I watched the Build 2015 keynote live yesterday and in case you missed it, I thought on writing here a brief summary. First of all, I have to say it was a very interesting keynote, involving a lot of people and a with a lot of high quality demos. Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO, outlined right from the beginning 3 key strategies: the intelligent cloud, Office lika a platform and Windows 10. I may think that this will be the official Microsoft strategy starting with the new fiscal year in July. So let’s take these points one by one.
1. Build the intelligent cloud
When we talk about the global cloud, scalability is a very important cloud. For now, Microsoft seems to be the only tech company offering a hyper-scale cloud. In Azure we have a total of 19 geographical Azure regions spanning over all the planet, which is more than AWS and Google combined. For developers this means that they can build applications and cloud solutions that will be very responsive for all end users, no matter from which part of the world.
The intelligent cloud is also moving very fast. And in fact Microsoft adds new features to Azure on a daily bases. As an example, from the Build conference last year till now there were around 500 new features rolled out in Azure. Which is really huge from my point of view.
Key parts of an intelligent cloud are data ant analytics. Briefly data + analytics = intelligent cloud. There were also made several announcements in this part, like SQL Warehouse, SQL DB Elastic Query and Data Lake. From my point of view, Data Lake is a very interesting new feature since it will be a data container where you can store different type of data in the same place, like IoT data coming from sensors, data bases or log files. This data will surely be available for applications through a specific API.
2. Office like a platform
This is also a very interesting new concept. In my opinion we should better name this Office as a graph because the graph behind Office was the main talking point. Key takeaway is that we should stop seeing Office like a suite of applications and start thinking at Office like a Graph of information and features that are available to us in order to enhance our productivity. In this circumstances Office add-ins behave more and more like real applications.
A particular highlight was, at least for me, the demo of the SAP Excel add-in, developed in collaboration with SAP. Using this add-in, users can connect to a specific SAP system in their organization and pull data that is afterwards displayed in pivot tables and graphs within Excel. This is a very simple, but powerful, process and the key thing here is that starting with Windows 10 this add-in will also work on tablets and smartphones.
The Uber addin for Outlook is also very interesting and brings productivity to the next level. We can use this add-in on calendar meetings. When we have to go from point A to point B for a meeting and there is a reminder set, the add-in is able to automatically look for an Uber car for you.
3. Windows 10
This was a particular highlight with a lot of demos. But from my point of view there are two key takeaways.
First of all, developers will be able to integrate win32, .NET, C++ and Objective C applications into Windows 10 and these applications will be available via the Windows Store. What this means is that developers can take their Android and iOs applications and integrate them in Windows 10 easily. Of course, they will also be able to enrich this applications with a lot of new features that will be supported in Windows 10 and are not available in Android and iOs. Taking into consideration that in 3 years Windows 10 should run on 1 billion devices according to Microsoft’s estimations, developers will be able to expose their applications to a huge customer base in a single hit.
Secondly, the holographic technology is really cool, and I am very excited the Microsoft presented at Build also some very practical ways you can use HoloLense. For instance, Microsoft partnered with a civil engineering organization to bring holograms to this very important field. Architects may use Hololense to showcase to their customer a full 3d version of the blueprints. And this is great, since most people can’t imagine how the 3D will look like when they look at a 2D blueprint.
And as a bonus, Microsoft announced at Build 2015 that the new Windows 10 browser is called Microsoft Edge! So project Spartan was just a code name.
If you also watched the keynote and think that I may have missed something, please feel free to comment to this post and add your key takeaways.
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