The whirr of 60 collaborative robots powering up. A buzz of excitement in the air. The world’s top cobot programmers are getting ready… to welcome #RUC2019!
It all started back in 2016. A small team of us here at Robotiq had put our heads together to try to find a solution to a common issue for technology manufacturers.
It all started with a question… What’s the most useful way that we can train our partners in the new Robotiq products?
We didn’t want to be just like every other company. We didn’t want to just invite our partners to an afternoon of boring presentations with free coffee at the back. We wanted to be different.
It all started with a vision… to create an event which our partners would truly look forward to every year.
Back in 2016, the seeds of the Robotiq User Conference (RUC) were starting to germinate. Over the next 4 years it would turn it into the most powerful event in the collaborative robotics calendar.
It’s just 2 months to go until RUC 2019! Here’s what you need to know about the Robotiq User Conference.
What makes the Robotiq User Conference different?
Putting on a spectacular event is tough, but we approached it in the same way that we deploy a robot cell — by looking it as a process of continual improvement. Back in 2016, we were starting from zero. Every year, the RUC has got better and better.
Here’s how we’ve achieved that process of continual improvement over the last 4 years:
Starting small: RUC 2016
The first question we had to ask ourselves was “What’s the best time of year for our user conference?”
We needed a time when our partners would be fresh, enthusiastic, and ready to learn a lot about collaborative robots. We also needed a time when everyone would be available and not too busy.
September was the perfect choice! It was right after summer and our partners would appreciate learning about the new Robotiq products just before the big season, so that they could increase their sales. It was a win-win event!
This first pilot event was small. We invited an intimate group of 20-30 partners to the Auberge Saint-Antoine hotel in Quebec City. It went very well and the idea for a much larger user event was born…
Can we make it 10x bigger?: RUC 2017
We think of 2017 as the first “real” Robotiq User Conference. For one thing, we invited more people… a lot more people… 200 delegates.
We started from scratch with this event and worked hard to decide exactly what it should include.
What did we want to achieve with this conference? We wanted to:
- Motivate the partners about the possibilities of collaborative robots.
- Show everyone our new products and teach them how to use them.
- Help everyone to increase their sales by using the right tools.
But, above all we wanted one thing. We wanted all our partners… To get a feel of the Robotiq culture. To experience the Robotiq vision, hands-on, just like we do in #TeamRobotiq. To feel part of the team and have the word “Robotiq” tattooed on their hearts just like we have on ours…
… is that a bit too much? Well, that’s how we feel.
One of the most powerful aspects of the RUC was that we got everyone working hands-on with the technology. We didn’t just tell everybody what our new products could do. We allowed them to try them out for themselves, in a mock production environment in our 24-Hour Technical Challenge.
“It wasn’t to be a classical sales meeting with long speeches on why the partners should sell our products. It took the form of a challenge, like a game. It was a huge event based on learning, having fun and sharing. We learned as much as our partners did!”
The event was a huge success.
Can we meet the high expectations?: RUC 2018
The problem with having such a successful “first” event is that you set very high expectations. Was RUC 2017 just a fluke? Or could we pull it out of the bag again?
In 2018, we had to put on our thinking caps again and work out how we could make the event even better! So we made it 10x bigger again and invited 2000 people…
… only joking. Bigger is certainly not always better. There were over 200 attendants at RUC 2018. We don’t want to make it so big that we lose the personal contact.
One thing we wanted to do was make our 24-Hour Technical Challenge even more challenging than it had been the previous year.
And we did make it more challenging! In fact, we made it so challenging that it was basically impossible to achieve within the 24 hours (no team managed to complete all of the technical challenge tasks in the time). Even so, the partners learned a huge amount.
We also learned something from the experience: that we hadn’t yet found the perfect way to teach cobots hands-on. So, this year we’re changing it up again. We’re replacing the technical challenge with something new. Remember, this is all a process of continual improvement.
The event was amazing and we live-blogged throughout it.
What you need to know about RUC 2019
This is the 4th year of the RUC and it’s set to be a great one.
Here is the essential information you need to know about this year’s event.
Where is it and when is it?
#RUC2019 will be held on the 4th and 5th of September 2019 in Quebec City.
Specifically, it will be held in the prestigious Manège Militaire (aka Voltigeurs de Québec Armoury) in Old Quebec. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it’s well worth the visit even just to see the building! You can read more about the building in our post from last year, as this is our second year in this venue.
What does it involve?
The format of the conference has been slightly different every year as we have improved and refined it. This year is no different!
Just like the previous years, the event will include:
- Sponsorship by Universal Robots, which means lots of robots to get your hands on.
- Captivating keynotes about the latest developments in collaborative robots.
- Fun and challenging hands-on learning sessions in both the technical side of robotics and sales.
- A ton of all those little “Robotiq extras” that make our events unique. If you’ve been to one of the previous, you know what we mean.
This year, prepare to dive into two complete days of application-driven learning sessions and keynotes covering the most talked-about topics in collaborative robotics.
Some of the topics we’ll be covering are:
- Cobot Stories from Factories. We’ll hear the reality of using cobots directly from a customer’s perspective.
- What’s Hot, What’s Not! How to target the right market and build successful strategies for bigger factories and SMEs, even when the market is slower.
- Now Easy or Hard for a Cobot?! We’ll discuss the ins and outs of popular cobot applications and how to demo them.
Why is the RUC only 2 days this year?
It’s all part of our process of continual improvement.
New year, new RUC format. We’ve taken the highlights of RUC 2018 and packaged them into 2 days. Really, the difference is only half a day as last year was a 2.5 day event.
Really? No technical challenge this year?
As we said above, we’ve decided to change things up at RUC 2019. But, just because there isn’t a 24-hour challenge this year doesn’t mean there won’t be tons of fun hands-on activities. In fact, this year’s learning sessions are even more hands-on and directly tailored to the needs of our partners.
As writer Alfred Mercier once said “What we learn with pleasure, we never forget.”
We’re devoted to making the RUC the most pleasurable learning experience that we can. We want to make sure you have the best experience possible and learn everything you need to support your customers to start production faster.
How can I sign up?
You can’t! Sorry…
The event is invitation-only. This is due to the huge enthusiasm we’ve received for the event and the fact that we want to be able to provide a quality event for everyone (by “quality” here we mean a perfect balance of information, ambience, workshops, and time), …
… but we are preparing a surprise for everyone.
It will be revealed soon, but here is a tip: keep on eye on #RUC2019 and subscribe to the experience.