Here at Centric, we love technology and innovation. At CampIO, we get to flex our inventive muscles and showcase our best and most creative ideas. Here’s a look back at CampIO 2021.
How do apps trick us into doing things we didn’t mean to do? How is weightlifting like software delivery? How might virtual reality help Centric employees?
These are just a few of the questions answered at this year’s CampIO, Centric’s annual get-together for technologists and anyone passionate about tech.
“The best business outcomes happen when account managers and partners attend, but anyone can be a part of CampIO,” said Principal Architect and CampIO organizer Shawn Wallace. “You never know when someone will see a new technological approach that they can use to solve their client’s problem.”
In fact, over the years, CampIO has debuted more than a dozen technologies, many of which became offerings for Centric clients. Some of them are now everyday terms at Centric.
“Blockchain, machine learning (ML), Cloud and Ruby are some things that employees first experienced at Camp IO,” Shawn said. “Even some of the more fun things — like software that helps you have a better beer-drinking experience, or a robot that can shoot paintballs at deer in your back yard — actually have business applications.”
National Technical Service Line Lead Mike Brannan and two former Centric employees started CampIO in 2010. Traditionally, it takes place the day before the Centric Summer Meeting. But like everything else, the pandemic forced the CampIO team to be agile and adjust their routine. For the past two years, CampIO has been virtual.
“CampIO is one of my favorite days of the Centric year,” said Principal Architect and 2021 CampIO host Eric Galluzzo. “Centric loves to invest in its people and its culture, and CampIO is a fantastic way of doing that. We want to keep making CampIO bigger and better, and we want to try new things.”
CampIO’s quest for innovation, learning, interaction, and practice for presenters continued unabated in 2020 and 2021, even if the format changed.
“I wish we were there in person, but Microsoft Teams allowed us to pivot quickly,” Shawn said. “We used Teams to reach out to people for abstracts for the CampIO Planning Committee to consider. And because we weren’t as limited for space, we didn’t have to turn anyone away who wanted to be there in person.”
Erynn Truex, Centric’s Learning Manager and a former member of the Columbus operating group, adds that the virtual format has other advantages, too. She has served as the producer for CampIO for the past several years, doing all the backstage work necessary to make it go smoothly.
“One benefit was the ability to record the talks and put them out there on [our learning platform] for everyone to experience at their leisure,” Erynn said. “We also have transcripts now, and the chat that runs alongside the meeting provides opportunities for participants to exchange ideas and have some fun.”
Eric, a CampIO veteran, won the award for Best CampIO Presentation each year from 2014-15. His winning entries alone demonstrate the breadth and tone of CampIO: From his 2014 presentation that led to Centric’s first hackathons to “5 ½ Types of Developers” and “Teach Your Computer to Think in 100,000 Easy Steps,” they show that CampIO is equal parts technology and fun.
This year, two presenters shared the Best Presentation honors. Architect Jim Holmes won for his presentation on “Odd Parallels between Weightlifting and Software Delivery.” It’s one that anyone could appreciate. For the more technical folks, Principal Architect Donnie Kerr showed how he uses technologies such as Microsoft HoloLens 2, Azure, Amazon Alexa and Litmus Edge VM to explore “Digital Experiences at the Edge.”
But whether for general or technical audiences, CampIO’s message is the same. “If you just graduated from college or have been at Centric for 30 years, you can change how Centric embraces tech by speaking at CampIO,” Eric said.
“CampIO helps us deliver unmatched experiences for our clients and each other, which makes Centric’s technology community more valuable to the company,” explained Shawn. “We are a relatively small group within Centric, and we have a different way of presenting and understanding information. This is the only time of the year we can get together with ourselves and other employees to geek out over stuff other people interested in technology will geek out over.”
And for Erynn, CampIO has lasting value for Centric’s customers, too.
“CampIO is irreplaceable in the fabric of our culture,” she said. “Anyone can be a part of it, and it might lead to a client engagement that lasts for six months or six years. Every year we are amazed at what comes out of CampIO!”