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Alfresco Summit 2013 preview: 5 things you can't miss

Running from 4-7 November in Barcelona, the European leg of Alfresco Summit 2013 is now upon us, and the event is shaping up to be one of the highlights of the technology calendar.

The enterprise content management and open-source collaboration specialist's annual user and developer conference, Alfresco Summit features a jam-packed schedule, including a number of "rockstar" keynotes," plus more than 80 breakout sessions, panel discussions, a hackathon, myriad training opportunities for the user community, and of course plenty of time to munch on tapas and network in sunny Spain.

ITProPortal has landed in Barcelona for Alfresco Summit, and ahead of the big show, we've duly previewed a few of the can't miss sessions at this year's event. Without further ado, let's take a look at some of the highlights of the week ahead.

Jimmy Wales: opening keynote

Getting things underway in earnest on Tuesday, 5 October, Wikipedia founder and all-around industry luminary Jimmy Wales will send Alfresco Summit 2013 into orbit in style. Wales' keynote is expected to address how open-source, open-content technology is changing the Internet - and how businesses must adapt in the face of these rapidly evolving technologies.

The Wikipedia model combines inclusive contribution with robust quality control in a way that is becoming increasingly necessary in the digital world, and we can't wait to hear Jimmy draw on his experience in the content industry and Wiki's monumental success.

Day Zero hackathon

Monday, 4 October is 'Day Zero' at Alfresco Summit - an optional day of training, partner activities and a good old fashioned hackathon. Those of us touching down early will definitely want to check out all that Day Zero has to offer, and the all-day collaborative coding shindig may well prove the highlight. The goal is for each team to produce a new open source project (or improve on an existing one) by the end of play, and we're excited to see what Alfresco's talented network of developers come up with over in Spain.

John Newton keynote address

Ahead of this week's Barcelona Summit, we caught with Alfresco CTO and founder John Newton in Dublin. Sidling on down to Spain, John will deliver a keynote address rounding out day one of the Summit (5 November), exploring where the content industry is heading and how Alfresco is positioned to address the digital world of tomorrow.

"Smart software should be able to deal with the fact that there's a huge amount of information. The whole notion of what a record is has to be redefined," he told us by way of a teaser.

He added: "[The Summit] is our opportunity to say where we're going. [and] what's next. We're going to talk about the stuff that's obvious, but also give a glimpse at what we're going to be doing in the future. The concept that's extremely important is the notion of context. That's what makes Alfresco different – the ability to manage context." We can't wait to hear John expand further on his ideas further this week.

Lightning talks

Alfresco Summit dedicates a special session each day to lightning talks - 16.10 on Tuesday (5 November, all times CET), 16.50 on Wednesday, and 10.50 on Thursday - which are fun, fast-paced discussions we're sure will provide some major talking points down in Barcelona this year. The presentations are strictly limited to five minutes and delivered 'Ignite-style,' so speakers also have to contend with auto-advancing slides as well as the overall time limit. Presentations will be targeted at Alfresco's core business audience, with some of the throw-downs including: "From community to enterprise - Stepping stones in business development" and "From 500 metres of paper files to digital collaboration."

Simon Wardley & Alfresco product demos

Wednesday at Alfresco Summit (6 November) kicks off with a double-whammy of intrigue. First, CSC Leading Edge Forum research guru Simon Wardley takes the stage to deliver the day's opening keynote, entitled: "Situation normal, everything must change." The talk will explore the nature of economic and technological change, looking at how new cycles and forms of organisation are impacting contemporary businesses - and how they can potentially exploit new knowledge mechanisms to their advantage.

Following straight on, Alfresco is staging a major product demonstration keynote, which promises to be a whirlwind tour of what's new from Alfresco and, hopefully, exciting new details from the company.

The latest version of Alfresco One, Hybrid ECM, Records Management, Mobile and Cloud are already confirmed to be among the products featured in the session, and we also understand that a slight detour into future roadmap territory could be on the cards as well.

ITProPortal will be running live coverage of Alfresco Summit 2013: Barcelona throughout the week, so stay tuned for a link to all the action as it happens!