Tickets for the inaugural Thingscamp are now available, so now’s a good time to share a few more details about what it is. There’s been quite a lot of interest already, which is great.
Firstly, it’s an unconference that focuses on the Internet of Things. What happens at an unconference is that all (well, most) of the attendees come with ideas for sessions they want to be in and at the beginning of the day everyone pitches a session, with everyone else putting up their hands if that session topic interests them. In this way it’s worked out if there are overlaps (usually a fair few), and how big a room you need for each topic. A session grid is then created. For example, at the last Govcamp (an unconference for the UK public sector) it looked like this:
(original source: Florian Rathgeber on Twitter)
With a standard conference you get a clever person stand at the front and tell you what they know, and everyone nods and writes things down. With an unconference, there’s not usually a plenary session, just a series of breakout sessions with topics selected by the attendees. I mention this, however, because we aren’t (quite) doing that; we aren’t in the game of getting everyone to come to Plymouth to talk about things, regardless of how awesome the attendee list is.
So what’s different? Well, firstly you can see from the session grid image above that each session is roughly an hour or so. We expect the sessions at ThingsCamp to be longer. Secondly, at most unconferences people talk in the sessions, or they talk on the first day and do some hacking on the second. At ThingsCamp we expect a short section of lightning talks so people can familiarise themselves with the concepts, then longer, hands-on sessions for people to familiarise themselves with lots of interesting hardware.
And this touches on the main thing about ThingsCamp, which is that it’s trying to bridge the gap between people with knowledge and people without. It’s not just a hack (unless you want to hack). We want and expect people to bring what they have, and if that is just curiosity then that’s all we need.