I’m Inspired…How About You?

Every once in a while, a new technology comes along that just blows your socks off. Its so futuristic, so out there that your mind sometimes struggles to believe such a thing is even possible. The first time you interact with it – just wow. Second time – still very cool. Third time – getting used to it now. Fourth, fifth and so on, it becomes part of your everyday life.

Think about the first time you used FaceTime to video call your kids whilst travelling. It was like we were living in the Jetsons’ world (minus the flying cars of course) you felt giddy with technical possibility. Now however, its very much commonplace and something we’ve seamlessly blended into our lives.

I’ve just had my latest mind-blowing experience at Microsoft’s recent Inspire worldwide partner conference in Washington, DC, via a hands-on demo with their new HoloLens technology. Sure, I’d heard about it and read a few articles, but nothing prepared me for the shock of seeing a 3D virtual reality overlaid on top of the real world. The ever-passionate Lawrence Crumpton from Microsoft Australia walked me through two scenarios – the first was an interactive flyby through the solar system (great for a space-nerd like me) – but it was the second one that really took my breath away. With a couple of quick hand gestures, Lawrence showed me how to interact with the Windows start menu (which for me was floating magically in mid-air, right in the middle of the exhibition hall) and then open an architecture program. Next thing you know, I’m now seeing a life-sized model of a house. I can actually walk around, peer down the halls, open the windows, move the furniture around etc – and all of it super-imposed over the so-called real world. Apart from trying to remember to keep my mouth closed (rather than just drooling in slack-jawed wonder), all I could think of was the endless possibilities this technology now presents – for architects and artists, doctors and designers – anyone really with an idea. How soon however will this too become commonplace, and interacting in a 3D virtual environment is just something we do?

There were nearly 400 attendees from Australia at the conference this year, from over 150 different partners and I’m sure many of them are now thinking “how can I embrace this technology and help my customers redefine what’s possible?” Of course not everyone will be set-up to develop 3D apps or create walk-through solar systems, but there’s no denying that we’re on the cusp of some significant changes.

And change was certainly the major theme at Inspire. Prior to joining Insentra last year, I’d spent nearly 11 years working for Microsoft in various roles before heading off to run a bunch of security businesses across APAC. So it was interesting to be back at a global event (my first as a partner vs a blue-badge) and amazing to see the adjustments that Microsoft is making to their model. With the announcements around their redefined go-to-market, substantial increase in the number of managed partners they’ll be working with and cloud focused technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Azure Stack, there was a real sense of renewal and renewed purpose.

One thing’s for sure, there’s no way that any one channel organisation can be across so much technology and so if you haven’t done so already, you need to be thinking about your partner-to-partner strategy. If you’re an SI, what innovative new ISV solutions can you take to market? If you’re an MSP, who can you work with to deliver services in areas where you don’t have the capabilities or bandwidth?

My other key take-aways from Inspire

  • Get to know your local Microsoft team. They’re actively looking to work with creative, innovative partners, helping them to deliver solutions that would have been unthinkable even just 5 years go.
  • Embrace lifelong learning, stepping back from time to time to sharpen your saw
  • And take the time to stop, listen and reflect – before getting stuck back into it with renewed vigour!

For those of you who were unable to make it to the event, why not check-out some of the keynotes and sessions at the links below.

Otherwise, myself and the rest of the Insentra team look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas for Inspire 2018!

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