Microsoft WPC16: Microsoft are preparing for a big FY17 and beyond
By Mike Devitt
Having not been to a WPC for approximately five years I was interested to see how Microsoft had changed and what the partner community thought. By chance, on my flight from LA to Toronto, I was seated next to one of the organising committee members who told me this was the first WPC MS had ever sold out at 16,000 attendees and they had to put on an additional 15 hotels to cope.
The Toronto Convention Centre is enormous and the constant flow of people between the two buildings and nine levels was like ants in an ant farm.
The conference itself could broadly be divided into four of parts:
- Technology & Services
Now the technology, particularly highlighted at each morning’s keynotes was almost overwhelming. To see a full sized hologram (5m x 3m) of a Rolls Royce jet engine on stage and being used to train technicians rather than taking a plane out of service was amazing. All developed with the MS HoloLens technology showed the future is here.
Windows 10, Office 365, Azure and even some products to which I have not been exposed (what is Delve?) were showcased by partners who are changing the world.
Microsoft announced some new services including one dear to my heart being a learning Service titled Microsoft Professional Degree with the first of these in Data Analytics. While the term “degree” means something different in Australia this program will provide employers with people who have current, in demand, job-ready skills.
I look forward to DDLS introducing this into Australia once details are finalised.
Untold opportunities to meet partners formally in Connection meeting spaces or informally at many locations, including a cavernous lunch hall. From a DDLS perspective I met with several potential partners who are bringing new products to Australia and want to ensure training is available in region.
As always there was a very large exhibitor hall and many interesting vendors showcasing their wares. Microsoft themselves had impressive Office365 stands in all areas including Customer Immersion Experiences for those who wanted a deeper hands-on experience.
There was even an Arrow Semi-Autonomous Motorcar (SAM) which is driven by voice activation by quadriplegic former Indy Car driver Sam Schmidt. Steering is via head tilt and acceleration and braking is via breathing in or out – incredible display of technology.
Finally the social side and there are numerous country, regional and conference-wide events to attend all of which roll into great networking events. I even made a new client on a trip to Niagara Falls – who would have thought.
To sum up this was a great event and showed me MS is in for a big FY17 and beyond.
To quote one partner “Microsoft has its mojo back”.