Open Thread - LDSTech 2014 - observations from attendees

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Open Thread - LDSTech 2014 - observations from attendees


Post by johnshaw »

I attended the Tech Conference for the first time this year - it was a bit more convenient for me after moving back to Utah in the summer.

I enjoyed that many of the groups represented gave some 'coming soon' types of presentations. I enjoyed the new architecture of the Webcasting solution and with my own recent work with the Microsoft Cloud I was excited to see a geographically-dispersed, and dynamically robust solution (both in infrastructure and streaming options). The presentation on the new website was also great, including an overview of the new Gospel Topics area. The marketing and branding of the different properties as well seems to be turning out great. Calendaring and Mapping apps were well represented as well. The most exciting presentation was, but second to that, for me, was the new LCR and finally seeing the bulk of the MLS tools online.

There were some Glaring omissions from the conference that disappointed me as well. If we are going to hold a conference like this I can't see how you leave out items like the development on the NOTES section, the NEWSLETTER section and the Lesson Scheduler. Also, where was the presentation on the new Teaching App, and the Media Streaming service of distributing videos in meetinghouses for use in Come Follow Me, and the Teaching App?

The keynote on Thursday was enlightening in so many ways (if your not too inclined to understand how a global organization is forced to work) and it was a bit condescending in others. We continued to here from the ICS teams that we just don't understand how hard it is to do the work that they do. They often seem to 'teach' us how much we just don't get it, rather than just engage (many of us also work in IT in global organizations or were on Missions and get it).

OK, so now we know that the global church drives many decisions we make. What does that mean to us. Why allow Stake Presidents, Bishops, STS to continue to critique, question or wonder why you're doing what you're doing, rather, tell us WHAT you are doing with the big information:
As an example I'd love to see things like:

Here is our approach based on the geographic needs of members of the global church
  • We will design with as much pictures as text. Because of literacy issues we are designing all apps to have similar iconography that allows even the illiterate to get to pictures, videos, etc..
  • We build and prefer Responsive Design on Web pages for access to leader tools (we don't do apps here)
  • We build and prefer mobile apps for tools meant for the general membership (and keep leadership and membership apps/sites/tools separated)
  • We don't want to store data on our servers so we keep the newsletter app minimal and hope that members will continue to use paper tools or violate policies by doing their own thing :)
  • We prefer IOS development over Android because.....{insert the reason here}
Now, I just made up this list, but if the ICS group were to give us the same direction they give the members of the ICS teams, then we can go back and educate Stake Presidents, Bishops, stake and ward leaders what the direction is. It can help them make purchases, people in the church can make better personal decision around their callings and the tools they employ, etc...Again, STS, laeders can be your advocates, proactively helping other see the benefits, rather than being your critics. I've heard more negative information about the tools and apps that easily can be fixed with information.

I'd also like to see some things happen, as growth makes this a larger and larger event that we find a way to create some kind of 'tracks' - If you are a member, here is your track, a clerk, here is your track, if you are an STS, here is your track... SP/Bishoprics/High Council/Stake Leaders over technology, here is a track for you (privacy and data concerns, budgeting dos and donts, social media use in ecclesiastical roles). If we develop it each year for this conference the videos/presentations can be used all year to train those new in their callings, then as data is updated for the next year's presentation it can be cycled into the training cyclically. A similar approach could be made to the members of the church and how they use the online tools they have access to. In addition to the technical detail on the calendar, why not develop, for the conference, a 30 minute training video on how to use the tool, create and update that training material each year and now we have ongoing training and education of those in callings and members utilizing the tools.

Now that I live here, I'd even volunteer to help for next year.

Anyone else, comments on the conference???
“A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.”
― Thomas Paine, Common Sense
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Re: Open Thread - LDSTech 2014 - observations from attendees


Post by russellhltn »

I'm still waiting for the video to become available. I'd love to attend in person, but it's probably several hundred dollars once all the costs are factored in. And I'm not sure I could get time off as Oct 15th is the annual "go live" date for a major medical insurance process I oversee.
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