A new, virtual era of Microsoft Ignite is upon us—and as the event kicked off, we looked to social media to get an idea of what the community thought of the new format. From product updates, to flight simulators, to Azure in space, the Twittersphere was busy on Day 1.
In the past, when I’ve covered other events, there has been the usual Day 1 excitement and hum of the crowd. However, as we all know, there have been some abrupt changes this year, and most conferences reflect this new reality.
Case in point: Tuesday, September 22, was the first day of Microsoft Ignite 2020, which is transitioning to a new digital-first event experience.
As one of the biggest events in the ShareGate calendar, we felt it was important to stay in tune with what the community is feeling—even if we aren’t in the same physical space. Looking to get a pulse from the community, and understand what they’re seeing, hearing, and feeling, we turned to social media to really track what’s going on.
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Having a little fun before the event
So how did Day 1 kick off? Well, even though people were not allowed to be there in person, you could still feel the excitement before the event. A few hours before the event started, traffic on social networks started picking up. In particular, attendees’ Twitter accounts sprung to life with a huge group of people eagerly anticipating the new event format.
Many from the Microsoft community were having fun posting pictures on Twitter of their SharePoint socks and other interesting items they were wearing for attending the event. Others, like Shane Young, PowerApps MVP (@ShanesCows) were up early, so they decided to share a picture of their breakfasts.
Adam Burgess (@mrbungess) even got his kids to participate to make it a more family-focused experience.
It was a great opportunity for people to have breakfast at home and enjoy it before the event started at 11am (ET).
Sarah Davies (@MrsSarahDavies) was prepared to spend a delightful morning watching Ignite from her beautiful back lawn.
Of course, during this time, Microsoft was helping us prepare for the event. Satya Nadella was scheduled to take the stage at 8:15 PT and talk about how Microsoft is innovating across their tech stack.
One of the hosts, Karuana Gatimu (@Karuana) shared best practices for how to make the most of the conference.
And our friend, John White (@diverdown1964), shared an incredible analytics dashboard that showed just how much Twitter traffic was ramping up for the event.
The conference begins
As always, the event kicked off with a keynote about the last year, and some direction for the future led by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. In a year with so much to talk about, it’s no wonder the community was excited.
Once Satya Nadella took the stage, the hashtag #MSIgnite started to explode. Angel Carrillo (@angeldav) was quick to point out that Satya started his presentation by thanking everyone that made the event possible.
Nitya Narasimhan (@nitya) did an amazing job of sketching notes for Satya Nadella’s keynote speech. So much was covered she ran out of room.
As you can see from Nitya’s sketch, several announcements were made during the keynote. These displayed the true breadth of Microsoft’s commitment to innovation.
During his keynote, Satya Nadella spoke about how the pandemic has made the PC mission critical.
Of course, the pandemic has also increased the importance of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare.
Among many other announcements, Satya Nadella announced the new Chromium Edge is coming out for Linux next month.
As the keynote moved forward, and transitioned into other sessions, the Microsoft team started dropping some news about product updates, new features and even some all-new products.
One of the announcements that came from Dan Holme (@danholme), Director of Product Marketing at Microsoft, is that SharePoint is getting better integration with Microsoft Teams.
Our friend, Microsoft MVP Susan Hanley (@susanhanley), was excited to hear the news that SharePoint is also getting global navigation.
Dave Michels (@DaveMichels) and Megan Strant (@MeganStrant) reacted positively to some of the announcements about the future of Microsoft products, and Satya’s statements about the future of work made during the keynote.
There was also a lot of buzz around Project Cortex, a new Microsoft 365 initiative which was released last year that applies artificial intelligence to help people make better decisions. Now, SharePoint Syntex, the first product to be released as part of Project Cortex, is creating a lot of buzz.
Mary Jo Foley (@maryjofoley) from ZDNet shared her thoughts on Microsoft’s Project Cortex.
Mark Powney (@mpowney) was also pumped up about Project Cortex making his life a little more fun.
With so many people working remotely, it’s no wonder Microsoft Teams was a very popular topic at the event. It’s also no wonder that Microsoft is adding more features to this product.
TheHiddenCISO (@bdiekmann) discussed how the new Together Mode makes it look like people in different parts of the world are all sitting at a single table in front of you.
Raphael Barini (@raphaelbarini) is so excited about all of the Microsoft Teams announcements.
In a win for those looking for ways to face the challenges of work, Microsoft has also joined forces with @Headspace (we’re big fans here @ShareGateTools). They are working to bring Headspace meditation to Microsoft Teams.
As Elena Salaks (@ElenaSalaks) points out, this is great for those facing pressure at work and could be useful in keeping organizations happy and healthy.
And for those looking to dig deep into data, some Power BI news made heads turn and Excel spreadsheets tremble with fear.
John White (@diverdown1964) was excited to hear about the new premium per-user license for Power BI that adds some all-new reporting features.
Justyna Lucznik (@JustynaLucznik), Program Manager for the Microsoft Power BI team, is also excited about the changes that are coming for Power BI, including Smart Narratives and anomaly detection.
On a fun note, Microsoft introduced the 2020 version of Flight Simulator by taking us back in time. We got to see the 1988 version of Flight Simulator all the way through to the 2020 version. It was amazing to see how the software has been improved over the years.
Ginny Caughey (@gcaughey) makes a great example of this: “Microsoft doesn’t abandon good ideas for the new shiny. It just keeps updating them for new hardware capabilities. This is the way I think enterprise software needs to evolve as well.”
Another exciting piece of news is that Azure has gone into space. It now allows for space data collection and data processing.
Insightful as always
Wrapping up the keynote for the first day of the Microsoft Ignite conference, Kumar Abhimanyu (@kabhimanyu) said he found the session “very insightful and inspiring as always.”
Eve Pardi (@EvePardi) seconded this sentiment, highlighting the innovate nature of what Microsoft’s been doing over the years.
By the time the day wrapped for me (6 hours later), it was pretty clear that things had changed. But in many ways, the core of what Ignite was in past years is still there: The first day of Microsoft Ignite was an amazing, world-class event filled with new tech and next-generation thinking.
Whether it’s bringing teams closer together with enhancements for Microsoft Teams or using AI and SharePoint with the new SharePoint Syntex to help people find the information they need, Microsoft helped us ignite (pun intended) our passion for their new technologies.