Dangerous Demos returning to ClueCon!

Even though ClueCon is looking a little different this year, 2020’s online event will include so much of what makes the conference special – including Dangerous Demos. 

Dangerous Demos are a fast paced show of hacking excellence. Everybody loves to watch demos at tech conferences, but few are brave enough to actually do them. Things can and do go wrong, and who wants to risk it?

Dangerous Demos were started in 2012 by renowned industry veteran James Body, to identify new and emerging technology that can eventually be deployed by carriers and mobile operators. This year’s Dangerous Demos will be a big part of ClueCon Deconstructed on Thursday, August 6th, from 10:00am-11:30am CST. Dangerous Demos came to ClueCon 8 years ago to have developers prove their experience and abilities by pushing the envelope of new ideas in a competitive environment, all based upon open source communications software, including FreeSWITCH. And this year will be no different – developers will still have the opportunity to do so virtually.

On Thursday morning attendees can watch the most dangerous demos, where the danger is part of the fun!  Those who demo have the chance to win one of the highly sought-after Dangerous Demos 3D laser etched trophies. Awards will be offered in several categories, and anyone who can take home a trophy can rightly class themselves as a pioneer of open source and an Original Geek. Even if you don’t want to demo yourself, we need audience members to vote, so you can kick back, relax, and watch some demos crash and burn! James Body himself will be hosting the show.

Developers interested in being part of this year’s Dangerous Demos should apply to be considered by submitting the entry form available here. If you haven’t already signed up for ClueCon Deconstructed and you’re interested in witnessing some demo disasters, register now!

What to expect from ClueCon Deconstructed

Every year, the FreeSWITCH team hosts ClueCon, an awesome developers’ conference in Chicago. Things are looking a little bit different than usual, but 2020 will still have its own version of ClueCon online: ClueCon Deconstructed. It’s free to attend this three-day-long event, and many of the things that make ClueCon special will still happen in this new virtual format, which will be hosted in our very own virtual office space. Whether you’ve attended each year or this is the first time you’re hearing about it, we want to give you an idea of what to expect on August 4th-6th, because so much of what there is to love about ClueCon will still be happening, from insightful presentations and the Coder Games hack-a-thon, to Dangerous Demos and the Gigabit Reception. Not to mention we will still be offering amazing raffle prizes, like the custom engraved MacBook Pro!

The conference will officially be taking place from Tuesday-Thursday, however, on Monday, August 3rd, we will be hosting a pre-conference coffee chat from 10am-12pm CST where the team will be hanging out and answering questions. If you want to meet the team or ask us anything, you should grab a cup of coffee and join us! 

The conference will kick off on Tuesday with a day full of open source workshops you can attend for free. Pick one, a few, or all to attend: SignalWire, Janus, Kamailio, OpenSIPS, and FreeSWITCH. Each workshop will last for about an hour and will be led by industry experts. Of course, the day will include little breaks between each workshop, so if you do want to attend them all, you’ll have plenty of time to recharge. And something extra special will also be taking place overnight during our timezone – a FreeSWITCH workshop will be available at 5 am CST just for the convenience of our attendees on the other side of the world. We have both team members and attendees from all across the globe, and so we’re stepping outside of our timezone to make ClueCon Deconstructed accessible to everyone! You can check out the schedule here.

Then on Wednesday, get ready to game – we’re hosting an online version of our Coder Games hack-a-thon! There are two challenges this year, one more suited to our attendees who want to code and build their way to amazing prizes (like an Oculus Quest and a Nintendo Switch) and one for our puzzle-solvers and riddle-lovers! Our Game Theory Challenge requires you to start working now, so if you’re interested in competing for these prizes, you can read more about the challenge here. At 10am CST on Wednesday, these games will be demo’d for the enjoyment of all attendees. Then at 11am, everyone will break up into teams to participate in the Get a Clue challenge – a virtual version of the classic Clue board game. In this version, Dangerous Demos have been hacked, and you’ll have to figure out which FreeSWITCH team member committed the crime, in what room, and with what weapon! Get more details about Get a Clue here. 

ClueCon always has Dangerous Demos, and ClueCon Deconstructed is no exception. Dangerous Demos are a fast paced show of hacking excellence. Everybody loves to watch demos at tech conferences but few are brave enough to actually do them. Things can and do go wrong and who wants to risk it? On Thursday morning attendees can watch the most dangerous demos, where the danger is part of the fun!  If you’d like to participate, you can fill out a sign up form. Those who demo have the chance to win one of the highly sought-after Dangerous Demos 3D laser etched trophies. Awards will be offered in several categories, and anyone who can take home a trophy can rightly class themselves as a pioneer of open source and an Original Geek. Even if you don’t want to demo yourself, we need audience members to vote, so you can kick back, relax, and watch some demos crash and burn!

The insightful presentations are one of the biggest parts of what make ClueCon so memorable, and we haven’t left those out, either. During the afternoon on Wednesday and Thursday, you can catch a dozen half-hour long speaking sessions from brilliant industry professionals. These speakers will also be around later to answer any questions, hang out and chat! You can read about the 2020 speakers here. From the comfort of your own home you’ll get to witness all kinds of conference-worthy presentations about telephony, WebRTC, VoIP, and more, with built-in breaks throughout the day.

Exciting raffle prizes, including the custom engraved MacBook Pro, will be awarded throughout the week. That’s right – it’s free to attend, AND you’ll be entered to win all kinds of prizes and swag just for showing up. Then after a week full of presentations, demos, coder games, and raffles, we carved out time for networking and fun. The Gigabit Reception is a great way to meet your peers and get to know industry heads in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. On Thursday afternoon, grab a drink or a snack and join us for games, an underground guitar jam session and the highly anticipated ClueCon Karaoke, all in a virtual format! 

If you haven’t already, you should register now! 

Come play a game at ClueCon Deconstructed and win awesome prizes!

Every year at ClueCon, we host the Coder Games – our hack-a-thon. The Coder Games is filled with games and fun for every attendee, included with your ClueCon admission, and ClueCon Deconstructed will be no different. Whether you like to code your way to the prize or are a builder at heart, there is something for everyone. You can work as a team or go solo as you utilize the provided materials to build your creation and win prizes!

Even as we go online for this year’s ClueCon, we are still hosting two Coder Games challenges that will suit any attendee. If you’d rather code and build, you can show off your skills with our Game Theory challenge, where all you have to do is build a simple game that uses SignalWire APIs or connects to SignalWire. Then on August 5th, get ready to demo! If you’re more into puzzles and riddles, you can join us for Get a Clue, which will be an online, ClueCon version of the classic Clue board game. You can work individually or as a team to collect up to 33 clues and figure out who hacked Dangerous Demos, with what weapon, and in what room. You can read more about these two challenges by clicking here.

If you have any questions before or during the Coder Games, the whole team will be around to help. Join the ClueCon team every Friday at 10:00 am CST in the SignalWire Lounge or you can join the Slack channel.  If you need some helpful examples of how to complete the Game Theory challenge, you can have a look here.

August 5th will be a fun, laid back morning where you can hang out, enjoy demos, and exercise your brain’s puzzle-solving abilities. Not to mention, there are some AWESOME prizes for the winners – winning teams of Get a Clue will get limited edition ClueCon Deconstructed swag, and winners of Game Theory will compete to win $500 in SignalWire credit, a Nintendo Switch, or an Oculus Quest! Don’t miss out and sign up by filling out this short survey here.

See you in August!

How the pandemic is changing the future of events

With the highly contagious coronavirus continuing to spread across the world, large events like conferences won’t be the same as we know them for a long while. It’s not difficult to imagine why. Hundreds of people together in close quarters, with not enough space to keep a safe 6 foot distance from one another – these conditions make social distancing impossible. Even if other businesses that are currently closed slowly open back up once the curve is flattened, large scale events probably can’t follow that pattern. Among other big gatherings like sporting events and concerts, it seems likely that conferences will not be returning until it is completely safe to do so.

This isn’t stopping event planners, though. Many conferences are now being moved online, especially tech conferences frequented by professionals who aren’t shy about video-calling their way into networking opportunities. Online events aren’t new, but the phenomenon of large conferences being converted into remote gatherings within a short span of time is pretty specific to the moment we’re living in. For a lot of these events, it’s simply a process of offering recordings of the presentations they would’ve had in person, the breakout sessions and keynotes converted into webinars and some live streamed content. But what about more immersive experiences, conferences or trade shows where you might network, gather leads, exhibit? They aren’t being stopped, either. Some of the most interactive events, such as huge art galleries, are moving online for the duration of the pandemic, too.

Though much of the in person contact will be missed, there are some pros to both hosting and attending an online event. They’re extremely accessible wherever you are, saving time, money and energy spent on traveling. Tickets are reduced price if not free. Even if there’s still a registration cost, you won’t have to pay for hotel rooms, airfare, or other transportation needs like car rentals or taxis. Virtual events are better for the environment – no stacks of paper flyers and name badges and piles of plastic swag. And they’re quite flexible for the audience since you could come and go as your schedule allows. If you want to check out an online event, you’d probably have an easier time getting approval to go than you would for a week-long conference.

So when things go “back to normal,” will virtual conferences go back into hiding in the darkest corners of the internet, or will they stick around? With all the positive aspects of online events, perhaps they can exist alongside in person meetings in harmony. A lot will depend on the attitude at large when people can meet in person again. Will most of us be anxious to get together with others, tired of quarantine and ready to network? Or will we be cautious about gathering in large groups and slow to want to get back into the old way of doing things? 

Pretty much all conferences of any industry are moving online for the first time right now, so event planners are having to find new ways of measuring success. This year is becoming one long trial run for any future virtual gatherings. And there is a new industry boom happening currently: the online event industry. Yes, there are platforms devoted entirely to hosting such things, and they existed before the pandemic erupted in early 2020. As one might expect, their numbers were relatively low. Now they can hardly keep up with increased demand in the tens of thousands on waitlists to use their products. When in person events become possible again, these platforms will still be around to offer their services, so if some conferences find success in the online format, there’s no reason to think they can’t continue virtually.

With all that being said, in person events will not be gone forever. The value of face-to-face contact cannot be understated. The solid combination of body language, facial expressions, and verbal inflection creates such a strong style of communication that can’t be totally replicated virtually. Networking efforts are generally more successful when individuals can exchange looks and handshakes. There are simply more ways to interact with one another in person than online when maintaining those three facets of face-to-face contact. So while attendees are interacting via video chat in large groups, and perhaps individually via chat messaging at the same time, this can’t totally replicate what can be gained from meeting others at a traditional conference. For the duration of the current pandemic, however, the health and safety of everyone has to come first.

If you’d like to experience an online event for yourself, consider joining the FreeSWITCH team at ClueCon Deconstructed, a conference by developers, for developers. This year, ClueCon will be held virtually on August 4-6. It’s free to attend, and we’re making it as interactive as possible – an online version of our Coder Games hack-a-thon, trivia, swag, raffles, networking rooms where you can hang out and chat, on top of a selection of awesome speakers. We’ll certainly be going back to the in person format as soon as we are able, so check out this virtual version of ClueCon while it’s still possible! Click here to register today!

ClueCon Update

As August approaches, it is becoming clear that the health of the world is unlikely to be in a place that will allow ClueCon to go on as planned. We are concerned about the safety of our attendees from all over the world. Like everyone else, we have been waiting patiently and watching the spread of COVID-19, and we have decided it will not be possible for our attendees or us to plan for the event that we know and love. 

With that said, we are going to cancel the in person version of ClueCon in Chicago this August. But we aren’t giving up on meeting with our community and catching up with old friends and making new ones! Instead, we are working hard behind the scenes to offer a free, deconstructed version of ClueCon online. We will strive to offer the elements that make ClueCon, ClueCon: opportunities to connect, industry expert speakers, a version of our Hack-A-Thon, The Coder Games, and of course some swag and prizes. Stay tuned to find out all the details and how you can join us August 4th – 6th online. In the meantime, you can use our intent to sign up link to stay in the know.   

We hope everyone is staying safe and we look forward to the day that we can all get together again!

The ClueCon Family

A whole week of ClueCon!

Right now we’re thinking of the ClueCon family in every corner of the world. We hope you’re taking care of yourselves and that you and your loved ones are doing well. With any luck, you’re enjoying extra time at home – if you don’t already work remotely! The FreeSWITCH team is carrying on the same as ever, working remotely from all over the globe. We will be around if you have any questions about our ClueCon plans, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

We have plenty of activities lined up for August 3rd-6th in Chicago at the beautiful InterContinental Hotel on the Magnificent Mile, the city’s premier commercial district. When you’re not busy with ClueCon, you’ll be able to enjoy a bustling neighborhood filled with upscale shops, historic sights, and tasty restaurants like Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse.

Plan on having a full schedule though, because one ticket will get you access to the ENTIRE conference, including all of the awesome presentations, the Coder Games Hack-A-Thon, and networking events! The speakers are a major highlight of ClueCon, and as an attendee you’ll learn from brilliant professionals about creative problem-solving, demos, and get insights about the future of the industry. You can join us at the Coder Games, and code or build your way to prizes! After days of speakers and presentations, you’ll also have plenty of networking opportunities with great food and drinks – this year’s Gigabit Reception will include board games, hors d’oeuvres, karaoke, and a Mario Kart tournament, just to name a few.

Your registration also includes a ticket for the Wendella Sunset Boat Tour. Wrap up the week and be a part of nature’s nightly celebration to watch the sun slowly set behind the city from the tranquil waters of Lake Michigan on a serene cruise, complemented by wine or cocktails. After a busy week, this is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the city.

Stay safe, and we’ll see you at ClueCon in August!