Have you ever attended an Educause Conference? Until last week, I hadn’t. In fact, I was one of 1600 first-time attendees at Educause 2017 in Philadelphia. But, unlike most of the other first-timers, as a recent college grad, this was my first conference of any kind. Educause proved to be a great one to start with: 400 sessions and 400 exhibitors, including Extreme Networks, and lots of excellent discussions on state-of-the-art EdTech.
Our booth was mobbed by the 8,000 conference attendees, but when I got a break, it seemed like the exhibitor hall was never-ending! There was even a Ferrari at one of the booths! All in all there was a wealth of information to be consumed, even with the false emergency alarm that went off on day one!
As far as our Extreme booth goes, I’d seen pictures of it, but it was simply awe-inspiring in person. I was on hand during the pre-show setup and construction, but when the show opens, everything sparkles. The whole team worked incredibly hard to put the conference together, from the conference staffers to all of the exhibitors and speakers.
I wasn’t the only one impressed by the conference. All of the attendees that stopped by booth #2313 had wonderful things to say about the Educause sessions and all that they had learned about new ways to improve and enhance their institutions. The common themes of the conference were cybersecurity, increasing mobility on and off campus, expanding distance learning, and eliminating cheating, to name a few.
One surprise to me during Educause was that visitors of our booth were eager to take home their own Extremo Flying Monkey. For those of you who might not know, Extremo Monkeys are a cross between a stuffed monkey and a slingshot that screeches when it flies. Extreme Networks gives them away at various tradeshows. Besides visitors enjoying these keepsakes, our booth staff loved showing people how they worked! However, some attendees might have regretted taking one home. I know my 5-year-old cousin loved the Extremo I gave him, but my aunt was not a fan — she told me exactly what I should expect to receive as a gift when I have my first child!
It wasn’t all monkey business at the Extreme booth! We discussed our recent acquisitions of Brocade’s SRA business and Avaya Networking and shared information on our new comprehensive product portfolio with booth visitors. To better showcase our product offerings, we ran in-booth demonstrations including:
Out of all the demos, I don’t think I could say which one was the most popular as attendees were engaged and impressed by each one of our product offerings. I’d concede that wireless was a hot topic and many were interested in learning more about what’s on the horizon from Extreme with that product line. Our 3916 camera access point was on display at the booth and caught the attention of quite a few of the visitors. I provided a brief introduction to the access point before connecting interested visitors with Extreme’s demo staff. To show visitors just exactly how the camera AP worked, we installed the device in our booth to show off the video recording capabilities and clarity! For a glimpse, watch this short clip of the camera AP recording at the booth:
Besides the camera AP, attendees were also interested in the many ways that network analytics and workflow automation can benefit their institutions. Our team explained that analytics can deliver the strategic visibility into network usage to provide a better experience by enabling organizations to see what students are doing on the network and analyze how much bandwidth is being used. This level of insight comes in handy when looking for students who might be cheating on exam day and for designing network upgrades in high volume network usage areas.
Visitors were surprised to learn how workflow automation drastically simplifies the network and how it can be applicable to any network. Steve Smith, director of product marketing at Extreme Networks, shows a brief overview of our network workflow automation demo here:
Although you may not need Workflow Composer to control a robotic arm at your institution, this fun demonstration shows you just how you can utilize it otherwise.
For those of you that can’t wait until Educause 2018 in Denver, Colorado, please join us for one of our other upcoming events or learn more about our higher education solutions on our website. Upcoming events include:
Also, stay tuned for more first-hand tradeshow experience content from me as I’ll be attending SC17 this week!
For more on Educause 2017 see these blogs: