With the Convergence 2015 keynote now over, it's time to look back at the announcements made and go over what this reveals about Microsoft's strategy for 2015. If you missed it, Microsoft should have a replay of the broadcast up soon, check the Convergence 2015 website for a link.
Given that this year's keynote was delivered by Satya Nadella, it was clear for all to see that Microsoft considers Convergence a key event in its calendar. Indeed, this conference did not disappoint in terms of announcements, from which one thing was immediately clear: get ready for Microsoft's entry into the 'Internet of Things', though not in terms of hardware, or at least not yet.
Despite its unwieldy nomenclature, the IoT is widely regarded as key to the future of technology. Redmond seems to agree with this assertion, announcing the Microsoft Azure IoT Suite. This is something of a marriage made in heaven. The main strength of the IoT (indeed its main selling point to legions of investors) is the potential ability to facilitate the collection of data en masse. Paired with Azure, a powerful data analytics tool, this has great potential for forward-looking businesses. Read more here.
Following this was the announcement of Windows 10 for IoT. This will combine industry-grade security capabilities with universal apps to create a compelling offering for those utilizing IoT devices.
Power BI is also set to receive something of a power-up. Available in over 140 countries across the globe, including the USA, the service has enjoyed some popularity. Its expansion into the enterprise world is set only to continue with the announcement of new connectors, dashboards and reports for the service, drawing data from many of the industry's most popular sources of data.
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is also to be given a significant upgrade in Spring 2015. The update will bring performance enhancements and tie the service further into Office 365. Microsoft Social Engagement has also been added as a new feature allowing monitoring and engagement with others from within the context of the app.
Redmond also announced the global availability of Office Delve, a new tool which uses machine learning techniques to pull relevant information for users from throughout Office 365. This includes content from both Yammer and Exchange Online, ensuring that efficiencies will be delivered across the board.
The IT Professional and Developer Preview of Office 2016 was also announced, with the full version expected to become available later this year. IT experts and developers are encouraged to get involved and provide feedback in order to help Microsoft create a truly excellent user experience, more about which can be found here.
Lastly, the Skype for Business (formerly Lync) technical preview was introduced, and is due to make its debut for users on Monday. The service is also to gain full compatibility with Office 365 from April, allowing users to collaborate on documents and other projects with greater ease than before. You can find out more about this here.
This was a feature-packed conference, clearly designed to make a big impact. There can be no question that Microsoft is going all out at the moment to attract enterprise customers from around the world, and it is certainly making a compelling case.
Did you watch Convergence 2015? If not, you can watch it below. Are you excited about these announcements? Let us know in the comments below.