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Full Transcript: Podcast with Ismael Ghalimi on Office 2.0 Conference


Podcast with Ismael Ghalimi on Office 2.0 Conference

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Participants in this podcast are Krissi Danielsson (KD) and Ismael Ghalimi (IG.)

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John Delaney KD: Hi! I'm ebizQ producer Krissi Danielsson. You have no doubt heard a lot about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0, but what about Office 2.0? At IT Redux's upcoming Office 2.0 conference scheduled for September 5 through 7 in San Francisco, numerous experts and customers will gather to take a look at some of the mobile productivity and collaboration technology that may revolutionize day-to-day life in offices around the globe. And in the spirit of Office 2.0, they're going paperless and giving away an Apple iPhone to each attendee for use during the conference.

Here today to talk about Office 2.0 is Ismael Ghalimi, producer of the Office 2.0 conference. Thanks for joining us today, Ismael!

IG: Thank you for having us, Krissi.

KD: All right! So now, Ismael -- could you talk a little bit about what exactly is meant by the term "Office 2.0?" What sort of technology and possibilities are we talking about?

John Delaney IG: The idea is to get productive for office-type work either at the office, or at home, or on the go using online technology and services in your web browser as opposed to using applications that are installed desktop or laptop. Doing everything online, putting everything in the clouds and the primary reason for that is, when your data is online it is much easier to share with people, and more and more your work gets done with your peers, with your colleagues, with your customers and partners and you can share information online it can make you more productive, it's going get things done a lot faster and a lot easier for a lot less money. So that's the idea for Office 2.0. And what's possible today is essentially the same what you could do with client software, where there is a word processor, or spreadsheet, data base presentation tools. There's a lot of collaboration to, that really wouldn't make sense installed at a desktop. And everything is essentially possible now and is a matter of getting users to transition to the new model.

KD: All right, great! Now as we mentioned, you said you will be giving away an iPhone to each attendee at the conference and obviously everyone loves iPhones. Could you talk a little bit about the idea behind the giveaway and how that embodies the spirit of Office 2.0?

IG: Sure. Well, the idea of giving out iPhones, we're promoting the idea of doing everything online and there is no better way of proving that it works by actually using online tools for managing the company itself. So the whole conference is organized exclusively with online tools such as Salesforce.com or ZoHo for the back end and the logistics, and then during the event, instead of giving people an agenda or a schedule printed on paper, we give them a device that can connect to the Internet on which nothing is kind of preloaded; all they get is the iPhone and a Web browser, and then there's a website they can go to which will show them the schedule and which will show them the directory. If you meet someone at a demo you would be able to share your contact information with that person using an iPhone. If you're attending a session and you want to see what is on next door, you'll be able to get a live video feed of what's on next door using your iPhone. Essentially everything is done with that device. We're going to allow you to chat with other people, we're going to allow you to ask questions of the moderator during panels directly from your iPhone. In doing so, I think we're going to demonstrate that what you get with that device is a real-time tool that makes it a lot easier to collaborate with people when you're on the go.

Similarly we're going to share additional devices for people who might already have an iPhone. In that case they don't need a mobile device, but maybe they'd like to do office-type work in the living room. So for that we have a partnership with Sony, and for that, for people who already have an iPhone we're giving a Sony Playstation 3 on which we've installed Linux, and so we can run the Firefox Web browser, which plugs into your TV and now you can not only play games but you can also do word processing from your sofa. And so that's the idea of the conference; it's essentially a large scale, real-time experiment of office productivity in operation, and we're trying very hard to essentially prove that this stuff is working.

KD: That's great. So has the iPhone giveaway been generating a lot of advance buzz for the conference?

IG: Yeah, quite a bit actually, and I think it's only going to grow in the coming days as we get closer to the conference itself. It's a very interesting process where, as people register, we actually buy the iPhone online from the Apple store and we get it shipped to them directly, and so we just sent our first batch of about 100 iPhones yesterday. People are going to install Vista in them, they're going to activate them, they're going to blog about it, and they're going to show up to the conference. There they're going to have quite a bit of a surprise whereby we've developed a set of applications shared for the conference and published it through our diamond console Etelos which has lots of really, really cool applications that it's for. So not only are they going to get the device itself, which is cool, but they're also going to be exposed to some new productivity and collaboration applications.

What's even more intriguing is that we did all that in essentially three weeks. The whole conference itself is organized in less than two months. We just booked the hotel about six months ago but then we did nothing and we did everything at once -- signing up the sponsors, registering the attendees, building the agenda and inviting the speakers -- all in the two months that precede the conference. And we do that for a couple of reasons: one is that the conference is essentially a hobby for myself, so I don't have much time to devote to it. The second thing is that we want to prove that by using these online tools we can actually get more productive, and that actually gets back to the idea that through the iPhones we can do the same for the conference business itself.

KD: Alright, so beside the iPhone, what else is the big buzz for the conference? Do you expect major announcements to be made?

IG: Yes, absolutely. This year we are adding what we call a Launch Pad. That is an event that takes place at the lunch break on the first day, on Thursday September the 6th, where we will have 20 new companies with all new products and services that will be launched at the conference itself. Last year we did that for one company and that was Google. Google at the conference last year launched Google Docs and Spreadsheets, and this year we're kind of putting a whole program around that idea, and that's the Launch Pad and we so far have 20 companies and products that will be launched at the conference. I can't tell you what this is all about; you're going to all discover that at noon on September the 6, but there are some very very interesting applications that will be released -- especially several of them directly working on the iPhone so we're very excited about that.

KD: We have time for one last question. What do you foresee for the future of Office 2.0? Where do you see it going over the next year or two?

IG: I have no idea, and that's really why we organize this conference. We want to gather about 500 people around the world and they're coming from about 20 countries this year. We want to gather about 500 visionaries and thought leaders and experts in the field to tell us what the future is going to look like, so I'll be able to answer that question on September the 8th just after hte conference, when I will have seen for myself what those guys are working on. You see during the conference a lot of products and services that are not yet released on the market and some that will be launched during the conference and some that people are still working on and essentially pre-announcing at the conference. So the future is going to be previewed in a couple of weeks in San Francisco.

KD: It'll be really interesting to see what comes of that. So we've been talking with Ismael Ghalimi, producer of IT Redux's Office 2.0 Conference coming up in September. Ismael, where can listeners go to learn more about the conference?

IG: They can go on the website which is o2con.com, or they can type office 2.0 in Google and they'll get there.

KD: Alright, that's about all the time we have, so I wanted to say thanks to Ismael Ghalimi for joining us today for this podcast and best wishes for a great Office 2.0 Conference. Remember, for more blogs, white papers, articles, news, and more, the URL as always is www.ebizq.net. Thanks for listening and have a great day!

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