Sharing Some Sparks from Ignite

As day 2 of the Microsoft Ignite conference comes to a close, I wanted to share some of the highlights, or sparks, as I see them. Ignite started for me with the keynote on Monday morning. Satya Nadella welcomed close to 23,000 attendees with the message of how Microsoft empowers every person and organization to achieve more.

The message ‘Mobile First – Cloud First’ came through loud and clear. When you hear someone say Mobile First, you might think of your cell phone. But your phone isn’t really mobile; it doesn’t move around itself. You are what is mobile. You need to be able to work efficiently no matter where you are or what device you happen to be using. This is what Microsoft means when they say Mobile First. Cloud-First makes it all possible.

Gurdeep Singh Pall, Corporate Vice President, Information Platform & Experience at Microsoft, shared his thoughts about the shift occurring in the workplace. Work is now what you do, not where you go in the morning during the week. By 2020, the majority of the workforce will be Millenials. Ten thousand ba-boomers reach retirement every day. Although individual productivity will continue to be important, team productivity will be critical. We need to make meetings more effective. Because 55% of communication is non-verbal, we need to help remote workers by using more video and other enabling tools.

We saw several demonstrations of impressive new technology. Windows 10 promises to provide the right balance between the familiar features of Win7 and new features from Win8. In other words, while live tiles will be there, so will the familiar Start Menu.

There are some impressive new security features in Win10 too. Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems Group at Microsoft, logged into his PC just looking into the camera. Facial recognition can replace passwords and keep your device and data more secure. Windows 10 has a new Device Guard and Device Leakage Protection that shows how Microsoft is serious about protecting devices, apps, files, and identities.

Windows 10 will include the new Microsoft Edge browser with Cortana built-in. Office and Skype will be available on all platforms because they are universal Windows apps with adaptive UIs. A highly anticipated feature of Office 2016 is the ability to co-create from Desktop Word as well as online. The Microsoft HoloLens looks like a real game-changer and I’m excited to see where that takes us.

Around the conference halls and in the sessions, it’s nice to bump into old friends from the SharePoint community but also nice to meet new friends from the other communities represented. With so many attendees, you can imagine the crowds moving from one session to the next and filling in for meals. But it all seems to work and there is a lot to learn.

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