Summit 2019, Barcelona: that’s a wrap

Last month we brought the entire balena team to Barcelona to meet, greet, hack on projects, plan for tomorrow, and have a great time together. Here are some highlights from balena’s 2019 annual summit.

Why do we do this every year?

Being a fully remote company, the annual summit gives the entire team a chance to socialize, collaborate, share ideas and make plans for the year ahead. There’s only so much you can get to know about a person solely from video chats and email. Each summit is a great opportunity for our new team members to get on-board and meet everyone they’ll be working with for the year ahead.

Here’s a collage of the balena team at work

This year was our biggest summit yet, around 70 teammates joined us from all around the globe to spend a week working from a wonderful coworking space in Barcelona. Using an “un-conference” format, our aim was to deliver a relaxed but structured event, where individuals could pick and choose how they spent their days.

How does an “un-conference” format work for us?

After kicking off the event’s main brainstorm of projects to work on, each subsequent day starts with a morning keynote, and then a lot of free time to brainstorm, work, hack, have fun, and get to know fellow balenistas. Some folks worked on starter IoT projects like the ones found on the balena playground, others hacked on some advanced stuff.

We kept the team stimulated with numerous demos, mid-afternoon presentations and evening talks that covered technical topics, design, culture, and more. It was a well-rounded way to inspire and engage our teammates inclusive of every role at the company.

Hackathon highlights

We ended the Summit with a local Hackathon in Barcelona that allowed the community to come meet the team and get answers to any balena or IoT-related questions, while also bagging some swag and hardware to work on cool projects. We had around a hundred developers from across the region to join us for a day of learning, building, snacking and geek talk. This year’s participants went home with a new Raspberry Pi 4 and sense HAT!

Team working during summit

After a brief introduction to the balena platform, we got to work building IoT projects using containers! Each attendee was given a Raspberry Pi 4, a Sense Hat, an SD Card and a power supply, and guided through the process of assembling their hardware and using balena to push code to their devices.

From there, attendees were encouraged to be creative and build something cool! With snacks and caffeine aplenty, we saw projects ranging from display dashboards and connected storage lockers, connected rover vehicles, games, interactive projects that made use of the onboard buttons, applications using the gyroscope/positioning, and even some camera and vision projects.

The day ended in the way any good hackathon should, with pizzas and beer, and demonstrations of all the brilliant projects that had been built throughout the day.

It was a great day for all involved and we're excited to do it again next year!

We do this for the IoT fleet owners out there

The work we do here at balena is dedicated to enabling everyone, from hobbyists to full-on fleet owners, to realize their IoT vision. We want people to deploy their applications at scale without having to worry about infrastructure slowing them down. Summit is our way of getting the right people, enthusiasm, vision, and strategy together to keep helping our users and community take their projects to the next level.

We’re excited for the next year. Stay tuned!
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned on our forums, on Twitter @balena_io, on Instagram @balena_io or on Facebook.

Andrew Nhem

Andrew is the Content Strategy Lead at balena. He enjoys tinkering on web content, building stuff, music, and more. Talk to him about any of the above.

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