A review of Dreamforce 2016 in San Fransisco
Two of the Ribbonfish team had the privilege to visit the glorious city of San Francisco this month for the Dreamforce 2016 show. Whilst it provided an ideal opportunity for sightseeing, the guys also got stuck into one of the world’s most popular conferences, checking out some brilliant speakers, workshops, and exhibitors.
So without further ado, here’s what Chris and Paul got up to.
Just some of our favourite quotes
“Let’s uberise the Salesforce ecosystem” – Tal Frankfurt
“Intelligence is the electricity of out era” – Shubha Nabar
“We no longer refer to ISV as ISV. The new name is App Innovation Partners” – Todd Surdey
If the popularity of Dreamforce was ever in doubt, just take a look at the queues on this first day. Winding their way all around the third floor, the lines of attendees steadily shuffled towards the hall, keen to kick-off the proceedings.
After badge pickup and talks from some of Salesforce’s inspiring business leaders, it was time for some lunch and an afternoon of Dreampitch and keynote speeches.
Dreampitch brought together some inspiring startup businesses built on the Salesforce App Cloud. Each representative had four pressure-filled minutes to convince the judges that their idea was a worthy winner.
Up for grabs was the lion’s share of a $200,000 investment fund, which is split between all three finalists, plus a place in Salesforce’s five-month startup incubator.
The competition had four inspirational judges, all of whom are globally successful entrepreneurs; Mark Cuban, Will. I .Am, Chris Sacca, and Shahrzad Rafati.
The three competing startups were CRM Market, Appinium, and Claire.
CRM Market is a CRM Market is a community marketplace for people and entities to list projects, discover talent, and implement Salesforce solutions.
Appinium is a leading provider of content distribution and tracking solutions on the Salesforce App Cloud, specialising in video.
Claire is an intelligent chatbot that allows retailers to acquire user feedback on products and ads. Built on Heroku, it is designed to revolutionise online surveys and customer interaction.
Tal Frankfurt of CRM Market talked about how the Salesforce ecosystem is exploding, but projects fail due to missing resources. He discussed the gap between professional services and projects, and highlighted CRM Market’s role in solving this problem. The Claire pitch highlighted how 50% of new products fail, portraying better customer interaction as a key element of building a successful product for the long-term. Steve Jacobsen from Appinium talked about next generation analytics, and how combined with AI it can use real-time data in new and exciting ways.
In the end, Claire came out as the deserved winner after a super pitch by Marta Jamrozik and Misha Laskin. We’ll be keeping an eye on their progress over the next year, that’s for sure!
Chris also tested out some apps in the developer area:
This is a solution to our deployment problems. No more manually writing the XML files for the ant scripts – done through ui and available to use either through orgs directly or through our existing git repository. It also has the option for continuous integration that can run tests on a schedule, which is something we initially tried but put on hold.
This has a drag and drop user interface that can be done by admins or end users, freeing up developer time for doing the logic behind the scenes, whilst allowing the client the freedom to design the page how they want.
“I also had a pretty cool demo with a thing called quip. It basically tries to integrate messaging and online documents so teams can collaborate better, able to tag in people, documents, and soon Salesforce records.”
Here are some more notes from Chris Trainor about the week at Dreamforce.
Internet of Things:
This section was for applications in Salesforce that demonstrated the use of the Internet of Things (IOT), making use of real-time data from smart appliances to input data into Salesforce. In one example there was a Lego set of a carpark area, and some trains, which used sensors on the car park places and the train station to be able to tell when the car park was full and when the train was at the platform. By using this data, they could change the delay between the traffic lights changing from red to green. The information was being shown real-time in a report on Salesforce, which visually showed the state of the lego set.
Another booth in that area was an Oculus Rift, where you could do virtual shopping, allowing you to walk around and look at the items before you bought them. The items shown were clothes and accessories, so the visual was important and would allow you to get a sense of if you liked it or not before deciding to add to your cart.
Salesforce DX was a new developer experience which was unveiled at Dreamforce. It is meant to be an alternative for changesets, which is built into the Salesforce experience. You can integrate it with lots of current tools that developers currently use such as Sublime/Atom and source controls such as Git.
There is a new command line interface that can be used to allow developers to create new environments easily, including the new scratch orgs, which are easily deployable with code and metadata and can still be configured like a normal org. This will allow testing of different editions more easily, as you can spin up a new scratch org with the correct data you need to test much quicker than a normal org before Salesforce DX. It also contains the capability of continuous integration and delivery, although it sounds like this is done through third party tools at the moment.
Einstein Field Station
The field station for Einstein included AI components being utilised in Salesforce. There was a station for Einstein, however it did not go into much more detail than what was explained in the keynote. The other booths there were AI apps that were being used in Salesforce. One example was being linked to a webcam, the AI would be able to recognise your face and attempt to tell the emotions being portrayed by your facial expression.
It was surprisingly accurate with its attempts. Another was a Holo lens that was being used on items to provide details of what it saw. This was similar to one of the virtual reality ones that would give the same type of information that was being taken from a Salesforce org , but this was using augmented reality instead of virtual reality.