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Solid 2014 Call for Participation

Call closed 11:59pm December 9, 2013 PST.

Speak at Solid

O’Reilly Solid is a new conference about the intersection of software and the physical world: reaching beyond the computer screen with sensors, controllers, and networked devices to make the world more efficient, more adaptive, and more inclusive. We’re bringing together innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, engineers, and managers from both the tech world and heavy industry to explore and start to define the shape of this new world.

There’s no easy way to describe what’s emerging—terms such as “the programmable world” or “the Internet of things” capture aspects of it, but not the entirety. Whatever the label, these software-enhanced, networked "things"—machines, objects, components—are rapidly becoming real.

For the inaugural Solid, we’re looking for speakers who can help describe “fluidware” and share stories of how it’s playing out. We want to hear about industries that are instrumenting their machines and controlling them in new ways, software that’s jumped beyond the computer screen, new ways of building hardware that make manufacturing accessible and responsive, and networks that have come to encompass the simple devices we once took for granted.

Solid isn’t a conventional technical conference, though it has deep technical foundations. Talks and demonstrations should be accessible to a broad audience drawn from software, manufacturing, hardware design, and heavy industry, and should speak to the promises and challenges of bringing software and the physical world together. How is the emergence of fluidware disrupting your business model? What tools are you using to instrument your machines? What ambient data have you discovered in the physical world? What new ways have you found for interacting with your users through the built environment?

A few ideas are below, but feel free to go beyond them. Take a look at our Program Committee to get a sense of the kind of work we’re interested in. We’re particularly interested in presentations that include a demonstration, but all interesting ideas, presented in interesting ways, are welcome.

If you are a student or independent innovator working on projects within the scope of Solid, read about the Solid Fellows Program to participate at the event.

Suggested Topics

Session proposals are invited on, but not limited to, the following topics.

Both the causes and effects of the programmable world

  • Crowd funding
  • Venture funding
  • Accelerators
  • Industry trends
  • How to keep innovation happening in big business
  • Intellectual property: open vs proprietary, east vs west
  • Protecting intellectual property
  • Managing for security
  • Creating feedback loops that work

Building / Manufacturing

  • Asian manufacturing ecosystems
  • Where to build: domestic or foreign?
  • Logistics
  • Scaling
  • How factories work
  • How manufacturing processes work
  • Prototyping
  • Democratization of hardware
  • Pitfalls between prototype and production

The stuff that makes devices work—the backend stuff

  • Sensors
  • Embedded devices
  • Wearable technology
  • Robotics
  • Cutting-edge academic research that’s about to become real
  • Wireless protocols and standards
  • Tools for connecting machines to the cloud
  • Software that can handle machine data
  • Connecting to the physical world via bioengineering
  • Emerging platforms and techniques for prototyping and fabrication that support highly-customizable hardware design
  • Networked intelligence
  • The challenges of dealing with the physical world, and solutions that come from electrical engineering, like passive electronics and analog computation
  • New models for maintaining security/designing with security in mind

Encapsulating the technology; making the technology accessible to people through a device

  • User interfaces that go beyond computer screens
  • Industrial design
  • Design for manufacturing
  • Prototyping tools, processes, and methods
  • Device design case studies
  • Tools and workflows for product development
  • Open hardware
  • Designing both hardware and software for seamless integration
  • Building hardware with software in mind
  • Hardware is easy
  • Hardware is hard
  • Design at the edge
  • Connecting to the physical world for good

Required Information

  • Proposed title
  • Overview and extended descriptions of the presentation: main idea, subtopics, conclusion
  • Session Type
  • Speaker(s): expertise and summary biography

Helpful Resources for Proposals

Tips for Submitting a Proposal

  • Be authentic. Your peers need original ideas in real-world scenarios, relevant examples, and knowledge transfer.
  • Give your proposal a simple and straightforward title. Clever or inappropriate titles make it harder to figure out what you’re really talking about.
  • Include as much detail about the presentation as possible. Longer talks should provide more details.
  • If you are proposing a panel, tell us who else would be on it.
  • Keep proposals free of marketing and sales.
  • If you are not the speaker, provide the contact information of the person you’re suggesting. We tend to ignore proposals submitted by PR agencies unless we can reach the suggested participant directly. Improve the proposal’s chances of being accepted by working closely with the presenter(s) to write a jargon-free proposal that contains clear value for attendees.
  • Keep the audience in mind: they’re professional, and already pretty smart.
  • Context is important. If your talk is about something truly ground-breaking, it’ll be helpful if you describe it in terms of things that attendees might already know of.
  • Limit the scope: in 40 minutes, you won’t be able to cover Everything about Framework X. Instead, pick a useful aspect, or a particular technique, or walk through a simple program.
  • Explain why people will want to attend: is your topic gaining traction? Is it critical to business? Will attendees learn how to use it, program it, or just what it is?
  • Repeated talks from the conference circuit are less likely to be appealing. If you speak at a lot of events, be sure to note why this presentation is different.
  • Don’t assume that your company’s name buys you credibility. If you’re talking about something important that you have specific knowledge of because of what your company does, spell that out in the description.
  • Indicate in your proposal notes whether you can give all the talks you submitted.
  • Does your presentation have the participation of a woman, person of color, or member of another group often underrepresented at tech conferences? Diversity is one of the factors we seriously consider when reviewing proposals as we seek to broaden our speaker roster.
  • We welcome sessions for attendees with a variety of skill levels. Indicate the experience and knowledge level of the audience that you are targeting: novice, intermediate, or expert.

Important Dates

  • Call for Proposals ends December 9, 2013
  • Proposers notified by December 2013
  • Registration opens December 2013

Code of Conduct

We expect all participants, including speakers, to support our Code of Conduct, the core of which is this: an O’Reilly conference should be a safe and productive environment for everyone. Read more »