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Looking Forward: COMMON Europe Congress 2022

How you can refresh your Power Systems IBM i, AIX and Linux skills at COMMON Europe, and a reflection on the return of face-to-face conferences

COMMON Europe, in its 60th Diamond Jubilee year, and COMMON Iberia are proud to organize our annual congress in the beautiful city of Alicante from June 13 to 16. You’ll be able to network with industry experts, learn about the latest IBM technology and explore all that Alicante has to offer.

COMMON Europe Congress Highlights 

At COMMON Europe Congress (CEC), attendees can expect to:
  • Get the latest information and training from the experts who built the IBM marketplace and cutting-edge technologies
  • Network with other professionals from Europe at the welcome party, the expo reception, the Congress dinner or between sessions
  • Enjoy Alicante—known to be one of the sunniest cities in the world—the unique hotel near the sea, delicious food and a welcoming atmosphere
Other highlights include:

Nine in-depth workshops and more than 100 education sessions on topics like:
  • Application development
  • Open source
  • System management
  • Database and SQL
  • AIX and Linux
  • Personal development
  • Trends
  • Security
Learn about IBM i 7.5 from the very business architects who developed it based on feedback from the community.

Hear from thought leaders during IBM keynotes, including:
  • Steve Sibley, vice president IBM Power Systems offering management, USA
  • Sylvia Scheerova, director, IBM EMEA Cognitive Systems
  • Thomas Harrer, chief technology officer, IBM, EMEA
Attend roundtable discussions to get advice from your colleagues and learn how to solve common challenges.
 
Participate in one-on-one meetings with business architects from Rochester labs and other industry experts.

Join us at the 60th anniversary congress dinner, a Spanish Night, which will feature a Flamenco troupe, fireworks and live entertainment.
 
Participate in IT Manager’s Day on June 14: For the third year, IT Manager’s Day will feature group discussions with IBM Executives about solutions for modernization, staff replacement and skills, attracting and training young talent, digital transformation, open source, and other executive concerns.
Network with peers and IBM executives and business architects at the welcome party and the group dinner. Space for these events is limited!

Participate in ISV Day on June 15: New this year, the Independent Software Vendor Day will offer open discussions with IBM executives and peers. ISVs, BPs, consultants and other channel partners can network with each other and meet customers.

Visit the Solution Providers Center: CEC 2022 is proud to showcase IT solutions, services and products in our Solution Providers Center, open on Monday evening during the welcome party and all day Tuesday and Wednesday. Visit top technology companies from across the world specializing in Power Systems and IBM i.

Meet your future colleagues: Around 20 graduating students from all over Europe are selected by their professors to attend the Congress every year. Meet this brilliant and dynamic group that’s bringing new ideas to the tech world. 

Attendee Reactions 

New attendees have enjoyed exploring the wide variety of discussion topics and networking with peers with similar interests. Our excellent event managers take care of all the details for you to ensure a top-class experience.
 
After a lack of face-to-face events due to the pandemic, people are eager to return in-person meetings—that was clear at our Copenhagen Congress in 2021. Although the attendance was lower than usual, the joy of seeing people in person was evident through the big smiles and happy greetings. We are seeing even more enthusiasm for Alicante and we expect to exceed our usual numbers.
 
Speakers teach better face-to-face—seeing the body language of the attendees, reading their expressions and elaborating specific points. Plus, making relationships is another valuable takeaway of the Congress. The learning doesn’t stop after the sessions; it continues in the hallways, during lunches, coffee breaks and drinks. We always have a free evening, and some user groups organize dinners for attendees from their country. Last year, participants appreciated the Congress dinner, which will happen again this year in tandem with COMMON Europe’s 60th anniversary celebrations. There will be fireworks to end the dinner.
 
Another challenge we faced was venue- and site-related. Due to capacity limitations at the hotel (as our chosen hotel is now fully booked) guests are welcome to stay at two other quality hotels and apartments very near the venue.

Student Input on Conferences 

Cyrille Mathieu, HOWEST University of Applied Sciences

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“The 60th anniversary of CEC is taking place in Alicante this year from June 13–16, and I'm already full of excitement for my second CEC experience!
 
In November 2021 I attended CEC in Copenhagen with five other students from HOWEST University.
 
I’m excited to be invited for a second time this year. A nice bonus is that Bo, a fellow student of mine, is also attending CEC for the second time.
 
COMMON Europe asked me what I learn at these conferences and how the experience differs the classroom.
Here’s how:
 
First, we are strongly encouraged by our university to attend conferences and grow our network. As a student myself, I'd like to start working as soon as I can after graduation. Participating in conferences like these allows me to cultivate and grow my network and maximize my chances of finding a job. A conference like CEC is the perfect opportunity to grow an international network. Who knows when it might come in handy to know people abroad, be it for a (future) career or even just friendship and leisure?
 
Second, no amount of theoretical knowledge about interacting with people will prepare you for talking to and working with professionals. I remember attending my first IT security conference in October 2021 and being a bit nervous to talk to everyone. "Just talking to people" is not as easy as it sounds on paper, and for me, conferences offer the perfect opportunity to gain experience for the future. Another important aspect for me is that English is not the primary language of many participants, especially here in Europe. Conferences offer a way to learn cultural differences and overcome language barriers.
 
Finally, IT conferences like these provide a way to stay up to date with the latest IT developments. As a student, conferences supplement my coursework. There aren’t many courses about IBM technology, but IBM tech is everywhere. CEC gives me a look behind the curtain where IBM tech is responsible for operating most of today's infrastructure.”
 
Bo Robbrecht, Student, Howest University of Applied Sciences
 
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“Within our school environment, we do not have a lot of interaction with IBM and its solutions, even if they're used all round the world.
 
On CEC, I'm able to see these things in action and have a first-hand experience, not only with familiar technologies, but also brand new technologies I've never heard of!
 
From using open-source technologies to exploring new technologies, such RPG and AIX, CEC has it all!”

Preparing for CEC 2022 

With just over a month until the conference, we're starting to book our trip to (hopefully sunny) Alicante and arrange our stay. We’re particularly looking forward to the keynotes and presentations on IBM i, AIX, Linux and security. We’re looking forward to meeting new people and expanding our knowledge about IBM technology!
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