It’s been a busy summer here in Redmond, in particular the month of July – with our company fresh off Microsoft Inspire, our second Mixed Reality Partner Summit and the inaugural Microsoft Business Applications Summit. Every year July carries a special resonance at Microsoft. We’re closing one fiscal year and starting another, and it’s a great time spent with our global partners, field teams and customers.
What makes July meaningful are the engagements we have with our customers, partners, and developers. This passionate and dedicated community helps us fine tune what we have been engineering and working to bring to market. The insights we get are invaluable, and I always look forward to this time as it represents an important milestone in making our vision real for customers around the world.
With that, I want to take a moment and share some of what we have been working on, where we have been, and some really cool demos that highlight the ongoing opportunity we are seeing with Microsoft HoloLens and mixed reality business applications.
I had the opportunity to represent all the people on my team who are working to bring mixed reality business applications to life when I joined Satya Nadella’s Corenote address at Inspire. For those who don’t know about Inspire, it is Microsoft’s annual worldwide partner conference. This year more than 15,000 partners joined us in Las Vegas to talk about the year ahead. The full Corenote is an excellent overview on how Satya is thinking about our shared opportunity, as well as the technical and cultural leadership he’s setting for the company. But, if you just want to watch the mixed reality business applications part, I come on at the 56:55 mark.
I am passionate about the potential mixed reality presents to empower Firstline Workers across the globe. In fact, there are more than two billion Firstline Workers worldwide. That’s more than the number of Information Workers, and it presents a tremendous challenge to foster technology that gives them the tools they need to do their jobs in the field. Our current mixed reality business applications – Microsoft Remote Assist and Microsoft Layout – provide Firstline Workers the ability to work heads-up and hands-free with HoloLens, giving them a set of tools they have never had before to do real work and solve real problems.
When you combine that with the digitization of business processes via Dynamics 365, the digitization of productivity workflows with Microsoft 365, and of real-world data via Azure IoT (all connected by a Common Data Service), you are able to create experiences that will help serve as a catalyst for the future of work.
What you saw in the Inspire Corenote is a glimpse of this future. It’s just the beginning for how we plan to deeply integrate Dynamics 365 with our Mixed Reality Business Applications and with Microsoft 365 and Azure. We are clearly hearing from our customers and seeing firsthand that the combination of mixed reality and the existing strength of Microsoft’s Business Applications like Dynamics 365, PowerBI and the PowerApps platform will generate new ways for Firstline Workers to visualize information, consult data in real time and collaborate remotely, opening up an unprecedented amount of new opportunities.
Mixed Reality Partner Summit
In addition to Microsoft Inspire, our trip to Las Vegas brought with it our annual Mixed Reality Partner Program (MRPP) Summit. I love Inspire, and I REALLY LOVE the MRPP Summit! This is where we get to spend time with partners who work with customers to deploy HoloLens, custom applications, and mixed reality business applications. This is where we get to hear directly from the people who help us create and deliver the incredibly potential of mixed reality for customers.
At this point in our lifecycle, it’s amazing to see the growth and momentum for HoloLens. We started shipping just a little over two years ago. Hundreds of companies around the world have deployed HoloLens and as a result, thousands of workers around the world are using HoloLens in their daily workflows. What an awesome accomplishment and responsibility for all of us!
The MRPP has grown a ton since the early days (meaning last year ????). It now includes more than 100 companies, including ISVs (Independent Software Vendors), SIs (Systems Integrators), distributors (who resell HoloLens), creative agencies, and more.
In many ways the MRPP serves as the foundation of our community. They are fostering the creativity that is helping bring mixed reality to life and it’s inspiring to spend time with them, thinking about and planning for the future.
Microsoft Business Applications Summit
July also saw us welcome thousands of customers and partners to our inaugural Microsoft Business Applications Summit in Seattle. This community came together with our engineering teams that build Dynamics 365, Power BI, PowerApps, Microsoft Flow and mixed reality business applications to connect, share, learn and be the first to know where we’re going and what’s coming next across the business applications landscape.
This event is all about making the community more successful. The Business Applications Summit was anchored with a keynote from by James Phillips, corporate vice president, Business Applications Group. James talked about how Microsoft’s business applications are forging new opportunities and highlighted cutting-edge work from partners and discussed mixed reality. It was awesome to see how Microsoft and partners are working to bring forward solutions that integrate Microsoft’s three clouds – Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Azure – with mixed reality and IoT, all thanks to the Common Data Service.
On stage we saw an example that brings together field service and finance and operations with mixed reality and IoT capabilities. This type of work will empower a Firstline Worker with real-time collaboration and real-time access to IoT data throughout the workflow.
We showed how a company like MacDonald-Miller can take advantage of this connected workflow. We started with field service, which is actively listening all the time to those IoT signals and then proactively dispatches a technician to solve the problem. Then we showed how, with HoloLens and Microsoft Remote Assist, that Firstline Worker can call a remote expert anytime from any place, and then we ended with how the information flows right into finance and operations.
Check out our demo with MacDonald-Miller (around the 50:00 mark).
I’m looking forward to next month and what’s ahead as we get ready for our next customer-centric event Microsoft Ignite!
As always, I’m available on Twitter (@lorrainebardeen) and eager to hear about what you’re doing with mixed reality.