The day with Bernie… or Interface Tour

After just getting back from Cisco Live 2016 in Las Vegas, the Interface Tour was a nice slowed down pace.  This has been my third time and each time is getting better.  After a few emails from Bernie Bokenyi and finally meeting him during an advisory council meeting, having Bernie around makes for a fun time. This guy has always been great to talk to and makes the event a well organized time(thanks to him and all the people involved).

If you have time check for an Interface Tour in your area. It’s a great time.  Being a smaller event makes it easier to talk to the vendors and enjoy the sessions. You don’t have to run around trying to make it to your next session, usually the next one is just a few hundred feet away.  Which makes for less walking–always a good thing!  And, the sessions have “CPE accreditation”.

Also, they have lots of great prizes when the event is over. 🙂

The non Aruba customer?

Why would a person who does not use Aruba products go to Atmosphere 2016?  I asked myself that many times during my flight to and from Las Vegas. And, all roads led to the Aruba Community.  Why the hell would anyone go just for the community….yeah, good question. Let me explain a little….

Why not—is what you should be thinking. The best part is learning something, do you like wi-fi? I hope you do.  Atmosphere is a smaller group compared to other conferences, attendance was around 1500+, I never heard the exact number. Heck, anything over 1,000 people is still a large group, still lots of fun, and being smaller–easier to find people and doesn’t kill your feet having to walk all over the place.

Community is good.  I think that is what drives people to use a product, well besides it being good.  Multiple times I heard people talking about the community, the Airheads community.  I only attended a few sessions at Atmosphere, I was more interested in being the fly on the wall and finding groups of people talking before or after a session. Or roaming around and hearing people talk during breaks. One thing I thought was really cool—video games(and a great way to get people talking) Yes, a mini arcade was setup, they even had an air hockey table and pinball machines. I thought that was a nice touch, lots of people seemed to love that. Each time I made my rounds, I would see two or three people playing at each game. It was a great way to zone out after a session, yes, the sessions I did attend–mind blown. Lots of great information(I attended the Ten Talks). The Ten Talks are off-topic style “10 minute” talks, typically wireless focused, but could be on other technologies that go along with wireless.

Something I did notice was that people liked the “hot breakfast”.  I have never ate the breakfast food at a conference before, not sure what the normal run of the food is.  But, seeing people post pictures on Twitter about bacon and eggs, and seeing a tray full of bacon almost made me try it, but then again, I never really eat breakfast at breakfast time.

The vendor booth layout is much smaller, you could walk for maybe 60 seconds and cover all the vendors. I thought that was actually odd, but frankly it seemed easier to talk and interact with them(even got into a vendor VIP party). Also, you don’t get slammed with people wanting to scan your badge because you walked too close to a booth! And, the vendor VIP party was great, ran into people that we currently use products from, which made for great talks, over beer and Deep-Fried Oreos(Yes, Deep-Fried Oreos, they are almost the best thing on the planet, well, that and Tacos).

Now, the coolest thing I liked, in fact loved, was the Aruba Meridian location mapping/awareness that was done. It was fun and interesting to find directions to a session and to share your location with other people. It was fun to see random people(I purposely shared my location–via the Atmosphere Conference mobile app–and other people allowed their access to be seen) in sessions and to find friends easier–all indoors. Aruba had setup beacons all over place, looked to be roughly 10-15 feet apart covering the entire conference halls and session rooms. I was super lucky to get a handful of Aruba Beacons and a Sensor to play around with—can’t wait to get that setup.

So of course every conference must have an ending party, and this party was interesting. The typical Las Vegas style of odd things made an appearance–what looked like a ballerina inside a six-foot tall clear ball floating in pool. Hmm ok.  BUT, they did have a flash-mob style group of people jump into the pool, all dancing and singing. Which I thought was pretty funny and great to watch.  Oh and on-site hand rolled cigars–awesome!

I know you are thinking—-all this still does not answer why a non Aruba customer went to Atmosphere.  You are right it really doesn’t, I was curious to see what Aruba was all about.  It looked like people love Aruba almost in the sense that people love Apple.  I don’t see that as being a bad thing, in fact I think you’d have better products because people are loyal and willing to get and make things perfect.  Why wouldn’t you love Aruba, the community is great! Everyone was always friendly to give advice or answer just random questions.

Will I go again, Yes! Should you go if you’re an Aruba Customer—without a doubt yes! the amount of information that you gain from the Community is amazing.