Published: 10th Oct 2023

A transatlantic gathering of friends

Highlights from the Umbraco U.S Summit

Matt Sutherland - Head of Technology

Three hot topics from the US Summit:

1. Using AI to increase productivity and efficiency for developers
2. APIs everywhere for everything: how APIs help foster collaboration
3. Using composability to ‘build like you want to build’

The location

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Charlotte Convention Centre, Carolina

The Umbraco US Summit is a jam-packed two-day event that covers three main tracks. The Partner event, the Community event and the Business summit. It’s a chance for Partners and global community members to get together and discuss the full breadth of all things Umbraco.

Set in the beautiful city of Charlotte, North Carolina the summit kicked off with the Community event. In true Umbraco style, one of the first sessions was ‘friend-making’ hosted by the excellent Allen Smith, a Developer Relations Lead in the Umbraco US team. Allen did a great job of making introductions, breaking the ice and encouraging attendees to make some new connections. Fortunately, we have several American friends on the team, which definitely helped Rich and me be part of the winning quiz team. It turns out our knowledge of biscuits and US produce chains is low… and no, that’s not Rich Tea and the like… it’s the sort of biscuits you have with gravy!!

Team true at the Summit

Summit 2

The Community event was brought together under the topic of ‘collaboration’ and was a day full of developers, thought leaders and senior leaders sharing insights on emerging technology, Umbraco and valuable case studies as to how they have helped clients’ businesses. One of the most important takeouts was how Umbraco are able to flex to fit so many different use cases and requirement sets, which offers huge benefits for clients.

It’s that genuine ethos of collaboration that makes the Umbraco Community so impressive, whether it is in the US or around the world, everyone is willing to share their ‘secrets’ and knowledge to empower the wider team to do better.

Key themes & take outs from the summit

Summit 1

Joe Glombek, Umbraco MVP, walked us through how he is using AI tools such as ChatGPT and GitHub Co-Pilot to solve problems with code, a controversial topic of the moment. Joe put forward genuine use cases for AI for coding purposes, explaining how using AI tools isn’t just generating code, but can act as a type of code review too.

In a climate where the narrative maintains that AI will ‘take all our jobs’, Joe’s talk illustrated how when used effectively, these tools can make a workforce more efficient, and reduce the barrier to entry for users to code, a positive step to encouraging talent into the industry.

The theme of using AI to increase productivity was also prevalent in Josh Minthorne’s talk, from Mainline Information Systems, who discussed the impact of Cloud technologies and AI to drive innovation onwards and keep enterprise costs down, a key prediction of the future, as conveyed in the powerful stat from Futurescope below:

“By 2026, 85% of enterprises will combine human expertise with AI, ML, natural language processing (NLP), and pattern recognition to help augment foresight, increasing worker productivity by 25%”

Source IDC FutureScope: Worldwide Artificial intelligence and Automation 2022 Predictions 2021

Summit 4

Lotte Pitcher, an Umbraco and Microsoft MVP, .NET Developer and an active contributor to Umbraco, talked to the community on the topic of contributing to packages. There is a growing list of packages that many sites rely on, and as Umbraco continues to expand its own offering at a pace, it also adds to the demand on package developers to keep up the speed . At true, we have started to use packages such as ‘Contentment’ more frequently, but perhaps a repeat of the true hackathon is required now that we are in Hacktoberfest to support some of our favourite packages.

At the partner event, we heard from the uMarketingSuite announcing their headless API offering which will enable better integration. This update followed the overarching strategies from Umbraco and one of the trends of the summit  - “APIs, APIs everywhere”. The same strategy has led to the recent releases of the ContentDeliveryAPI in Umbraco version 12 and the StoreFrontAPI for Umbraco Commerce.

The Business summit kicked off with an Umbraco video giving testament to the incredible setting of the event, the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The video was full of NASCAR action, fighter jets and an Umbraco-branded NASCAR! Maybe a suggestion for a future sponsorship? We’d love to see it!

Summit 3

Tabitha A Scott, Business Author and Futurist, gave a fantastic talk on burnout and its prevalence within the tech industry, calling out alarming stats including how “$190 Billion spent annually on effects of burnout in the workplace” and “50.5 million workers quit in 2022”. Powerful figures that depict the size of problems and pressures on its employees in the workplace.

Other leading talks discussed the various alternative use cases for ChatGPT, the importance of inclusive design, and how the world of tech can better equip itself to be more human-centric.

We were also honored to speak at the event discussing how better collaboration ‘with’ clients can lead to a more tailored digital experience platform, that is best suited to their needs.

If you’d like to find out more about true’s talk. Drop us a line