attach to your badge to let folks know your interest and expertise. How about a mobile app that lets you log your interests and sets up a radar-type screen to help you find others with similar interests. I think something like that would be especially useful at lunch. Not sure if it’s really practical because GPS won’t work inside. Not sure what other mechanisms are available for short range broadcast. You should even look through the camera to see tags floating in the air around folks who participate in the app. Probably not technically feasible, but it would be cool. I haven’t found the ribbon station this year. Hopefully they’ll set one up tomorrow.