Looking into the future, what will events be like after the pandemic? Will we go back to meeting in-person and traveling around the world to do so? We have been asked this question many times and of course we don’t have an answer. All we know is that even data scientists and KNIME users feel the need to meet in-person again to share experience, ideas, knowledge, and best practices.
On July 7, the KNIME Community met again to do just that, using a different online format to try and recreate the networking and chatting that is at the heart of in-person events. When we started planning the event, we had one main objective, as Rosaria Silipo, Head of Evangelism at KNIME said:
"The goal of this event was to bring the KNIME community together again after the long pause due to the various lockdowns of 2020. We organized an event that could offer tutorials to those who wanted to learn more and networking to those who missed the opinion exchange. The only way to collect all KNIIME players from all latitudes and longitudes, was to collect their avatars at a virtual event."
The event kicked off with the Meet the Developers session and we were taken on a tour of the major updates from the latest software release: dynamic and shareable Data Apps, collaboration spaces on the KNIME Hub, production-ready Integrated Deployment extension and a peek into what’s coming, for example KNIME Edge, which will enable you to deploy your models as inference services.
After the tour, the doors opened to the main KNIME garden. We all created an avatar for ourselves (think Super Mario ... Zelda) and beetled into the garden, navigating skillfully with our arrow keys, to chat, mingle, and network!
Walking through the User Group Meeting area you could hear snatches of conversations in Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Turkish, and English coming from the different regional rooms. There were some “women in tech” discussions going on in the KNI.Mrs room how people got into data science and who their mentors or role models are (e.g., Katherine Johnson), while over in the topical rooms there were discussions about the new Excel node upgrades and creating dashboards, ideas for more learning resources and ebooks, a little fan club for the Column Expression node, plus what new webinars might be coming, e.g. on XAI, and a whole lot more.
Our favourite quotes yesterday, either spoken from avatar to avatar or from the guest books that were placed at each help desk were:
“One and half hours into the event: I only wanted to spend 30 minutes - I am still here! I came, I saw, I chatted.”
“Thanks for sparing us another Zoom meeting. This is so much fun!”
We’d like to thank all the moderators of the User Group Meetings for welcoming members of the KNIME community into your meetings. And a big thanks to everyone who came to KNIME Data Talks - Community Edition and made it such an interactive and fun experience.
As we look forward now to the coming months, we hope to organize more opportunities for the KNIME community to meet and discuss in a similarly interactive environment. What would you like to see at events in the future? Are you a fan of the online format, are you longing for more in-person meetings, or would you enjoy attending a hybrid event? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org