Adtran Connect - Quick Take and Photos

Another week, another industry event. This time it’s for Adtran Connect, a company I have some good history with. Not my core focus, but enough pieces that touch on things I follow, so it’s definitely time well-spent. I’ll have more to say soon, and for now, here’s my usual quick-take post with photos before I move on to the next thing.

Day 1 keynotes from Curtis Knittle of CableLabs, and Matthew Hare of UK-based Zzoomm. Adtran’s Gary Bolton keeping things moving along.

Fireside chat just with analysts and press with CEO/Chairman Tom Stanton. Here’s an updated photo that I’ve posted in recent years - their wall of patents - pretty impressive. After the sessions, you do what one does in Alabama - blues and bbq. My kinda town.

Day 2 keynote - my highlight - Dr. Deborah Barnhart of the US Space and Rocket Center. What a great time to be in Huntsville, on the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and of course how the space program came to Huntsville. She told the story well, and had some pretty strong messages about how space exploration can help us save the planet - more on that later.

Twilio SIGNAL 2019 - Quick Take and Pix

Last year was my first SIGNAL event, and impressive as it was, this year’s was bigger and better. Twilio is on a roll for sure (transparency alert - I’m a happy shareholder - but that doesn’t color my take here), and being on home soil, this was a loud and proud gathering in San Francisco. It’s an understatement to say that things are just different here - for better or worse - and if you were going to build a successful business at scale from the bottom-up for today’s digital economy, it would look a lot like Twilio.

As I often do when these events wrap up and I’m about to fly home, I just have time now for some photo highlights while everything is still fresh. There’s lots more to talk about, and over the next few days, I’ll have a more reflective set of takeaways, so check back here soon.

If you believe bigger is better, this was the place to be. The event planning team clearly had a mandate to spend and make sure you couldn’t miss SIGNAL. But in this case, I think Twilio lived up to the buzz.

The seating area for analysts was off to the left, so not great for getting photos during the keynotes. Above, CEO Jeff Lawson bringing vision, energy and passion. This sure sounds like a guy you’d want to work for, esp if you get behind their mantra of “we can’t wait to see you build”. Jessica Popp updating us on Flex, and Christine Roberts talking about Verified by Twilio. I’ll have more to say on both of these soon.

“Papa Vic” - Jeff really nailed the importance of personal relationships talking about his grandfather, and connecting that to Twilio’s vision to create the same at scale with their technology. Erin Reilly, as she did last year, showcased Twilio’s commitment to social good, with great examples of how they bring communications to vulnerable people and make a big difference in their lives. Boost - Jeff giving yet another example of pervasive messaging has become, and clearly, Twilio is on to something here. Final picture - a really good panel session on email - and the risks around spoofing, spam, etc. The acquisition of SendGrid for email was very strategic, and it’s an important part of Twilio’s story.

Sensoneo demo - yet another layer to Twilio - IoT. This was a smart city application, mapping out all the waste bins across San Francisco, and thanks to sensors placed inside all the lids, the sanitation department gets a birds-eye view of which bins are full and need pickup. This helps optimize their routes, and they’ve 30% cost savings as a result - that’s a great use case. Later, a session on blocking robocalls - Twilio has a fix for that now. Then some fun onstage with rapper Macklemore, the performer for the big party last night. The hash #freemacklemore” quickly became a thing, but I think we’ve moved on now. Last shot - yes, it’s what you think. The party was held in a parking garage, retrofitted to an event space. Seemed strange at first, but very cool, and very Twilio. Can’t wait to see what they build for the next SIGNAL!

Schulich Tech Leader Talk - Musing on AI and Machine Learning

Got my MBA here in Toronto at the Schulich School of Business (nee York University) a long time ago, but I stay involved, and am part of the Technology Alumni Group, which you can follow and join here on Linkedin.  

Last night, I attended their latest Tech Leader Talk event downtown, and the topic was a good one - the outlook for AI and machine learning (ML). If you follow me, you'll know that these technologies are finding their way into the UC/collaboration space, as well as customer care. While I didn't expect to hear much on that tangent, the bigger picture is of great interest on many levels. That said, two of the panelists did talk about marketing and customer journey applications, and that alone would have been enough for me.

In short, the panel was moderated by Jordan Jacobs of Layer 6 AI. Joining him were speakers from two household names - IBM and Salesforce, along with local startup Canopy Labs, and consulting firm Idea Couture.

Waving the hometown flag, Jordan started things off with some facts and figures touting how Toronto is a global leader in AI R&D, and just how in-demand data engineers are today, especially coming out of academia - wow. A bit late in the game for me, but not for my kids!

Otherwise, there was a lively roundtable discussion about all the cool applications coming, and akin to the Internet of Things, every industry, line of work, job, etc. is somehow going to be transformed by AI/ML in our lifetime.

Sure, the hype cycle is running hot, and these things always take longer than planned, and we've been hearing about AI for decades, but there's no doubt that the stars are lining up.

Of course, the audience was quick to ask about the implications, the downside, the ethics, etc. Lots of good discussion there, and one comment that I think resonated with everyone had to do with what jobs will be hot 10 years now.

No doubt there will be tons of jobs displaced in sectors like transportation and manufacturing, but the consultant, Shane Saunderson, posited that philosophers will be in big demand then. I'm with him on this, as once AI/ML matures enough to disrupt/transform daily life, we're going to need big picture thinkers to consider what it all means and understand the implications/opportunities for humanity and the planet. Sign me up!

That's all I have for now, but will leave you with two things. Below is not-great photo of Juan Carlos Sanchez of the Tech Alumni group introducing the panel. Secondly, the event was live-streamed on their Facebook page, so if you want to watch, here's the link.

My Next Webinar - Machine Learning and Utility Asset Management

Time flies when you're busy!

Last week I was at the SCTC conference and between speaking and playing music with the SIPtones, I didn't get any blogging done. Just getting a free moment to blog now, and while it's short notice, I have another webinar to tell you about.

Actually, I have three webinars coming up before year end, and will have posts coming soon on the other two.

Tomorrow's webinar has me wearing my Smart Grid hat with Zpryme, and I'll be moderating on the topic of machine learning and  how it's impacting the way utilities build and monitor their power networks.

Very similar issues to the service provider space, actually, and am looking forward to it. Joining me will be executives from Spark Cognition and Duke Fossil and Nuclear - all the details are here, and it's not too late to register!