18 Wacky Dreamforce Scenes That Show How Salesforce.com Rules The SaaS Market

The View From Dreamforce

SaaS pioneer Salesforce.com held its annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco this week, and some 170,000 people signed up to attend. Walking the halls of the expo floor, that number seemed a bit on the low side.

But who could blame all these people for wanting to catch a glimpse of the latest and greatest from Salesforce, including its still-in-development Internet Of Things Cloud? And who didn't want to see what savvy new integrations Salesforce's galaxy of partners have built on the vendor's platforms?

CRN went to Dreamforce looking for interesting and strange sights that capture the spirit of the event. Following are 18 examples of ones we believe fit this description.

Bear Necessities

In a uniquely Californian gesture, Salesforce had this carved wooden bear posted up at the entry to its Developer Zone at Dreamforce, where coders could show off their ability to add interesting new features and functionality to the vendor's platform-as-a-service offerings.

Gone Fishin'

Visitors to Salesforce's Admins Lounge at Dreamforce were permitted to sit in this canoe and have their photo taken with a gigantic and very realistic-looking stuffed largemouth bass doll. It kind of felt like being outdoors, and if you let your mind wander for a minute, you'd almost forget that you were at a conference about cloud software.

Close-Up Of The Bass

Here's another shot of the largemouth bass doll. See how real it looks? This is one fish story that came with photographic proof. And it's not something you'd expect to see at a technology conference.

Blown Away By Big Data

Salesforce.com is working on a cloud that's focused on the Internet Of Things, with the goal of helping customers get value from event data generated by devices, sensors, websites, social media and other sources.

Wind energy turbines, like the one pictured here, are a real-world example of the Internet Of Things at work today. These devices have lots of moving parts equipped with sensors that continually gather data, feed it to the cloud for analysis, and give companies insight into the efficiency of their wind energy operations.

Orange You Excited About The Cloud?

Sanpellegrino, an Italy-based purveyor of sparkling fruit beverages, set up a whole orange grove at Dreamforce, where attendees could sample the goods in a relaxed setting.

Marketing Animals

If you're a startup in the Salesforce ecosystem, there really is no better way to ply your wares than to hire people to wear animal costumes at Dreamforce. WalkMe, a cloud startup that sells a service for guiding users through online experiences, had this cool rabbit and panda making the rounds at the event. (Full disclosure: These were just people in costumes.)

Big Presence

Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins has been in his new post less than two months, but he still found time to come to Dreamforce. Robbins joined Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff onstage during his Dreamforce keynote to talk about how the two companies are working together to tackle Internet Of Things opportunities.

Cisco is using Salesforce's new IoT Cloud to crunch event data from switches and identify hardware problems at an early stage. "We can feed analytics in, and correlate it, and dynamically change the infrastructure based on what our customers are doing," Robbins said in the keynote.

Mechanical Owl

This owl stood watch over the Developer Zone area at Dreamforce, ostensibly scanning for any unfortunate rodents that found their way into the conference. Like a real owl, its head could swivel all the way around, an effect that was nothing short of creepy.

Developer Zone

Salesforce borrowed from the California State Park system with these signs in the Developer Zone, showing people all the different areas to see how companies are building cool stuff on top of the SaaS vendor's platforms.

Another Shot Of Developer Zone

Here, you can see how busy this area of the Dreamforce conference was, along with conversations between attendees eager to hear about stuff they hadn't seen already.

Mobile App For Lawn Mowers

Cub Cadet, a lawn equipment vendor that sells lawn mowers, was on hand at Dreamforce to show off its new mobile app, called Cub Connect. It's currently available for XT Enduro Series mowers and lets users track performance of their vehicle from their mobile devices.

Entertaining Diversions

Dreamforce isn't just about gaining knowledge and connecting with potential new customers. As evident from this sign, attendees had lots of entertainment options at the event, which had nothing to do with cloud computing.

Microsoft-Salesforce Lovefest

Microsoft and Salesforce are rivals in the CRM and platform-as-a-service markets, but ever since inking their landmark strategic partnership last May, they've been acting like the best of friends.

In this space on the Dreamforce expo floor, attendees could hear more about the latest efforts between the two vendors to integrate various products, all in ways they say will benefit customers.

Baby Bathtime

Salesforce customer Johnson & Johnson had some of the cutest signage at Dreamforce, which was helpful, because doing anything at the event required standing in long lines and pinballing through dense crowds.

SaaSy In The House

Salesforce's "No Software" mascot, known as "SaaSy" (get it?), made its customary appearance at Dreamforce, reminding attendees once again that the notion of on-premise software is comically backwards.

Chatty In The House

Salesforce's mascot for its Chatter collaboration software, known as Chatty, brightened the mood at Dreamforce with a smile that literally never waned, not even a little bit. It was almost as if the smile was sewn onto its costume.

Lightning Strikes

Salesforce showed off its new development platform, called Lightning, at the Dreamforce event. It includes three parts: the Lightning Design System, Lightning App Builder and Lightning Components, and is designed to let coders build enterprise apps.

DJs Everywhere

This DJ rocks the house -- well, the area next to the registration desk -- at Dreamforce. There were actually DJs all over the event, pumping loud dance beats that made attendees forget they were at a technology conference.