Neil Lewis

Never volunteer for anything! - Part 2

Blog Post created by Neil Lewis Employee on May 18, 2017


You’ll recall from my last blog I volunteered for to give a presentation to an organisation in London and I found myself having signed up to deliver an evening lecture to the Institute of Engineering and Technology on the subject of cloud. I had managed to pull some material together and coerce a colleague into sharing some of the load by applying an equal degree of vagueness in the description!


The Event….

So we had a story, I had a willing partner to help share the challenge, we had overcome the anticipation and were as ready as we could be! The Presentation was polished during the day in between client meetings and we headed to the venue for the evening event.


The building where the lecture was to be given wasn’t intimidating at all, nor was all the signage hanging in the entrance hall in anticipation.





As if the pressure couldn’t have been any greater the venue we were to be using to give our talk was none other than the Alan Turing Lecture Theatre, named after arguably the founding father of modern computing. The registered attendees numbered 100-150, there was to be tea and coffee on arrival followed by a drinks and nibbles reception afterwards with the night concluding around 9PM.




We quickly set up, dumped our bags and then headed to the nearest watering hole for a sherbet and lemonade as a steadier in preparation for the event! On our return we kicked off and we introduced on stage by the event organiser. Surprisingly (for me) the audience seemed to be very aware of Cloud technologies and the Cloud field in general, I was therefore sincerely hoping they would be able to get something out of the event.


Sylvain and I delivered our presentation which was well received. The audience listened intently and made notes. We covered the HEC value proposition, the key differences in Public and Private Cloud and the fact that our HEC solution offers the public cloud consumption experience of self service and pay per use with the security / latency benefits of retaining IT on premise in a clients data centre. We covered our SLA driven approach to selling, our pricing being more competitive than a Public Cloud alternative and having a holistic solution to address a changing market.


Following the presentation, we took some fantastic questions from the audience which were very balanced and somewhat different to what we had heard before due to the diversity of the audience, people were very keen to understand our IoT story as well as our approach to things like machine learning algorithms. The questions would have continued beyond the allowed time however was stopped by the organisers to allow us to retire to the drinks reception.


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The aftermath……


Now the event was over we could relax and managed to meet many of the members and people from the audience. The feedback was good and they enjoyed the lively debate, some areas of particular interest were what our views were on edge based data analytics and machine learning integration with Cloud IT. I found these discussions to be very enlightening hearing opinions on the industry from outsiders who have a different (and often very well informed) perspective on what we are doing.


I managed to team up with a small group including a Dutchman involved in 3D printing of industrial wind turbine blades (who kindly liberated a bottle of wine for us from the main table) and a retired gentleman who was very well read on the subjects of cloud computing following a 60 year career in IT. I avoided the fact that I was born half way through his career but I think I got away with it.


In conclusion…..

Although I started this as a “never volunteer for anything” that’s not how I look back on the experience, often we choose to do things squarely inside our comfort zone however its very fulfilling to step outside this now and again. We also tend to stick to the circles socially and professionally of our peers or customers looking to buy what we have to offer. I found it particularly enlightening to hear the opinions of people with a really diverse set of backgrounds which I would never come into contact with ordinarily. So I’d say in conclusion take the time to do things you wouldn’t ordinarily do and hear from people you wouldn’t expect to ordinarily speak to – you’ll be pleased you did.




IET Blog of the event

Presentation Slides


Neil Lewis

With memories of Sapper Featherstone, British Army - Royal Engineers circa 1946