Photo: Ian Wilkinson presents during Unleash 2016.

Going to Madison, Wis. in the spring has become an annual tradition for me. This May will be my fifth trip to the beautiful city to attend Unleash, the Mediasite User Conference.

If asked why I go to the same conference every year, I would reply that the Unleash conference is different every year, and unlike any other conference I’ve attended.

I have worked with other technology vendors that do not want their customers talking to each other, but Sonic Foundry understands the value of bringing its customers together. At Unleash, Sonic Foundry gives its customers the inside track on spring releases, best practices and everything they need to know for a successful upgrade or expansion. In addition to Unleash, Sonic Foundry organizes regional user group events around the world, and provides a lively online community forum for customers to interact with each other no matter their location or time of day.

Interacting with other Mediasite users and sharing our product requests with company executives is something that is very useful to me. I’ve met people at Unleash that I can call up anytime during the year to ask questions or see how their deployments are going. Plus, being able to make those face-to-face connections during the conference makes the Mediasite Community an even more helpful resource throughout the year.

If you’re new to Unleash, I recommend that you:

  1. Attend the entire conference. Don’t plan to show up late or leave early.
  2. Talk to the Mediasite Gurus. Be sure to take advantage of the access to Mediasite support and engineers at the Guru Counter. You’ll be able to ask questions or troubleshoot face-to-face with your technical support team.
  3. Use the Unleash app. You wouldn’t believe how active people are on the conference app each year. Attendees share pictures, insights from sessions and connect with each other.
  4. Participate in the social events. Don’t hide in your hotel room after the day’s sessions. Go to the after parties, because this is where the best networking happens. Plus, they’re always a ton of fun with lots of good Wisconsin food and drinks.

Unleash 17 - Community AnnounementThe great part about Unleash is all of the sessions are live streamed and available on-demand – with Mediasite, of course. If you can’t make it to Madison, consider buying an Unleash Online pass so you can watch all of the sessions and ask presenters questions in real-time. Even if you do make it, it’s great to know that you’ll still be able to attend events that are scheduled at the same time by attending one in person and watching the other on demand.

I can’t wait to see all of my Unleash friends very soon in Madison May 1-3, and I hope to see you there, too.

Ian Wilkinson is Education/Projects Specialist at Texas Tech University and a Mediasite Community Advisor. Contact him at https://community.sonicfoundry.com/people/IanWilkinson.