This is my first year at WPC, I kept myself away from social media and blogging for the past two days just to focus on the event. I want to consolidated what I’ve seen in the past few days here at WPC
Day 1 (8th July) Pre-conference
On pre-conference day there were no public events, it was mainly registration and opportunity to connect with people and also understand the logistics of the event. Over 16,000 people (record number for WPC) attended this year’s WPC. The event is happening mainly on Metro Toronto Convention Centre, which is huge, they hired the entire north and south wing. Typically it takes about 15 minutes to walk from one end to another, so it’s important to plan your limited time here.
I attended Azure Circle event, even though it’s invitation only for Azure Circle, I tagged along with my Aussie friend Dean Robertson and Mathew Coleman. Lot of interesting applications on Azure by partners and it also helped me to understand more about the Azure Circle program (looks like highly guarded secret, can’t find any public links) itself and the new partner benefits they are going to bring in the next few months.
Day 2 (9th July)
9th of July is the official WPC inauguration day, and highlight of the day was 2 hours vision keynote with enthusiastic talk by Steve Ballmer. Some of the big announcement made in the Keynote
Office 365 Open: A new way for partners to sell the service, Office 365 Open is a pre-paid offer that enables partners to realize more revenue, deliver packaged services with a single invoice and manage the customer relationship.
Windows 8 RTM/GA: Windows 8 is on track for release to manufacturers (RTM) during the first week of August, and the product will reach general availability (GA) at the end of October. Enterprise customers can get Windows 8 as early as August.
Windows 7 Update: There are now 1 billion people using Office worldwide, and licenses for Windows 7 have reached 630 million worldwide.People buying Windows 7 now can upgrade to Windows 8 for $14.99
Microsoft acquires Perceptive Pixel: Perpective Pixel is a company focused on taking advantage of touch and large screen displays. They did a very impressive demo with 80 inch touch screen (apparently worlds biggest and cost around $80,000).
Rest of the day I spent on session focused mainly on Sales and Marketing. Speaking to Microsoft UK team members and few potential partnership opportunities from people across the world. We will put a new partner page on our biztalk360.com website soon.
Day 3 (10th July)
The third day highlight is again on the vision keynote, this time with Satya Nadella
Windows Server / Azure: Satya highlighed the importance of abstracting hardware infrastructure from developers so that they can focus on business problems. Few demos were shown highlight the I/O, Network performance of Azure infrastructure (transferred some 10gig file in 10 seconds across data centres, showed process benchmark TPC 3 times faster than VMWare). Another key announcement very interesting from BizTalk perspective is the announcement of Windows Server 2012 RTM, which is August 2012. BizTalk Server 2010 R2 is promised to be delivered 6 months after Windows Server 2012 RTM (Previously Windows 8 Server)
Switch to Hyper-V Program: Microsoft announced a new program to help customers transition from VMware infrastructure to Microsoft. The “Switch to Hyper-V” Program provides partners with guidance, training and software tools, including the Virtual Machine Migration Toolkit, to more seamlessly migrate virtual machines to Windows Server Hyper-V and System Centre.
Microsoft Dynamics: There were lot of information about Dynamics on the keynote as well as for the whole day, which I quietly ignored 🙂
Windows Phone: Showed off new hardware capabilities coming to Windows Phone 8. The main thing is around shared core between Windows 8 and Windows Phone, which will allow same applications to run seamlessly on both the platforms. They demonstrated it with IE10.
Windows phone 8 NFC (Near Field Communication) was the highlights. There were few demos showing some of the new capabilities in Windows Phone 8, like “Tap to Share”, which allows to share information (contact details, URL etc) to someone else by just tapping two phones together. Another interesting application is WP Wallet hub, idea to replace your real wallet. You’ll have all the card details, voucher details etc all in electronic form stored in your phone. Microsoft closely working with Chase on this. In the future you should be able to pay your bills with Windows phone instead of credit cards.
I spent lot of time on the Solution innovation centre, where both Microsoft and Partners displayed some of their cool products. The one thing just impressed me was the Kinect/Surface areas, there are lot of innovation happening in this area and completely changed my perception Kinect is not just for games anymore. Met Elizabeth Redding from Tellago studio and saw some of their cool work in this space.
BizSpark Party: In the evening I attened the Microsoft BizSpark party at 101 College street, great to see lot of young entrepreneurs and how Microsoft helped some of them to reach their goals.
Overall the event is all about getting to know what’s coming in next few months and ability to network with people around the world.
Feedback for the Organisers
BizTalk/Application Integration perspective: One thing I found extremely challenging during the event was to get connected with people who specialize in Application Integration especially BizTalk. Unfortunately there are no BizTalk/AI specific session at WPC this year. Given the amount of work going on in Azure Service Bus/EDI capabilities area and a new version of BizTalk Server (2010 R2 just round the corner), Microsoft could have squeezed at least one session. I been speaking to lot of people and heard the same story from System Centre Operation focused partners as well.
Feedback for Attendees
Please fill your profile, that’s the only way people can search and reach you. I searched for BizTalk and it turned with less than 15 people, then I had to use biztalk360 mailing list to reach out to people in the conference and arrange
d lot of meetings.
Networking Tip: One of the main reason for people to come events like this is networking opportunity. I had a session with my sales coach before coming to the event and best piece of advice he has given, which I like to share here is “Find people who are standing alone and start the conversation”. Because they are also in the same boat like you, looking for opportunities to speak with some one. It’s bit more harder to get into a group conversation.
Advice for Exhibitors
I have noticed in lot of booths, they just put some pretty girls. I can tell you most of them don’t have any clue about the product. They might just hired them during the event from a local resourcing company. Please don’t do it. If someone really interested in your concept/product they want to hear more about it from people who is passionate about the product/technology. Next time try to put your core developers on the stand.
Another annoying thing I noticed with Exhibitors is they are very keen to scan your batch. Some of them didn’t even ask any permission. What’s the point? Just to collect bunch of useless email addresses and wasting your marketing resources??
/Saravana Kumar (from the WPC field)