Friday, November 7, 2014

Alfresco Summit 2014 - London - My Takeaways!

Alfresco summit 2014 started on 7th October (which was also my birthday and my Zaizi first year anniversary!!!) at London Hilton Metropole hotel.

This was my first Alfresco summit experience, which turned out to be very exciting and rewarding.

On the first day, I got the opportunity to attend full day Alfresco training by Rui Fernandes, Alfresco international trainer, to get hands-on experience with web scripts.

Then, we had the "partner drinks" event, which was a networking event for all the Alfresco partners. (Special thanks for Zaizi London friends who wished me for my birthday and and sang happy birthday song in the event to make me feel home, and also for Zaizi Colombo friends who sent me surprise birthday gifts!)

There, people were interested about Zaizi - Connecting Intelligence slogan and they were so curious to know what we are doing with semantics, NLP and machine learning at Zaizi.
The summit sessions were officially started next day followed by the product keynote by Thomas DeMeo, the VP of product management for Alfresco

The first session I attended was " Activiti in the Event-Driven Architecture" by Robin Bramley Chief Scientific Officer for Ixxus. It was about using complex event processing in BPM for business activity monitoring (infer co-related event or patterns). The solution uses Activiti, Apache Camel and Esper. It was interesting to see how organisations can gain meaningful insight for business operations using their day to day events.

The next session was "Whats new in Alfresco 5 search?” Andy Hind and Mike Farman from Alfresco
. There, the presenters explained the new search enhancements such as Alfresco faceted search, auto-suggest and spelling and performance improvements, achieved using new SOLR4 features.

The next session, namely "Declarative configuration of share session” by Dave Draper from Alfresco focused on creating dynamic UI component design using Akiue framework. There was thunderous applause from the audience, when the speaker created a simple 'things to do' UI application in 3 mins.

Next one was the lightening talks session. It was a challenging session for speakers, because the slides were auto playing and each speaker got only 5 mins to talk, yet it was fun for the audience. The "easy edit" application, which helps to open the documents in their native application itself (E.g., MS doc in MS Office) for edit was a cool feature. I exactly do not remember if this was the session which the speakers took off their shirts to release their new product. ;)

The last session for the day was "Top 10 tricks to improve Alfresco performance” by Sergio from Zaizi. Using his experience with Alfresco, he explained different SOLR settings, Alfresco configuration settings and clustering mechanisms for share and alfresco that should be in place to improve Alfresco performance.

Also, he mentioned one more important thing that applies not only with Alfresco performance, but with anything we do in our lives. That is…  “What ever you do, do it with passion!”

After that, we attended the awesome evening party at Palace Suite, with The band Sway Allstars.
Too bad I missed the Zaizi after party at Apres London, as I had to go back to hotel for my speech preparation for next day. #LastMinutePanic

Next day, I presented in the session “Set your content straight” which talks about applying machine learning techniques in Alfresco to enhance metadata and search capabilities.

Then, Ainga, CEO Zaizi explained few customer use cases where we can take the advantage of technologies such as content analytics, data linking, intelligence search and machine learning to solve business problems in his session "Content Intelligence: Advanced Information Technologies for Alfresco"
Another session that I was interested about was "Indexing and searching speech contained in audio and video content” by Romain Guinot from Alfresco.

There, they have integrated Pocketsphinx : speech-to-text engine with Alfresco transformations to enable video and audio content indexing and search. Audio and video provides better help when it comes to grasp a particular perception effectively, yet they are consuming more network bandwidth than other medias such as text.

So, this provides a nice solution for the above issue by indexing the actual content of the audio or video files and make them available for searching.

Then, Lucas was presenting the session on "Scale Audit & Reporting with a NoSQL Architecture”.

Last but not least: Bringing Alfresco to Google glass! In this presentation, it was demonstrated how google glass can be used as a wearable device to publish Alfresco content using GDK - Glass Development Kit for this. After the session, we could try out the Google glass too! :)

On the whole, it was a great opportunity to see how people are using cutting edge technologies and customising Alfresco to change the way enterprises manage and interact with their documents.

If you miss this event, the recorded sessions will be available in Alfresco summit site and Youtube after some time, so it’s worth downloading and watching them.

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