Nov
12
2019

Brilliance was delighted to journey down south to Miami Beach, FL for this year’s Episerver Ascend! Ascend 2019 welcomed marketing and e-commerce professionals of the Episerver community to come together for inspiring sessions and engaging conversations with industry leaders.

We had 16 Brilliance team members pack their warm-weather clothes and participate in three days-worth of learning, networking, and celebrating all things Epi. Brilliance was a sponsor at the conference and our “Brilliance army” took full advantage of learning from the sessions along with greeting clients and visitors at our booth. Our President & CEO Lori McDonald, also an epi EMVP, had the pleasure of speaking during Monday's keynote session - considering out of 30+ people on stage she was one of only 3 women, you better believe we were all cheering on our fearless leader! 

We are grateful for this fantastic event and the opportunity to mingle with our clients from all over the country, technology partners and the wonderful epi staff. Although we all enjoyed ALL of the conference programming (did someone say glowing dancers?), here are some of the Brilliance crew’s favorite sessions:

Drew Douglas, Lead Developer

Favorite Session(s): Customer Story: Co-shopping Experiences - Vattenfall

Speaker: Khurram Khan, EMVP & Wessel Tepstra, EMVP

Episerver Commerce and SignalR Core together can provide real-time synchronization of two shoppers' web browsers, to create a single collaborative shopping session. This is close to the real-time shopping experience of a family or friends in a supermarket. Shoppers could shop together in a joint session, Share products and add into the basket. Shoppers can split payments for their items in the basket also. The site will be recommending products based on the chat between shoppers.

Why: Showed a great demo of customer-invited chat + suggestions on chat content + shared cart. Used SignalR for chat, azure cognitive services for chat analysis, and Epi Find for product suggestions.

 

Favorite Session(s): Extending Episerver's content delivery API

Speaker: Alf Nilsson, EMVP

Learn how to tweak and extend the Content Delivery API to customize your own needs.

Why: Showed straightforward ways of customizing and securing the content API to deliver content for apps or kiosks while still serving on your website.

Becky Sappington, Director of Project Management

Favorite Session: A Deep Dive Into Episerver Personalization Algorithms

Speaker: Ed Kennedy, Sr. Director Commerce, Episerver. 

Website personalization is nothing new for Episerver, but the addition of Artificial Intelligence using machine learning algorithms has drastically changed what content and products customers see on your website. It has also elevated marketers and merchandizers from “rule-builders” to “analyst”. A new understanding and skill set is needed.

This session provided the best explanation of it we’ve heard to date and led to good conversations with our customers. 

Steve Caponetto, Developer

Favorite Session: The Future Might Be Distributed

Speaker: Deane Barker, Senior Director, Content Management Strategy, Episerver

After hearing Deane at the morning keynote, I was thoroughly impressed with his speaking and presentation skills. Because of that, I decided to attend his afternoon session. In this talk, he discussed how the future of content management systems may not be a single system but instead be a platform that gathers content from multiple distributed systems, combines them into the full content set and renders them to the user.

Kim Schoeneck, Business Analyst

Favorite Session: Customer Story: Co-shopping Experiences - Vattenfall

My favorite Ascend session was “Customer story: Co-shopping Experiences” by Khurram Khan and Wessel Tepestra. They showed how shoppers could shop together in a joint session, share products and add them to their basket, and even split payments for those items.  They also demo’d an online chat feature where the chat would automatically recommend products (along with photos of them) to the customer based on what they were asking for.  I use those online chat features a lot and have never seen that so I thought it was really cool!

Mike Clausing, Developer

Favorite Session: Episerver driven by AI: Autonomous content creation and auditing

Speaker: Patrick Van Kleef & Brian Weeteling, GETA

In this presentation, Patrick and Brian used GPT-2 to generate text, cognitive services to understand the generated text, find matching assets and moderate AI-generated content. While I’m not positive the content created by the AI in the demo was completely useful, the thought process of using AI, and additional APIs to assist in content creation/moderation made me think through a number of addons/extensions/features we could create for our clients.

Kayleigh Tick, UI/UX Designer

Favorite Session: Customer Story: Co-shopping Experiences - Vattenfall

I thought it was really interesting to see a working demo set up for co-shopping. It sounds like an interesting and unique way to connect visitors on your site and enable them to shop together even when they are apart. I could see this being used in a variety of ways and it led to an interesting discussion with other members of our team.

Irene Cardozo, Marketing Coordinator

Favorite Session: Metrics, Metrics, Metrics: what, why, and how to measure content effectiveness

Speaker: Anjali Yakkundi, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Aprimo

Marketers today focus content metrics on reach: how many people viewed, read, or clicked on a piece of content. Reach, however, is just one part of measuring content effectiveness. This session did a fantastic job of covering how marketers today can more effectively create, manage, and deliver content into the market and measure holistic content ROI. Some metrics to consider include internal consumption, content creation, content cost, and agency investment.