Microsoft kicked off its annual TechEd in New Zealand with three keynotes at Auckland's Vector Arena yesterday evening.
First up was Dr Michelle Dickinson, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland and founder of NZ's only nanomechanical testing laboratory. Her presentation focused around her test run with the company's newly launched laptop-replacement-tablet Surface Pro 3.
Aided by pictures and drawing parallels to boxing, Dickinson took the audience through some of the features of the Pro 3, including the device's hinge and its palm blocking capabilities.
She was followed on stage by Steven Martin, GM of cloud and enterprise at Microsoft who spoke about the next five years of cloud computing. Tracing the history of cloud computing to date, he said, "Microsoft has invested in 20 datacentres in the last 12 months and there will be 20 more in the next 12.
"In the next five years, there will be a shift to higher-level services and a move to the use of transient technology as customers rethink their respective technology event horizons. We will see more of innovation, consolidation and standardisation, in that order. I also want to state that customers should realise that the real security battles will be internal in nature rather than external."
According to Martin, as vendors and contractors get access to customer data, it is critical that customers understand that most fraud is internal in nature and invest likewise. He also stated that innovation will accelerate, prices will drop and industry will continue to consolidate to a point where there are only three global providers.
"For Microsoft, cloud is the future. There is no plan B for us. This is the only way we will continue and it is part of a natural evolution," said Martin.
He urged end-users to look for continued disruption in the next ten years, and to reindex their investment on internal as opposed to external security.
Next up was James Whittaker, technical evangelist at Microsoft, who spoke about the data economy.
"Data is the new oil. It will change the way we live and work. Data is wealth and power. It will bring you trophies and it is certainly big," said Whittaker.
Drawing a futuristic image, Whittaker spoke about a time when data will be tamed for usage for everyone through smart devices that are actually smart, apps that functions as verbs, increased internet of things and super apps that can integrate web services and data in a comprehensive manner to make it easily available for the consumer.
"Data economies that these will enable will buy us some of that precious commodity -- time," said Whittaker.
This year's Microsoft TechEd conference, which will run for four days in Auckland, will bring together IT developers, tinkerers, vendors and partners to discuss the latest developments in Microsoft and its technologies. More than 2000 people are expected to attend the event through the days.