It is an honor to say that last week’s annual User Conference was by far the best one yet! I am ecstatic to say we hit our attendance record of 168 customers and business partners—34 more than last year! We had attendance from 8 different countries—France, Australia, Lebanon, China, Spain, Iceland, Canada, and the United States. This was my 4th User Conference and every year I see it continually grow both in size and what we have to offer.
On Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the conference we had 2 full days of optional training our attendees could sign-up for which will allow them to take better advantage of FM:Interact and enhance their knowledge of the software. Within weeks of the registration form being live we had to open up an additional track to accommodate the amount of people who were interested in these training classes. Dell was a conference sponsor and provided us with loaner computers so we could offer training at the conference hotel. It is a huge bonus to be able to offer training at the hotel so we don’t have to bus people to and from the training center like we did in previous years.
On Wednesday our BIM FM Consortium group met face-to-face to discuss guidelines that can help guide the facilities management profession from theory to practice in the use of BIM for the building lifecycle. We also had a Business Partner meeting where our partners were able to have lunch with our executives and attend technical sessions on new FM:Systems products and ways to maximize the business partner program.
Wednesday night things kicked off with a Welcome Reception sponsored by AMS CAD + CAFM Solutions, Al Keith & Associates, Autodesk, CADD Microsystems, Dell, Little, and RSP i_SPACE where we had drinks and hor’d oeuvres. It is nice to see familiar faces and meet those who are either new customers or haven’t been to our conference in the past.
Our theme of the conference was, “People, Place, and Progress” and we had a great keynote by our CEO and Founder, Michael Schley, who talked about trends in our industry. It was followed by a, “What’s New in FM:Interact 8.4” session that featured our new Room Scheduling capability in our Space Reservation module, multi-edit functionality, a brand new feature that no one outside of FM:Systems has seem, Graphic Theming, the Autodesk A360 3D viewer, and our Workplace Survey Application (WSA) tool.
After a day filled with presentations, we had we able to have a nice networking dinner at the NC Museum of History. We had cocktail hour on the top floor where we were able to walk through exhibits and then had a plated dinner by a local catering company in North Carolina.
Not only did we have 2 full days of top-of-the-line presentations, but we also had several other events our attendees could take part in including usability testing, one-on-one sessions with our consultants, and a networking breakfast both for our alternative workplace strategy special interest group and our higher education attendees. For the first time ever we had a third track that was created specifically for our higher education customers to allow them to network with other users of FM:Interact and network with other users in their industry and that could help them learn how to better utilize the products they use every day.
I am already looking forward (and have already started planning) to the 2016 User Conference and all that is to come throughout the next year! We have the date set, May 4th-6th in Raleigh, North Carolina. I hope to see you there!