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Folks I hope you're heading to TechEd this year - it's a brand new breed! Why....????
Because myself and my team are covering the entire event with RFID tags, we'll give you tags - enabling you the delegate to 'live' the technology!!! (seen Tron lately) we'll set up some great RFID interactive capabilities.
Sample card TechEd tag
It all started when... I went to MS and said..."I've got an idea...." and the teched committee(s) saw the plan and loved it (there were some sleepless nights there as well :).
I've been to over 10+ yrs of TechEd (sometimes 3 a yr, US, Oz + NZ) and I figured it should be a chance to play with the technology! Hands on - get dirty. Build, break, play + learn...all that stuff.
As a MS Ptr Readiness trainer/Regular teched speaker - I appreciate the value of sessions but as a delegate I would be looking for the show me/talk to me/let *me* see how it's done.... a bit like plasticine to mould and meld the way that I (as a delegate) would need it!!!!!
So in light of this - Breeze is providing a (huge) BizTalk RFID based RFID Event System that you guys can interact with/we'll walk you through the making of, setup & how the system is put together. We're getting some posters made up and myself as a trainer, would want to share the knowledge around this system.
Let's see what the system does.....(as of 5pm today...nothing like moving targets... :)
The vision we have is:
- You walk into a room and the welcome screen will say "Hi Paul" (and you'll fade out, do something special...we've got a couple of ideas here). This component actually is a 'real-time visual display' of out in the field events. In our case it's people walking past readers...or it could be boxes, trucks, palettes etc. Built in Silverlight 2 harnessing the WCF Eventing Services in real time. (We've been able to crank our code up to 150 people walking past *exactly* the same spot)
Fellow Breezer.... Scotty (a member of the BizTalk Virtual TS team) has a blurb on some of the details on the initial RFID/Silverlight nuts 'n bolts
(we've also got a webcast on how this is created)
- So you guys as an interactive experience as you walk in the room with various graphs (developers in the room, it pros...) and charts - some DRAFT IDEAs
All done in Silverlight
We've actually got MS Shane Morris on the case here - he never gives up a chance to get down and dirty with Silverlight.
Check out his thoughts at the moment - big thanks Shane :)
So there may be an 'Avatar' thingy that gets displayed up on the screen (as Shane mentions).....a quiet secret .....you want to 'pimp your avatar'???? Come and see the Breeze room and we'll make it happen...only those who rock up - I've got a Windows Mobile App that will do it for you.....
- Some other areas that may/may not make the final show are having things like:
- 'Information Points' - areas that you could simply be standing near, talking to someone and a screen may show where your collegues are, or what you may have in common with the person you're talking to. e.g. belong to community User Groups; where the next sessions of interest are for you.
These may be distributed throughout the conference.
- As you go to a session - if you stay longer than 15 mins (for e.g.) the system contacts Commnet and makes a session eval available for you to fill out (could be done while you're sitting in the session
- Breeze will have a room that will be driving all this - be sure to come and see us. Our guys will be more than happy to take you through 'the bunker'
- No more hold ups at the doors (hopefully :) with people individually reading your barcodes, you can just walk straight in (imagine if skiing chairlift lines were like that :)
- The other major component to the system is an Exhibitor System which is run on a PDA equipped with a Kenetics RFID Reader built on BizTalk RFID 1.1 Mobile (still in beta - nervous who me?). The Kenetics crew have been very helpful and when I embarked on this application I was given the H/W and a C++ DLL....."What..you don't know C++?" - not since uni folks....developed the RFID component in 4 days!!!
- The application is for when exhibitors on the floor, they scan your RFID Tag and you can continue the conversation. The scan range is around 2-10cms.
- There is also local SqlCe storage, with store/fwd capabilities. I'm using SqlCe merge replication to keep the data safe centrally - which proved to be interesting.
- Currently - the MS Stand and the HP stand will have the devices, the RFID Reader + this mobile App (the other exhibitors are still reading barcodes)
- TechEd Event information is to be made available through Analysis Cubes so you guys can pull up a pivot table (looks impressive to your boss) and play with the event data. Things like attendance in sessions, audience breakdown by interest or by technology etc. - it would be great to do something like an 'Amazon' - such as if you're a .NET developer having.... "Other people who are also .NET developers went to these other sessions...."
So as a delegate I can get a 'group feel' for what sessions I should be seeing next - sometimes there's a time where non of the sessions are on my immediate agenda, it would be great to have this information available to help me make my decision on what session I should see in that time slot.
(e.g. 85% of SQL developers chose this session....)
- There's a whole bunch of H/W coming from Kenetics which we'll be giving a session at TechEd on how we built it all!!!
- Lastly I thought I'd just mention a quick blurb on the RFID info.
- there *may* be some apprehension about a delegate getting a 'tag' and the whole "big brother is watching" thing. Let me dispel a couple of rumours
- tags are similar to barcodes - they simply contain a number. read differently but from that respect the same (imagine if you could go into your favourite sporting store, and say "I'll have a new shoes" and they knew your size, your brand, and whether it's in stock instantly - now you could even have a self-serve kiosk around that as well!!!)
- Your tag can't be read from satellites - lots of physics comes into play here...namely a big one of power. If you think about when TV stations need to broadcast to space, they have a large dish somewhere, 50 guys peddling bikes to generate the power and then they transmit bursts.
So...no. - simply cover the tag with your hand and you can't be read. (water and radio waves don't go that well)
- My vision is to make this *your* teched - as you can see we're being transparent and open about the system and how it works. Any time drop in and we'll show you through.
ON ANOTHER NOTE ENTIRELY DIFFERENT - my workflow session I'm delivering - you've got rare oppty....SOA305
Getting Workflows Running and Talking in Your Applications
Once you understand the basics of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) and can put together a workflow using the built-in activities, you will need to know how to get that workflow running in a variety of hosting environments and communicate between the workflow and the host application or the outside world. This session gives you a solid foundation to get started with these techniques. Gain a better understanding of how workflows exist in a hosting process and how to control the hosting services. Learn about the various forms of communication that can exist between a running workflow and the hosting application as well as with outside Web and WCF Services. Also, learn about the persistence and tracking features of WF.
- I've got a technical session on Workflow Foundation.
- Of course you're planning on seeing my session :) - WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO COVER? WHAT DO *YOU* WANT TO KNOW ABOUT?
(You've got the opportunity to provide feedback and while I'm still 'building' the session - hopefully I can incorporate your needs!)
More later and I'd love to hear your thoughts on above with a comment or two.....be great to see you at TechEd!!!!
Over and out