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Written by David Eagle, FME Division Manager, 1Spatial.

Well, nobody expected this – ‘lock down’, confined to our homes, visiting the outside world only for essential activities, food and exercise. As you are acutely aware already, rather a lot has changed in the last couple of months and as such, visiting an FME World Tour event in a major city, to meet up with other like-minded data wranglers, is far from “essential”, no matter how much you enjoy using FME. Also, whilst we often provide a pretty decent lunch, it wouldn’t constitute part of your weekly shop…

FME events and get togethers have always been important. A forum to bring users and potential users alike, together in one space to share their experiences and find out just how much FME can do. There have been FME events for years, although the ‘FME World Tour’ has existed as a concept since 2011. That makes 2020 the 10th annual FME World Tour roadshow and on a personal note, the 10th year that I’ve been involved in organising and delivering events on the “World Tour”. I always enjoy it when the Tour rolls into town because we meet such interesting people and uncover such incredible data challenges that FME defeats, and we also have a lot of fun along the way.

Now whilst that personal interaction might be hampered slightly by the fact that it’ll be coming to you down the line this year, courtesy of a home-broadband connection, we promise to do our very best to keep up our usual tempo!  We will be providing you with both an update on what’s new, as well as some key customer stories to fuel your own imagination.

When I reflect on the 20 years I’ve been working with FME, I remember back to the early days when I attended an event and asked the audience, “Who’s heard of FME?”. The response was for 3 people in an audience of about 50 to raise their hand. I distinctly remember asking the same question at an event in 2008 and was interested to see a few more hands raised. However, when I asked it in 2011, the majority of the room raised their hand and it was easy to see the impact the FME World Tour was having. Needless to say, I’ve stopped asking, and I’m sure some of you  might question the need for an annual event if everyone already knows about FME - what’s the point? Well, the point is that typically people buy FME to solve a really specific data integration challenge. Our job then is to help you find that next use-case where you can reuse FME, having already invested in it, and squeeze out that extra bit of value. The FME World Tour is therefore not only a great place to find out the latest capabilities, formats and transformers that have arrived, but also to hear what other users in our industry are deploying FME to do, so you can go away energised and enthused!

So, yes, in general the FME World Tour 2020, in a very short space of time has morphed from 70+ physical events to a largely online virtual delivery, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our seven UK and Australian events are of course no exception… so now if you’d like to join us, you can instead login to our virtual sessions from the comfort of your own homes. - Register here!

We look forward to hearing your dogs and children in the background in a few weeks, but most of all we look forward to reconnecting with many of our customers and friends at a time when a little bit of social interaction, however frivolous is very welcome. Take care.