NI Week 2017

Flying in to Austin, TX on Monday afternoon, only to return back to Germany on Thursday? I wouldn’t do that – except if it’s for NI Week, NI’s biggest and greatest event of the year! I even got to give a presentation!

NI Week 2017 Keynote Presentation
NI Week 2017 Keynote Presentation

NIWeek, in case you do not know, is National Instruments’ annual event for introducing new products and bringing together the company’s customer and support vendor bases. It’s fun, educational, and diverse.

Our Presentation on HVDC and LabVIEW best practices

Obviously my personal highlight: The presentation I got to hold together with Julian Lange (Siemens AG), a dear customer of mine, on a project we did together last year. The excerpt:

High voltage, direct current (HVDC) is key for long-distance electric power transmission. Learn how engineers used the NI platform to implement a proof of concept for a revolutionary HVDC test circuit at record speed. Discover how to integrate a high-speed The MathWorks, Inc. MATLAB® and Simulink® model into LabVIEW Real-Time and LabVIEW FPGA.

My part was all about LabVIEW “best practices” for small and/or inexperienced teams. I will write a blog post on that specific topic and update this post with a link to it, so stay tuned.

If you want to know more, take a look at our presentation slides. You can download them from NI’s forum pages (http://bit.ly/NIWeek-2017-DigNRG) or from the Session Catalog (http://bit.ly/NIWeek2017-HVDC).

Presenting at NI Week 2017's Digital Energy Summit
Presenting at NI Week 2017’s Digital Energy Summit

NI Keynotes and Product News

There were five (I think?) keynotes, and they had an abundance of information, so I only mention the three things that stuck with me the most:

LabVIEW NXG

There has been a lot of talk about the successor to LabVIEW as we know it since its first mention at NI Week 2016. Now, NI’s new prodigy is finally officially announced! It goes by the name of NXG, and you can read more about it at http://www.ni.com/labviewnxg.

I’ve been a CAB (customer advisory board) member for the last three years, evaluating early beta versions of NXG, giving feedback to NI and helping to make the new version a better LabVIEW. So while NXG itself was no big surprise for me, I was delighted to hear that NXG 2.0 is already available as a tech preview.

NI SystemLink

SystemLink brings a webbased configuration interface for your distributed hardware devices. You can configure your devices, deploy software updates to them, and run different kinds of diagnostics, all from your webbrowser. There’s even data services and LabVIEW APIs! The range of supported hardware includes PXI (Windows), CompactRIO (NI Linux Real-Time) and Windows PCs, but I guess that will grow on and on in the future.

NI SystemLink - a web-based management tool for NI hardware
NI SystemLink – a web-based management tool for NI hardware
LabVIEW in Space

This was exciting – Millennium Space Systems measures real-time temperature from a satellite orbiting Earth, thanks to an onboard single-board RIO and LabVIEW on the ground. How do you like that – LabVIEW in space!

Presentations

Again, with two and a half days full of interesting presentations, I want to pick the three that were even greater than all the other great ones.

The SSDC Way: Desired Paths to a Simple Software Process

It’s no secret that Steve Watts (@swatzyssdc) is my personal LabVIEW hero, and hence it’s no surprise that I loved the presentation that he gave together with his colleague, Jon Conway. Together, they introduced the SSDC way of going about business, and it’s a very pragmatic way as I see it. I like that. In fact, a lot of the things the two guys presented resonated with my own presentation (how about “agile light” vs “best practices light”?).
Session Details
Slides

Practical Techniques: Gathering and Managing System Requirements

Becky Linton (@JLMommy1905) introduced us to her (or rather VI Engineering’s) way of gathering, formulating, evaluating and finally managing requirements. Some of the things she talked about were new to me, but sadly, for most of them I was only barely consciously aware of their importance. I think this was the most important presentation for me to watch.
Session Details
Slides

LabVIEW Application Builder and Continuous Integration

Matthias Baudot (@studiobods), creator of the great BLT tool, allowed a look under the hoods of his continuous integration tool chain. A lot of what he showed looked familiar as I’m also very much into the CI topic, but of course there were some takeaways for me. And how great is it that you can download his tool chain to have a look at all that magic he does??
Session Details
Slides

Conversations and Discussions

I got to talk to looots of people, in fact I can’t remember a time where I would not have been talking! These are things I want to look into and hopefully will soonish find (rather make) the time for:

  • NI Data Dashboard (Jorge Vasiliadis)
  • NXG 2.0 & Web Services (Matthias Baudot)
  • FPGA Desktop Execution Node (Someone in Advanced Users Track)
  • New ideas for DQMH (Fabiola De La Cueva)
  • JKI State Machine Editor & State Machine Objects (Jim Kring)
  • FPGA Advanced Resources (TJ Giere)

Socializing

Socializing started with Julian and me arriving at Austin on Monday evening, and taking a cab directly from the airport to the Iron Cactus on 6th Street, where Chris Roebuck and Paul Morris welcomed us accordingly.

On Tuesday evening, we went to the infamous LAVA BBQ at Scholz Garten, and I cannot even begin to describe the buffet they had there. It was quite cold on that night, so we went back to the Iron Cactus again to meet some fellow german colleagues at the CER (central european region) mixer event.

On Wednesday evening, the official party took place at ACL’s Moody Theater. So after treating ourselves to some Filet Mignon with bone, we went there to get the party started. The live act was quite a sight (not!), but the music was great. After that, we went to another given – the Spazmatics, playing at the Cedar Street Courtyard. I can hardly describe how much fun that was!

Party at ACL's Moody Theater
Julian, me, Oli, Dara and Chris at ACL’s Moody Theater
Spazmatics, playing at the Cedar Street Courtyard
Spazmatics, playing at the Cedar Street Courtyard

Suffice it to say that all that sleep deprivation paid off in the end, as I slept 7 hours straight on our flight back to Germany on Thursday evening.

Conclusion

I love the technical contents of the CLA Summits, and I’m also very much into the german VIP Congress for its networking opportunities. The NI Week proved to offer both, now that it has the Advanced Users Track (read more on that on LinkedIn).

NI, give me another chance to present next year, and I will definitely return!

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