By Scott Fagen, Director of Industry Influence
As you probably already know, the SHARE summer conference, scheduled for Boston, will not occur. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the cancellation of all gatherings in Boston for the summer, up to and including Labor Day. However, that doesn’t mean that SHARE is going to miss out on an opportunity to fulfill our mission.
As many other conferences have done this year, this summer SHARE will be virtual, delivered directly to you over the internet. After SHARE Fort Worth, it became unclear if an in-person event would be possible in Boston during the summer, so SHARE President Justin Bastin commissioned a task force of SHARE volunteers and staff to look into what a virtual conference might look like. The team discussed everything from scheduling and speaker logistics to platform and price. After seeing demos of a number of different online conference venues, the team has chosen Pathable to deliver SHARE Virtual 2020.
The Pathable platform will allow us to virtualize many of the activities that make SHARE the important event that it is. We will, of course, hold our technical program (generally six concurrent sessions), lunch and learn sessions (bring your own lunch!) and a virtual SHARE Technology Exchange. The platform allows for the hosting of impromptu break-out sessions, so you can “visit” with our partners in the STE.
Based on research from other virtual conferences brought to the task force by the SHARE staff, we’ve decided to schedule the technical and lunch and learn sessions to 40-45 minutes, along with the opportunity for some 20 minute VSP sessions.
Also, since there is no travel involved, we’ve decided to run the conference over a few days across several weeks, with the days starting between 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. EDT, running through 5:00pm EDT, allowing us to accommodate the three U.S. time zones. Right now, the schedule looks like:
- August 4-6: SHARE Virtual 2020 Kickoff, Technical Sessions, Lunch and Learn Sessions, VSPs
- August 12: Technical Sessions and Networking Activities, including Women in Technology, BoFs and other impromptu activities
- August 18-20: Technical Sessions, Lunch and Learn Sessions, VSPs, SHARE Closing
You can see the current planned daily schedules at https://event.share.org/schedule.
Possibilities Beyond the Live Conference
I know we are all disappointed we won’t be able to descend, en masse, in Boston for our biannual get together, but here is the Top 10 List of Advantages of SHARE in the Cloud 2020.
- Avoiding TSA, planes, trains and automobiles and all of the personal indignities that entails. For many of us the commute to the conference will be the walk from the kitchen to the home office.
- Don’t have to fumble with the mobile app and its tiny venue map to find the room for the next session.
- Since all the sessions will be recorded, you don’t have to worry about picking the “wrong session” when there are so many good ones to go to at the same time. You can watch the “right session” later.
- Don’t have to worry about a session room being too hot, too cold, or too much noise coming in from the hallway or adjoining rooms. Just go adjust your own thermostat (and throttle your teenager).
- Don’t have to worry about a room being too full and having to sit in the front or having to walk through a tight row of chairs to claim that empty place.
- You are, by definition, socially distanced from Justin’s beard.
- Coffee. Available. Whenever. (And it doesn’t have to be Starbucks.)
- No worries about what boxed lunches will be available at the lunch and learn. If you are so inclined, order a pizza and have it delivered, if you want.
- Nobody will hear your cell phone if you forget to set it to “stun” and there’s no “walk of shame” to the exit.
- Pants are optional (please keep your webcam off if you choose to exercise this option).
Additionally, planning and executing on a virtual SHARE is allowing us to gain a lot of experience around what we need to be doing for our “year ‘round education” initiative. Creating, editing and curating content are critical to a successful management and delivery strategy outside of the twice-yearly conferences.
So, How Much Is This Going to Set Me Back?
Pricing has been set as:
- SHARE Member, Educator: $199/attendee
- Non-SHARE Member: $399/attendee
- Student: $0/attendee
This is a very good opportunity for members, especially those who have been coming to these events for a long time, to invite their colleagues to gain first-class education from the platform experts and experience the value of SHARE firsthand.
Where Are We Now?
Right now, the SHARE operations team, James Vincent and Rick Barlow, are working with the programs team to build the technical agenda. The partner team is reaching out to all of our exhibitors to offer an opportunity to sponsor the virtual event. As we firm up the agenda and partners, we will update the event website with new information.
Let’s Get Ready to SHARE
While all the details haven’t been fully worked out, please get registered and find your most comfortable clothes and fuzzy slippers. We are looking forward to a great virtual conference with excellent speakers delivering valuable content.
See you in the cloud in August.