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Reimagining Linaro Virtual Events

Kristine Dill

In Spring 2020, we planned to host Linaro Connect in Budapest, Hungary but due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we had to cancel our in-person event and thus began our journey with virtual events. We hosted our first online event in March 2020 and have hosted two Linaro Virtual Connect events per year since then. 

Our virtual events have re-created some of the elements from Linaro Connect including low level technical sessions and training for developers, important industry updates and announcements, technology demos, and the opportunity to hear from and network with other software and hardware developers and maintainers. Virtual events have some benefits - low cost, ability to reach a wider audience, free attendance, and a way to continue to provide interesting and informative content to the Arm and Open Source community during the pandemic.  

While there are benefits, virtual events have presented a unique set of challenges. Scheduling speakers from all over the world across multiple time zones, competing with work schedules and time with family and friends, and how to keep attendees engaged and encourage online networking just to name a few. Originally, we tried to recreate the in-person Linaro Connect session model by hosting as many sessions as possible over three days. Now, after two years of virtual events experience we’ve started to re-evaluate this approach. Why do we need to have three tracks over three consecutive days with over seventy sessions covering more than fifteen different topics? It made sense to do this when we had four hundred attendees flying to an event to meet in person, but now that we’re virtual, why not split these days into smaller, more easily digestible and more targeted events? Virtual event fatigue is real, and we have found many people prefer to consume the content in their own time. This tells us that it’s time for a change. 

We still think virtual events are important and we have valuable content and work to deliver to our audience, so we came up with a new plan to combat virtual event difficulties. Starting in December 2021 and continuing through 2022 we will change our virtual events model to include two types of virtual events: Linaro Connect Tech Days and Linaro Connect Tech Webinars. 

Linaro Tech Days are one-day single track events consisting of five to eight sessions focusing on a specific theme. Linaro Tech Webinars are a single session or training (one-two hours). All sessions will still be recorded and posted online after the events. 

Our plans for in-person events in 2022 are still pending while we monitor the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the best parts about Linaro Connect simply cannot be re-created virtually. Chatting with a speaker after their session, ‘hallway’ chats in the corridors, working with other developers face to face in the hacking rooms, having a cup of coffee with a colleague and after hours socializing and dinners. We’ve tried virtual chat rooms, group trivia games, virtual expo halls, etc. and they do not have the same effect as being together in-person.  We will continue to appraise the safety of hosting an event in person and monitor travel restrictions and other factors. All announcements will be made to our Linaro Connect Mailing List (subscribe here) as well as on the website. We hope to host a true Linaro Connect again with all of you soon. 

Until then, here is the current plan for virtual Linaro Tech Days and Linaro Tech Webinars. We will be adding to this list over the coming months. 

Linaro Tech Webinar: LIVE: “Introduction to Eigen” 
by Everton Constantino; Linaro Engineer and Eigen Maintainer
Thursday 9th December, 2021 at 17:00 UTC
Cost: Free

Linaro Tech Webinar: LIVE “Kernel Debug Stories”
by Daniel Thompson Linaro Principal Tech Lead 
-February 8 (English language) 
-February 15 (Mandarin language) 
Cost: Free

Linaro Tech Webinar on Qualcomm Modem/IPA: March 2022
Linaro Tech Day on Core Technologies: March 2022 
Linaro Tech Day on Client Devices: June 2022
Linaro Tech Day on Automotive/IoT/Edge: September 2022

All details for these events and additional events will be available on our Linaro Events Page.