What a week! Ignite 2016 has officially come to a close but the time we spent there will not be soon forgotten. From the keynotes to the fabulous people we met on the exhibition floor, it was a show to remember and reflect on. Here are a few stats to give an idea of the scope of Ignite and how we here at harmon.ie made the most of it:
- Over 23,000 people attended Ignite 2016
- Over 10,000 harmon.ie branded hotel keycards were distributed
- We gave 420 personal demos at our baseball themed booth (one of the only themed booths at the show!)
- Nearly 200 people met and received signed balls from baseball Hall of Fame legend, Phil Niekro at our booth (you’re welcome)
- 101 people attended our two Lunch and Learn events where talks were given by Jochen Kleinschnittger, Enterprise Architect and Ronald Surette, Former Executive Director, Office of the Comptroller General for Canada and Former CIO for Library and Archives Canada
- 60 people joined us at our private skybox to watch an Atlanta Braves baseball game
- We announced the Top 25 SharePoint influencers for 2016. Congratulations to all!
- Last but not at all least: we launched a completely new, AI-driven product, Collage which also won a Microsoft Office App Award
Beyond the numbers, there were countless great talks given over the course of the show – though none more widely watched than Satya Nadella’s afternoon keynote on the future of AI at Microsoft. There is a bright future ahead for AI in the workplace, though it may take a bit longer to be fully realized than aspirational keynotes can make it seem.
Here are our key takeaways from the show as a whole:
- Microsoft dedicated much of Ignite 2016 to trying to win back the hearts and minds of IT professionals. Microsoft’s aggressive move to the cloud had put them at odds with IT folks because system administrators and farm architects saw their jobs threatened as on-premises data centers were replaced by Azure and Office 365.
- There was a noticeably increased emphasis on data security. High profile hacks have given the average person as well as company leadership pause when considering their future in the cloud. Microsoft made sure to emphasize the various measures they are taking to ensure there is no reason to wait. In addition to security, Microsoft made a big point to play up the size and power of Azure which has quickly skyrocketed to be the number two cloud service.
- AI is coming. Nadella’s keynote made it abundantly clear that AI will be at the center of Microsoft’s future strategy, software and product releases. Our take is that although the term AI was thrown around a lot, the sort of AI really on display was a specific type related closely to machine learning. This type of AI works more like intelligence augmentation (IA) to assist workers on their day-to-day tasks with operational intelligence rather than taking over work tasks all together. None the less, Microsoft’s vision is bold and we are excited to see where it goes.
Here’s to a great Ignite and we look forward to next year! Thank you to everyone who visited our booth.