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Microsoft Inspire Conference 2018: The Best Highlights and Game-Changing Announcements

Microsoft’s Inspire Conference has long been seen as an opportunity to open new doors in terms of innovation, growth, and differentiation, and 2018 was certainly no exception. Around 16,000 partners from all over the world recently gathered for this year’s conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, and the team at Powernet were incredibly honoured to be among them.

Above all else, one thing became clear almost immediately: even if you’ve lived through the age of the client-server, then the Web, then mobile, then the cloud — just wait. You haven’t seen anything yet.

The Microsoft Inspire Conference: Getting In on the Ground Floor of a Revolution

To give you an idea of just how valuable that every moment of the three-day Microsoft Inspire Conference really was, each day began with a series of Corenotes wherein Microsoft executives, along with industry experts and distinguished partners, discussed how today’s changes in technology represent an incredible opportunity and an essential global responsibility tomorrow and beyond.

As a collective, we were able to better contextualise some of the emerging trends and best practices that are taking place across the technology spectrum, in an effort to crystallise just what that may mean for all of us moving forward. They were incredibly insightful and quickly set the tone for everything that was to come.

Throughout each day, there were also breakout sessions with vendors, guest speakers, and other industry experts. Not everything was strictly technology-related, however. Far from it. A lot of discussion focused on the nexus between technology and the worlds of sales and marketing, business growth, and many other important topics. Data and AI, the modern workplace, business applications, and even business leadership were also all on the docket.

Booths from vendors all over the world were situated in The Commons (that’s what they call the tradeshow floor). Each vendor brought something unique to the table and came together to form the type of event that is rare and special in the industry — and one that we at Powernet immediately knew we didn’t want to miss.

The Announcements

In the modern era, one of Microsoft’s biggest priorities doesn’t just involve doing things better. It also involves expressing how they do things very differently, and their announcements collectively proved this almost immediately.

There were a wide range of fascinating announcements across the course of the event. Below are just some of the key things they announced:

  • A focus on both an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. This shift is present across all the solution areas that Microsoft is focusing on. This includes things like the modern workplace, business applications, infrastructure and data, and more.
  • Azure’s continued expansion. Not only does Azure now have 54 data centre regions, it also recently expanded to its first underwater data centre.
  • Artificial intelligence. Microsoft has its sights set on “turning every industry into an AI-first industry”, and we for one could not be more excited about those implications.
  • Microsoft 365 will continue to not only emphasise bringing teams together for a new era of communication, but will also help customer transition into a way of creating ”people-centred experiences” rather than “device-centred experiences”.

The implications of all of this, particularly in terms of its impact on clients, is clear. Not only will this bring in a bold new era of autonomy for all of us, but Microsoft’s own efforts show that their focus is on helping customers in all industries take advantage of emerging technologies to seize hold of opportunities as they develop. Technology will become more autonomous, which allows actual human employees to free up their time to focus more on core objectives like collaboration, productivity, and growth.

The Impact Moving Forward

If there was one recurring theme throughout all of the event, it was that Microsoft is truly playing in a space of their own. It’s so hard to see direct impact because “big moves” aren’t really the focus of their efforts. Instead, they’re making carefully calculated, smaller moves that, when taken in tandem, add up to something much more powerful and meaningful than any one of them could on their own.

Case in point: Another one of the big surprises of the show was the fact that artificial intelligence will soon be a critical part of nearly every Microsoft product in existence. This is more than just capitalising on a trend — it cements their goal of empowering technology in any and all ways that they can so that technology can then turn around and once again empower us all.

The Highlights

By far, we loved the Corenote by Satya Nadella, current Chief Executive Officer of the Microsoft Corporation. Immediately, it became clear that the Microsoft mission statement reflects exactly what they are trying to do — “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more” — no exceptions.

We were in awe of the total number of people in attendance and how, despite all of this, the event ran like a finely tuned watch. Satya is a master at making the most out of every second, and in addition to inspiration, there is a lot to learn, from the way he carries himself to the way he thinks about current challenges and issues and much, much more.

Powernet: Moving Forward, Together

It was a privilege to be able to be part of this year’s Microsoft Inspire Conference. The insights we gathered allow us to be true to our commitment of helping our Powernet clients grow and succeed. And perhaps the most important piece of insight of all was that the future for all of us is a bright one, indeed.

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