Billed as the biggest IT conference in the world with 23,000 people attending this year, this year’s keynote was packed full of amazing announcements, with a focus on Cloud first technologies. Microsoft recruitment experts Nigel Frank attended Ignite all week and here are their highlights on the two keynotes.

microsoft-professionalsKeynote 1: Scott Guthrie, Executive Vice President of Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise Group

“Empowerment is at the core of everything we do. [We need to] make IT the heroes within every company.”

Executive VP Scott Guthrie opened his keynote at Microsoft Ignite with a focus on how technology continues to rapidly evolve, offering us new ways of working and powering digital transformation for all organisations.

“Key to our ability to harness technology is our ability to evolve with it – to harness new capabilities and learn new skills,” he said.

Guthrie elaborated on the digital transformation and how Microsoft Cloud is ultimately helping everyone in the room with their personal digital transformation. He focused on the progress Microsoft are making with Azure and other cloud services, as well as the big investments made in security. More on that later.

Microsoft Cloud is a globally scaled out platform – the circles on the map below represent Azure regions. Guthrie explained there are 34 unique regions around the world – twice the number than AWS has.

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According to Guthrie, Microsoft Cloud has more compliance certificates than any other cloud provider, as well as full data sovereignty in Germany. Microsoft Cloud is also a leader in 17 Gartner magic quadrants.

“IT are always seen as the people who spend money but don’t provide value,” Guthrie said. “Cloud makes us more responsive.”

Microsoft’s first big announcement was the launch of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016.

Windows Server 2016 will be available from October, giving IT professionals “new layers of security and Azure-inspired innovation for infrastructure and cloud applications.”

System Centre 2016 – also out in October – will offer “a simplified management solution across the datacentre and the cloud for Windows Server 2016 software-defined datacentre features.”

Security featured highly throughout the keynote and the next announcement was the launch of Windows Defender Application Guard for the Microsoft Edge browser.  According to Microsoft, Windows Defender Application Guard uses hardware-based isolation to make Edge the most secure browser for the enterprise.

The biggest announcement of Ignite’s first keynote come courtesy of Adobe and Microsoft CEOs Shantanu Narayen and Satya Nadella, who announced Adobe’s move to Azure.

According to Narayen and Nadella, there will be substantial integration between Adobe Marketing Cloud and Dynamics 365, with Adobe putting cloud technology at the forefront of its own development.

Keynote 2: Satya Nadella: Artificial intelligence

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In the afternoon keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella opened his keynote by highlighting his desire to democratise artificial intelligence.

“We’ve used technology very successfully to democratise both the creation of information and the distribution and access of that information,” he said. “And now we need to turn to technology to democratise creation and access to intelligence.”

Nadella outlined four key pillars to address artificial intelligence:

  1. Agent (Cortana)

According to Nadella, Cortana is “unbounded across all devices. It goes with you and knows you, your work and life.”

With this information Cortana – which has 133 million users – can save you time and learn your preferences.

  1. Applications

Applications like Skype Translator use multiple technologies including voice recognition, language translation and predictive analytics to allow accurate real-time conversations in multiple languages.  It’s already live in 8 languages.

Bringing AI to Dynamics 365, Nadella announced the upcoming launch of Relationship Assistant in November within Dynamics CRM. Relationship Assistant will look at interactions and information from inside and outside CRM to build a better picture of your relationships with customers and prospects.

  1. Services

I.e. Using machine learning and advanced analytics to gain intelligence from vast amounts data.

  1. Infrastructure

Using Azure, Microsoft say they have built the world’s first AI supercomputer. According to Nadella, it is the most powerful, flexible and intelligent cloud and is already capable of a billion transactions per second.  To demonstrate this, Microsoft translated the entire Wikipedia database into Russian. It took less than 1/10th of a second.