At Microsoft Inspire 2017, the speakers talked a lot about the WHAT behind business success. This year Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President of Worldwide Channels and Programs, focused on the HOW. How you can get there. How you can turn your great idea into a thriving business.
The messages and some keywords were similar to last year, but each area introduced many improvements and new trends too. For instance, cloud-based systems and digital transformation were already a big focus last year, but at Microsoft Inspire 2018, Intelligent Cloud and Intelligent Edge were named as the biggest current opportunities; powering the AI (artificial intelligence) in multiple aspects, and Microsoft Teams as the key pillar of the Modern Workplace.
Key takeways from the corenotes
The corenote speakers were particularly good this year, some that come to mind were Gavriella Schuster and Satya Nadella. Gavriella spoke about the cloud and data as our modern day gold rush, while Satya focused broadly on technical change and the importance of forward-thinking.
To talk about Satya’s corenote address a little more…he started by embracing the 54 Azure Datacenter regions, proclaiming Azure as the world’s computer – comprised of ubiquitously distributed computer fabric that creates the Azure Sphere. And then he moved on to talk about AI, promising democratization in all focus industries like; Retail, Healthcare, Agriculture, Automotive, Financial, Manufacturing, Education and Media and Communication.
Combining these two areas empowers experiences and digital transformation through the intelligent cloud and edge infrastructure and services, to all focus areas: gaming, modern life, modern workplace, business applications, applications and infrastructure, data and AI. After sharing pillars of this strategy, the corenote moved on to showcase examples around AI and ML (machine learning). One that comes to mind was Xiaouce, an intelligent virtual personal assistant developed by Microsoft.
I really liked Judson Althoff’s corenote which spoke about 2019’s focus areas: growth in culture and mindset, getting deeper into enterprise accounts (putting in co-sell solutions), acquiring more customers for Microsoft cloud, retaining and growing the current customer base and focusing on learning and readiness.
I think, Jason Zander the Executive Vice President of Microsoft Azure summarized it the best this year: “Organizations around the world are gearing up for a future powered by the intelligent cloud and AI.”
Some would say the future is here – certainly in terms of meetings it is. This was evident in a demo where HoloLens and HoloBeam showed how a remote worker’s virtual image could be augmented to an onsite table, creating a virtual image of a full meeting. Meeting notes and action items were taken automatically. Another demo showed an onsite technician who was sharing through mixed reality information with an expert over a video call.