Microsoft Build 2017: Keynote Takeaways

In February, when Microsoft Build opened its website for participant registration, I was astonished to see that the website intermittently went down as a result of the number of people trying to register (Read this: https://www.onmsft.com/news/microsoft-build-2017-is-sold-out-but-you-can-still-join-a-wait-list). I am new to the Build conference, so it piqued my interest as to what it could offer to our current knowledge base and development stack. It also made me think about the ways learning these new technologies could be value to our potential product owners.

Fast-forward a couple of months and I am making my way to Seattle, sitting bright-eyed and bushy tailed awaiting for the keynote address from Satya Nadella, the CEO for Microsoft. Upon the stroke of eight o’clock, Microsoft kicked off the conference with a digital rendition of various popular cities, such as San Francisco, that finally led up to the conference location of Seattle. It was a neat little intro that spanned from wall-to-wall of the grand conference hall, nearly making one seem like they’re on a paragliding ride through the cities.

Microsoft Build 2017 keynote introduction

Being this was my first Build conference, I was excited to embrace what was to come during the day as well as the next two days to follow. From the keynote, the following topics were introduced:

  • Nadella spoke a lot about opportunity and responsibility. The key takeaway that I gathered from his talk was that development is shifting to be less inclusive and open the doors for the equity of use with technology.
  • Sam George provided a demo of how Azure Internet of Things (IoT), Azure Stack, Docker containers, and Postman was utilized to release updates to a single or batch of IoT devices that are remotely provisioned through Azure.
  • Andrea Carl demonstrated how  that could be utilized in areas of workplace safety.
  • Laura Jones, Ruchir Astavanas, and Fatima Kadar led a nice demo of how IoT devices are integrated with Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Teams, and the Bot Framework to work seamlessly through the workplace, automobile, and mobile environments.artificial intelligence (AI) research derived contextual detection
  • Microsoft unveiled Project Rome, which assists in contextual detection.
  • The Emma was introduced as a result of Haiyan Zhang’s research and development work in efforts to offset the symptoms experienced with Parkinson’s.
  • Scott Guthrie walked through the Azure Cloud environment and SQL Server 2017, speaking upon points related to  machile learning with R or Python.
  • Scott Hanselman introduced an array of new tools for the developer:
  • Rimma Nehme illustrated Azure Cosmo Database, which is the globally distributed database that scales to the database needs on a “pay-as-you” pricing model.
  • Maria Naggaga spoke of working with Visual Studio and containers, such as the integrated Docker tooling to provided continuous integration (CI) and continuous deliver (CD).
  • Julia White introduced the Azure Stack.
  • The Adobe CTO, Abhay Parasnis, briefly did a live Q&A session with Guthrie and how they’re leveraging the Azure Stack to meet their company’s current and future technological needs.
  • Harry Shum delivered a summary of how AI has been evolving the past few years and what milestones have been reached with Microsoft Cognitive Services and the Bot Framework.
  • Cornelia Carapeca introduced Microsoft Custom Vision Service (https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/custom-vision-service/), which utilizes active learning to train computers with human intelligence.
  • Yina Arenas walked through a PowerPoint demo that utilizes the Cognitive Services AI to translate speech during the PowerPoint presentation across any device and platform.

Whew! Microsoft certainly packed the keynote with a lot for a developer to think about! Mind you, these are my brief notes of the keynote.

Also worth mentioning was Microsoft’s inclusion of women developers across various cultural backgrounds who ran several of the keynote demos.

Within the next few days I hope to release more information about what I’ve discovered about each of these bullet points and how this could be of value to both developers and business owners.

In summation, here’s what I’ve gathered from the keynote:

  1. Microsoft is seeking to extend technology’s ease of access to a larger and broader population.
  2. Form solutions that integrate between computer devices and our physical world with the use of contextual detection.
  3. Azure has a plethora of services at the disposal of all companies.
  4. Real-time response on all development fronts, from database and real-time debugging to IoT.
  5. Leverage any operating system to develop using your choice of framework and programming language.
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