Microsoft Inspire 2018 Predictions
It’s your Friday at Five Buzz!
As we look ahead to the 2018 Microsoft Inspire Partner Conference in Las Vegas this next beginning weekend, we’re excited to see what Microsoft has in store for us as partners and what we’ll be able to bring back to our customers and clients as we move toward 2019 and beyond.
What, oh what, will Microsoft announce at Inspire 2018?
For the expected 40,000 attendees of the Inspire conference, there really is only one big question, “What’s new?” … so here are a few hypotheses from our team.
Surface Go – the Educational Tablet of the Future?
In a move seeking to upend the educational tablet / computer industry, Microsoft has released details on their newest product, the Microsoft Surface Go. The 10’’ device aims to serve the market both in the classroom or in your business. Rocking full feature desktop software and the ability to integrate a variety of mobile apps, the Surface Go gets it done, no matter the job.
The gadget promises a full day of battery life (9 hours), premium security features, and 4G LTE coverage. We’re anticipating a major clash between the newest Microsoft product and the Google Chromebook, which have similar power and functionality. And we’re hoping to learn more about the Surface Go at Inspire 2018.
Microsoft Teams… a Free version is coming soon
Teams will be getting a “free” version in 2018. Microsoft’s premiere communication app is a major Slack competitor, but Microsoft hasn’t seen the traction they’d like to since its launch in 2016. Formerly priced at $60/year, Teams has been a seldom-used product, though one with a great opportunity to add market share.
This free version is a great move for Microsoft, allowing them to increase the app’s user base by getting more people in the door. The free version promises to offer a lot of the same features that come with a hefty price tag for their primary competitor, Slack. This set of “upgrades” includes unlimited chat messages and search (Slack caps users at 10,000), built-in audio and video calling, and integrated real-time content creation with the O365 suite, among other things.
Once in the system, Microsoft will plan on pushing users to upgrade to the full Office 365 set-up. This aggressive move shows how much power a big company like Microsoft has, and how they can impact the market should they choose to throw their weight around.
Everyone loves a Bundle
Savvy businesses are constantly looking for ways to trim the fat off their fiscal budgets, and Microsoft is here to help. At least we think they will be in 2018 with their upcoming Microsoft 365 Bundled SKU. The upcoming bundle looks to offer the ultimate in simplicity, dropping your favorite features into one, easy-to-manage package. Highlighted by Office 365 and Windows 10, the bundle also features the peak in safety and security measures, as well as easy integration with all your favorite office apps. For users who have already been using the Microsoft suite, this looks to be a positive for your bankroll.
A Few other Hints for Microsoft Inspire
We’ll end our predictions with a few more “educated guesses” hinted at by the Microsoft team themselves.
One of these is the expansion of the Internet of Things. IoT is no longer a futuristic concept, but an essential part of daily lives and a growing business expected to exceed $100 billion in manufacturer investments by 2020. Accelerate your IoT journey with fully managed and industry-specific IoT using Azure. The Microsoft Azure IoT offers powerful and secure IoT solutions that will meet your needs today and into the future. Ultimately, IoT solutions will help connect customers, factories, and workplaces in a way that wasn’t imagined possible.
Another area we’re watching for news at Inspire is the Cloud. The seismic shift to the Cloud is driving many of these ideas forward, and we hope that Microsoft’s suite of tools continues to set the tone for data storage. We’re anticipating a new user interface that should simplify things for IT managers and end users at the same time.
Who is Speaking at Inspire?
As part of the lead-up to the Microsoft Inspire partner conference next week, Microsoft officially announced their prospective keynote speakers or Corenotes per a recent Microsoft Partner Network blog post. In a change from past years, there will be 3 Corenote speakers, one each on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
Who is a must see, and why?
We’re excited for the various industry experts, including speaker Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer. We expect to hear from Smith about GDPR, definitely the topic of the moment. We hope to hear how Microsoft plans to maintain its position as a compliance easy button for businesses large and small. And if you’re looking for a little more GDPR insights, catch our webinar, which will feature excerpts from the Inspire conference!
Another topic we’ll be sure to attend is the Azure insights presentation from VP, Jason Zander. Zander will focus on the hybrid cloud opportunities arising in 2018 and on expanding the role of AI in computing, both topics we feel will be vital for businesses to address quickly and correctly to continue down an IT road with few bumps and potholes.
For the full list of speakers and conversations, check out the blog linked above. We’d love to know what you are interested in, so we can be sure to attend and bring back insights you’ll find valuable.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will close out the conference and is the must-see of the event. His leadership has made Microsoft the largest tech company in the world above Apple for the first time in 10+ years. And whatever Nadella is announcing, we’re excited about it.
And, of course, the Networking
We’re excited for the vast network of industry leaders at Inspire 2018.
The Commons is one of the best marketing events of the year, as there are hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of people in the same room. The networking at this event is worth it in its own regard, but it is only as good as you make it. We plan to make it worth the splendor of the city. Finally, we’re eagerly awaiting the announcement of the big headlining entertainer, an eleven-time Grammy Award winner, who will be performing a close-out concert on Thursday.
We’ll make sure to let you in on the secret after the conference!