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The Internet of Cows

I have just got back to work following attending my very first Microsoft World Wide Partner Conference, over in Orlando, and I am sat here trying to think of where to start with this blog as there is just SO much to cover; Windows 10, HoloLens, Office 365 E5, Enterprise Mobility, Azure, the Internet of Cows… (Yes, it’s a real thing).

So I think I’ll start with Microsoft itself. We have been working with Microsoft as a CSP (Cloud Solutions Provider) partner now since November ’14. And I have to say I am very very impressed. They have by far the best partner capability and community I have ever seen, and they have really been listening to what we (as a partner) want. There has been a huge focus on their CSP program, and enabling partners to serve the Microsoft Cloud to our customers in a way that works for us, allowing us to completely own the customer experience end to end, 100%. This really opens the doors to Microsoft Cloud services for SMB and Midmarket organisations in way that simply wasn’t possible before, all via the Microsoft CSP program. They truly believe in a Cloud First Mobile First world, and I couldn’t agree more.

Over the course of the week, there were many announcements, demonstrations, and speaker sessions covering a huge amount, too much for one person to cover in full here but here are my highlights:

Windows 10 (or maybe we should be calling it W10aaS)

Microsoft has announced that Windows 10 will be the last product life cycle version they will release. And instead of the normal 3 year version release cycle, they will simply constantly release new features, iterate, and improve Windows 10 with regular updates rather than waiting for that old 3 year release cycle. Ultimately, this means Windows 10 should be the last version of Windows you’ll ever need.

Office 365

The new premium Office 365 SKU, E5, will be available before the end of the year. For us, I think this is a big one. We often get asked about what’s new in Office 365, what’s coming. Well, with Office 365 E5, as well as maintaining all of the productivity and collaboration services, they have now incorporated Cloud PBX into Skype for Business, Power BI and Analytics (which I think is going to be huge, really opening up the true value of all that data sat around doing nothing), and advanced security features like Lockbox and Advanced Threat Protection. These new security features demonstrate how Microsoft is really listening to concerns and fears around cloud services. Security continues to be one of the top considerations around cloud services for businesses, and I think this continued focus, openness and transparency goes a long way to addressing business concerns.


Now this was pretty cool! A holographic computing device powered by Windows 10. It’s very difficult to explain here what HoloLens looks like and feels like, Microsoft itself says “Microsoft HoloLens is the first fully untethered, see-through holographic computer. It enables high-definition holograms to come to life in your world, seamlessly integrating with your physical places, spaces, and things. We call this experience mixed reality. Holograms mixed with your real world will unlock all-new ways to create, communicate, work, and play.” It really does have to be seen to be believed, check it out here:


So that brings me to… the Internet of Cows. And like I said earlier, yes this is a real thing! Ultimately this is the dairy industry leveraging the data analytics and machine learning capabilities in Microsoft Azure - it tracks the health of cows through Wi-Fi connected pedometers.  That’s right, it’s Fitbit for cows! This allows farmers to track the general health of their herd and know when they are going into ‘heat’. All this enables farmers to be more accurate with breeding and ensure the health of their cows, and in turn the quality of their produce. I think this is an amazing example of how Azure can serve so many different needs.

So all in all, I took a huge amount away from the Microsoft WPC. I just wish I could have bought the Orlando heat back with me.