Experience Acquia London marked the long awaited return to in-person events for us here at Acquia. Like most, we’ve been hunkered down in our home offices for the past 18 months finding new ways to share great content to all of you, including Experience Acquia Online and our upcoming annual Acquia Engage event in October.
The UK has been able to fully open up recently, thanks to nearly 90% of the population being vaccinated. This has allowed us to get back to hosting great live events for our customers and partners, with learning, thought leadership and of course face to face networking being the primary focus of the event. We also implemented a traffic light system, with red, amber and green badge stickers for attendees to show their comfort level to other attendees, which helped everyone feel more at ease. Experience Acquia London was the grand finale to the festival of digital experiences we’ve held across Europe all summer, including personalised virtual events in both Germany and France. We’ve all sat in countless Zoom meetings, and so it felt only right, now that it is safe to do so, to focus on the one thing we’ve been missing — each other!
The event started with an hour in our partner networking zone — a chance for everyone to catch up, meet old friends and engage with our brilliant exhibiting partners: Coherence, CyberDuck, EPAM and ORM. We then kicked off our proceedings on the main stage, with Acquia’s own Tom Bianchi acting as host and compere for the quick-fire 90 minutes of content on the main stage.
We heard first from Acquia Master Solutions Architect, Alan Botwright who gave some big picture perspective on the world today, as well as asking the big question (and the theme of the event) — “What will Digital Experiences look like in 10 years from now?”. Alan and Tom also discussed how the relationship between data and content has never been more important, as we all strive to create beautiful, relevant digital experiences that help us bring value to our customers through ongoing innovations to our own product families (Drupal Cloud and Marketing Cloud).
Tom then introduced Chigozie Anyiam of Widen, a recognized leader in digital asset management (DAM) and product information management (PIM) solutions, to share the news of the very recent acquisition of Widen by Acquia. The discussion demonstrated why Widen’s technology was a perfect fit to help us fulfill our vision of unifying content and data.
Following the update on the Widen acquisition, we were treated to a customer panel featuring Natalie McLoed of 15below, Jyotveer Gill of Said Business School, University of Oxford, Thomas Caddick of Arriva, Julian Tedstone of Coherence and Andy Farmer of ORM. Tom asked the panel to all share their opinion on “what does a good digital experience look like?” as well as addressing the future of digital experiences. The Q&A also added in some extra fun with a microphone in the shape of a ball that was thrown around the room as audiences asked questions.
The last part of the on-stage agenda ventured into the dark side of the internet, with author, journalist, Ted Talker and futurist Jamie Bartlett. Jamie took us all on a journey into the unknown, starting with how criminals use the dark web to buy stolen IDs. Interestingly, a seamless digital purchasing experience is just as important to criminals as us non-criminals, with online marketplaces having user reviews and the most successful merchants being the ones with the best reputations — who would have thought! We then looked ahead to the future and how advertising might be personalised to us on our smart home devices. Without giving away Jamie’s whole talk, it was a fascinating look at both the unknown corners of the web and the bright future of our new digital lives.
Tom then wrapped things up on stage before my personal favourite part of the event — the evening networking and live entertainment. We were lucky enough to be treated to some September sunshine in the simply stunning courtyard at the wonderful Langham Hotel. With more than 140 of us all together, the drinks reception and live entertainment from an acoustic guitarist was the perfect setting for people to reconnect, learn from each other and enjoy another brilliant Experience Acquia event.
For even more excitement and announcements about the future of digital experience, join us on October 26 and 27 for our online Acquia Engage conference!