It was all the way back in 2019 that we last posed the question… and asked what we could expect from a UiPath Forward conference.
Back then, we spoke about who or what UiPath is… and we even pasted in a TechTarget definition for Robotic Process Automation (RPA), because some people might need to be told what RPA actually is… well, honestly, can you imagine?
Obviously, during the pandemic (and its still-current later stages) the Computer Weekly Developer Network team has not been able to attend any software conventions of any kind.
Almost first back to the table (Estonia’s digital summit just pipped it), UiPath has done what many other vendors appear to have failed to do and put the entire Covid-safe policy front and centre of its event… so much so that the company is calling it an ‘inside out’ event with many of its elements hosted outdoors in the balmy early fall days of October in Las Vegas.
A quick glance at the UiPath Forward IV website shows a) agenda b) sponsors and c) health & safety… and that approach (may we humbly suggest) is what makes the difference. Other invites with no formalised policy have fallen by the wayside i.e. you might think elbow bumps are silly, but we need to know if that’s the standard.
UiPath doesn’t shun the RPA tag (goodness knows how many companies attempt to shrug off their early core technology associations as they now attempt to call themselves ‘cloud platform’ companies), but it does now refer to itself as an enterprise automation software company.
Billed as a user conference in the first instance (but with C-suite style chunks for those that want it that way) and held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas on Oct. 5-6, 2021, the event will feature more than 90 customer and partner speakers from the public and private sector.
Everyone will be keen to share their automation knowledge, basically.
The company will, logically, also talk roadmap and showcase the UiPath Platform 2021.10 release, which seeks to do much of what we already know from this technology, but also enable software teams to overcome fragmented enterprise IT stacks… including areas where automation can be applied to legacy elements.
For the health, safety and well-being of all participants, UiPath is requiring all Forward IV attendees to attest to their having been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and, for wider reference, the complete health and safety measures are listed here.
The conference will prioritise safety and will limit capacity within different functional areas of the venue, move the experts’ expo and most of the interactive activities outdoors, enforce practical distancing and sanitising measures and adhere to national and local guidelines.
What does an ‘inside-out’ event experience actually mean? UiPath says it will feature purpose-built outdoor sessions, roundtables and activities. Of course it will, this is (will be Vegas), you can order an elephant to your room if needed, how hard can an outdoor poolside seminar be to pull off?
The conference theme is ‘Taking Off’, which is probably appropriately uplifting, but is obviously intended to act as some sort of ‘let’s get your business started with automation’ type vibe.
“Foward IV is a celebration of those making digital transformation a reality through automation. It is tailored to give attendees an experience unlike any other and help them become leading experts in automation strategy and implementation,” said UiPath co-founder and CEO Daniel Dines.
Dines claims that UiPath, its customers and its partners are making advances with applying automation to a huge variety of new use cases. “Together, we are solving problems in fascinating ways,” he added.
Highlights & headliners
The agenda highlights include: CEO Dines’s keynote, UiPath executive VP of products and engineering Ted Kummert, chief product officer Param Kahlon… and (special guest drum roll) Shankar Vedantam, host of the Hidden Brain podcast.
Other highlights include addresses and panels featuring speakers from Accenture, Autodesk, EY, Firstsource, IDC, Palo Alto Networks, PwC and Spotify. There are ‘journey’ sessions to help showcase the full potential of automation from companies including Accenture, Amazon, Anthem, Chevron, Deloitte, Facebook and Uber.
For developers, there are how-to sessions with practical automation guidance from companies who have worked at the coalface with this type of technology.
All in all, UiPath is pressing ahead boldly with what appears to be just about the most comprehensive and exhaustive approach to safety that we have seen. Do RPA software bots have to get vaccinated, wear a facemask and wash their hands too? No, that’s the whole point, automation is a hands-off proposition from the start.