When it comes to conferences, Dreamforce, hosted by Salesforce, is the granddaddy of them all. Referred to by some as “The Super Bowl of software”, Dreamforce was held in San Francisco last week, hosting an estimated 150,000 attendees from 78 countries. This conference takes over most of the city from the restaurants to the hotels – in fact, so many rooms are needed to accommodate all the guests that Salesforce brings in a boat (appropriately named the Dreamboat) to meet the demand. The most exciting part of Dreamforce isn’t all the people or the parties (they are fun, though), but all the amazing ideas coming from over 1,900 sessions, keynotes, and workshops. Here are a few of the key themes and highlights.


Thunder was in the forecast for Dreamforce!

One of the big announcements at this year’s Dreamforce was the announcement of a new cloud from Salesforce, the Salesforce IoT Cloud powered by Thunder. According to Salesforce, the core idea behind the new IoT Cloud is that it will connect all of a company’s data from the Internet of Things (IoT) to the rest of the Salesforce clouds, like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud, resulting in better insights and real-time customer actions.

We’ve seen many announcements from device manufacturers and consumer electronics giants in the world of IoT over the last few years, but this one is particularly interesting. While most IoT announcements talk about the possibilities of connecting consumer devices to each other – an alarm clock to a coffee maker – Salesforce IoT Cloud talks about building an infrastructure to make those experiences possible, and giving organizations a means to interpret all the data created by devices.  

Here’s an example that Salesforce offers to bring this concept to life. Picture a thermostat in a homemade by a company leveraging the Salesforce ecosystem. Salesforce IoT Cloud would connect the data produced by that thermostat to other Salesforce Clouds like Sales Cloud and Service Cloud. This would allow a sales rep to be informed about an upsell opportunity like needing a new filter, or the ability for a service technician to open a new support ticket when it’s time to schedule annual maintenance.

Salesforce points to two things that will allow organizations to leverage all the data being created by computing endpoints. The first is a new point and click UI that will make it easy for anyone to listen to that data and design real-time engagement rules and personalized smart actions. The second is Salesforce Thunder, an event processing engine that takes in and organizes all the data points from the endpoints.

Then lightning rolled in…

There was also lots of talk about the new Salesforce Lightning Experience. The Lightning Experience brings a more streamlined user experience to the Salesforce platform, underpinned by a modern, elegant, and sleek design aesthetic. Third party developers are able to create enterprise applications with the Lightning Experience with the help of a new Lightning Design System (best practices and patterns), Lightning App Builder (drag-and-drop interface) and Lightning Components (off-the-shelf apps and frameworks). While this wasn’t introduced at Dreamforce 2015, we saw a lot more partners showing off apps, Salesforce communities, and components developed with Salesforce Lightning.

In fact, Vidyard introduced two new video lightning components that make it easy to bring video into Salesforce Community, allowing organizations to engage customers, partners, and employees with rich multimedia content.

Because Lightning is so new, Salesforce focused a lot of energy at Dreamforce on helping to train developers on how to build amazing new app experiences. To accomplish this, they launched a new training and education resource center they called Trailhead. There were tons of sessions, certifications, and resources available – they were even giving away free books!

Leadership shined through the entire week.

In addition to very practical take-aways and new tools, Dreamforce 2015 was chalk-full of inspirational sessions from leaders in technology, business, and the arts.

One of the most memorable was a Wednesday keynote from Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. Satya talked about everything from the cultural shift he’s been leading at Microsoft over the last year and a half, and even demoed upcoming products like Katana Analytics and Microsoft Office for iPhone.


A message that resonated with me was when Satya remarked that, “In an era of abundance the one thing that we lack is time.” While he was talking about Microsoft’s mission to help make people and companies more productive, it made me think of the power of video, too.  In an era where B2B buyers’ attention spans are getting shorter, it’s important that we be efficient and convey our message as succinctly as possible. No medium has the power to communicate vast amounts of information as quickly while also connecting with audiences as emotionally as video can.

Another example of leadership demonstrated at Dreamforce were Salesforce’s philanthropic efforts. The Dreamforce Foundation spearheaded a herculean effort to collect one million books for children in need. Salesforce also hosted a concert for all Dreamforce attendees featuring amazing acts like The Killers and the Foo Fighters. Not only was this concert an awesome way to wrap up the event, but it also raised $10 million for UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. Well done, Salesforce!

The week was also scattered with periods of fun!

There was no shortage of amazing sessions, keynotes, and hands-on training seminars – but there was also lot of fun to be had around San Fran. From the Demandbase party at Temple Nightclub where V-Bot got behind the wheels of steel and got the crowd moving, to the Zuroa Block Party where V-Bot cut a rug on the dance floor, the Vidyard team (led by V-Bot) was out in full force!


What were the Dreamforce 2015 moments that most inspired or entertained you? We hope to see you there in 2016!

Jeff Gadway