Ready for #MSIgniteNZ keynote, let developers Christmas begin!— Jim Taylor (@jimtaylor1974) September 1, 2015
Here’s our principal integration architect Wagner Silveira’s take on the opening keynote session:
"Empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more". Barrie Sheers, the new Microsoft GM for NZ opened MS Ignite - the 20th edition of the conference formerly known as TechEd - with this reaffirmation of the company's new vision. According to Sheers, this is an exciting time to be with Microsoft, with many new initiatives in place - from Windows 10, which had 75 million installations in its first 6 weeks since official launch, to new features on Azure, Microsoft's cloud platform. All build on three strategic pillars:
- Reinvent productivity and business processes
- Build the intelligent cloud platform
- Create more personal computing
Those pillars were evident in the talks of the next speakers too.
Laura Butler, Distinguished Engineer for Microsoft, and part of the original team behind Windows 95, talked about the experience of creating Windows 10. She showed how transparent and agile the whole process was, and how that process positively impacted the final product, aligning Windows 10 to all types of users - from personal to corporate.
James Staten, General Manager, Cloud + Enterprise Division, shared his view of why the Azure platform is the perfect foundation to build intelligent applications in the cloud, discussing real life scenarios like the NZ Cricket application, which leveraged from on-premises and cloud data sources to create a unique experience for each user.
He then invited Chris Ford, Business Director of Pixar, to show how the huge computational power of Azure is changing the landscape of the visual effects industry, allowing smaller players with great ideas to tap on resources like Azure Batch to help them access technologies that before only large studios could use.
Azure Batch is, by the way, another New Zealand success story, as the technology behind it is directly inherited from Green Button, acquired by Microsoft in 2014.
Showing the power of platform, Dave Fellows, Principal Group Engineering Manager, Microsoft Azure Big Compute & HPC - and ex-CTO of Green Button - rendered a complex 3D scene in a matter of minutes.
Closing the keynote, Joe Belfiore - Corporate Vice President, PC, Tablet and Phone - explained what Microsoft meant by more personal computing - showing the reasoning behind various features of the new Windows 10, like Cortana, the evolution of the new start button, and the improvements of the new internet browser - Microsoft Edge.
Sharing the stage with Belfiore was NZ's Katharine Holdsworth, Principal Lead Program Manager of the Operating System Group. She demonstrated the new security features in Windows 10, including Windows Hello, which uses biometrics like fingerprints and face recognition to authenticate users - aiming to make passwords a thing of the past. And Enterprise Data Protection allows enterprise administrators to set up rules around file protection, making the device more secure and avoiding the common issue of sharing sensitive information with unauthorised people.
Belfiore closed the keynote demonstrating the vision behind Universal Windows Apps, showing how applications like mail, calendar and office tools share the same source code and adapt the same way to the current resolution and input devices. Proving this point, Belfiore did the first live demo of Windows continuum - a new feature coming with Windows 10 for mobile devices, which transforms a Windows 10 mobile device into a small workstation when plugged to a set of peripherals like mouse, keyboard and monitor.
And that was just a taste of what’s coming up in the days ahead, with around 140 sessions spread over 3 days. Follow us on Twitter for live updates from the event.