Highlights of Microsoft Inspire – Day One

15 Jul 2021 | News

“Live from .. not Las Vegas ..”

Microsoft Inspire is their annual showcase business event for their IT partners like Kinetics. We’ve been attending this conference in the US for many years. Normally we’d be in US this week to learn, share, network and grow with new ideas, new inspiration and new. Better ways of solving our client’s challenges with the latest IT solutions.

This year is a bit different though. We’re not on site at a conference, but at our desks dialling using technology to solve our shared challenge of not being able to travel. As we’ve all experienced over the last year or more, digital is a great saviour, but it’s not the same as being there. While I don’t miss the jetlag, I do miss getting away into an environment that is focussed on the event, and away from the everyday distractions of being in the office. Most of all, I miss the casual conversations with other attendees that help us learn and think about what we are seeing.

So, a few quick highlights from day 1:

Phrase of the day “Compressed Transformation” That really resonates!

Windows 365 – in some ways this is an evolution of remote desktop that we’ve been using to share traditional software applications remotely from remote servers.

Under Windows 365, we can set up move applications to cloud based servers, set up the remote desktop from the cloud, and then access it on demand from anywhere on any device – for example Windows on your iPad. I particularly like the way you can move from one device to another and have each device pick up exactly where you left off. The only question is how these virtual windows sessions interact with some of the peripherals of hardware differences of the device you are using at the time.

Azure keeps developing new products. We’ve been using Azure Lighthouse recently as solution for helping us manage our client’s Azure implementations to help keep them secure, reliable and minimise costs. Now we have something called Azure Arc to help us extend Azure across more platforms in the hybrid cloud, from on-premise, third party or Microsoft’s own data centres. I was really interested in Azure Synapse as a new database evolution that reimagines how we can store, connect and present data, especially applying AI to gain insights into the trends that might not otherwise have appreciated.

 

The online nature of our Covid-world has driven big advances in tools like Teams. I didn’t appreciate there had been over 300 major enhancements in the last year, even though we’ve highlighted many of these changes as they have become available. Its worth reminding readers of Presenter mode, and the ability to include collaborative digital whiteboards, shared presentations, new theatre modes and so on.

Thre are many new features coming in Microsoft Teams like the ability to add your own custom branding, fluid co-authoring of posts in Teams  and that all new meetings in Outlook will default to being Teams meetings starting in October.

We’ve seen demonstrations, in this case using Hololens as a way of sharing experiences, training teams in industrial practices and applying mixed reality to explore proposed new work spaces.

Digital twinning of realworld situations with a digital simulation or representation, to allow for monitoring complex interactions and modelling scenarios, in this first case shipping urgent medical products across multiple modes of transport to many destinations, coping with real world challenges such as weather delays, and in the second case, modelling a wind farm.