4 Great Experiences from DevNet Create 2018

DevNet Create, the 2-day developer-centric event in Mountain View, exceeded my expectations with featured speakers, tech talks , workshops and a developer build-a-thon called Camp Create. I’m an industry analyst, but I’m also a user and tester of Internet of Things (IoT) platforms both for work and at home. I spend a lot of time learning about and using IoT technology microservices like edge processing tools, device management platforms, analytics platforms and more.

There was a ton going on at DevNet Create, including a few items I especially enjoyed. Here are the 4 great experiences I took away from DevNet Create:

  1. I met and connected with a broad selection of fellow developers and IoT solution enablers. One of the best parts of any developer-centric conference is the ability to hang with fellow developers at lunch, post-event drinks, dinner, or on the event floor. DevNet Create delivered! I was able to have great discussions with Cisco Meraki engineers and product managers, speak with representatives from cutting-edge companies like Sonatype, and learn about next-generation containerization techniques from Puppet. There were lots of developers from around the world attending, presenting, and running workshops. I walked away with a bunch of additions to my LinkedIn network, some fresh new takes on IoT technology like this talk on IoT and AI from Neubay, and even some potential collaboration opportunities.
  2. I sat on a panel that reviewed the various Camp Create build-a-thon solutions. Learning about productized solutions with existing go-to-market strategies is great, but watching developers throw together real-world solutions in only 2 days is truly inspiring! The Camp Create portion of DevNet create enabled attendees to design, prototype, and build real-world IoT solutions. I thought the VR- and mobile phone-based server monitoring app (leveraging Cisco technologies under the hood) was very impressive. Also impressive was the Camp Create team that designed an IoT-enabled backend to provide real-time and historical heat maps of customers in a mock bank location, enable optimization of teller resources, and flag an alert if a high-priority customer walked into the bank — all using Meraki device location features. While these Camp Create solutions weren’t quite production-ready, watching developers do live demos, explain their rationales and design choices, and brainstorm aloud was truly fascinating and inspired me to go out and prototype a few of my own ideas! There’s a video of the teams’ presentations (starting at minute marker 12:40 in the video).
  3. I learned more about Cisco Kinetic and got to go hands-on while speaking with a Cisco systems engineer. While DevNet Create hosted speakers from all across the IoT and devops world, of particular interest to me were Cisco’s own offerings within the IoT platform space. Rather than walking through demos, marketing materials, or online trials, I got to sit down with a Cisco Kinetic engineer and walk through exactly how Kinetic works and what the platform can do. Using a real-world demo kit, just like Cisco would provide to enterprise customers evaluating their solution, I walked through configuration, management, and visualizations provided by the platform. Of particular utility, and one of the benefits of attending the event in person, I was able to ask questions to the Cisco engineer as we were walking through the platform. Not only is this kind of knowledge valuable for my job, but it’s always excellent fun to speak with the engineers who work behind the scenes building the products I’m constantly evaluating. It’s a good day when you get a geek-win and a business-win all at the same time.
  4. I was particularly excited to see Cisco embracing the developer community in the Tech Talks. Maybe Cisco has not always had the best reputation for enabling product extensibility through typical developer approaches: clearly this strategy has evolved. Cisco’s embrace of open-source and extensibility was evident at nearly every Cisco-led Tech Talk, workshop, and presentation. Developers were eligible to win free Meraki equipment after passing a walk-through of publicly available Meraki APIs. In other talks, presenters emphasized how many Cisco APIs have now been made available for public use and external integrations. Finally, Cisco emphasized the new Devnet website, offering a centralized repository for documentation, API definitions, and developer tools to help expose the community to Cisco’s solution stack. Oh, and of course, all of the cool prototypes that came out of the Camp Create projects will be made available on GitHub. It’s exciting to see Cisco taking transparent and meaningful steps to embrace the ways in which modern IoT developers and devops engineers work. We look forward to seeing this strategy continue to evolve and expand as Cisco invests further in their Devnet community!

Thank you again to Cisco for inviting me to speak about MachNation’s Top 5 Tips for Successfully Deploying Hybrid Edge/Cloud solutions. As my first time at DevNet, I have to say I was really blown away by all of the cool ideas, companies, and solutions I had the chance to experience… and I know I’ll be looking forward to DevNet Create in 2019!

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