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November 2, 2021

Microsoft Ignite 2021 | All The Highlights

Microsoft Ignite is just around the corner and from Plain Concepts, we have all the details of what it will be like. This fall 2021 edition will be full of news and surprises, and if you don’t want to miss anything, keep reading because we tell you all the secrets.  

*We’ll be updating this post when new information is being released to provide more details. Keep on checking this again!

What is Microsoft Ignite?

Microsoft Ignite is the technology giant’s largest annual event for technology professionals and developers from around the world. Each year it brings together an average of 25,000 attendees, although in the new online format participation has risen to over 250,000 visitors. It is the moment when new tools, initiatives, and services are announced to continue advancing in the digital transformation in which we are immersed.

Microsoft Ignite is a meeting for all those professionals who want to face and prepare for current and future challenges, as well as anticipate the needs of their customers and improve their lives through technology.

When and where Microsoft Ignite 2021 is held

Microsoft Ignite 2021 is now dated and will be from 2 to 4 November, in an event full of surprises. The 3-day meeting will be online due to the limitations stemming from the pandemic, but this is a big plus because now the possibilities to attend are much greater. In addition, this edition of Ignite promises to be much more inclusive, as it is no longer only aimed at developers and IT professionals but is also aimed at anyone who is motivated to be at the frontier of innovation and technology. 

Despite being in digital format, the event will keep its eagerness to connect technology professionals and will do so through specific sessions called “Connection and learning zone”, where attendees will be able to meet experts, connect with peers, and learn new skills. In addition, there will be a question-and-answer session with experts, product roundtables, cloud skills challenges, and custom queries.

Once again this year, the event will feature figures such as Satya Nadella (CEO of Microsoft), Vasu Jakkal (CVP, Microsoft Security, Compliance & Identity), Scott Guthrie (EVP, Cloud and AI Group), Alysa Taylor (CVP, INdustry and Data Marketing), among many others.

The previous edition was held in March 2021 and was also in an online format, where they gathered almost 270,000 attendees, and it is expected that this edition can surpass those numbers 

How to attend Microsoft Ignite?

This edition will be broadcast live from Redmond, Washington, worldwide.  

Registration is open and anyone who wants to register can participate in the event

Microsoft Ignite 2021 Recap

*Remember that as the sessions take place, we will update this post with all the information presented.

Day one summary

The first day started very strong with announcements of great new features and enhancements, emphasizing security, cloud, and enterprise apps. Satya Nadella stated that we will find much more digitization in the next ten years than in the past four decades and that Microsoft is heading into an era of ubiquitous computing and ambient intelligence. Here are the highlights:

Microsoft Loop

This is a new application aimed at enhancing hybrid work. It features a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move between applications. It encompasses OneNote, Teams, and Outlook and generates shared spaces that allow individuals and teams to see and group everything necessary to a project. It makes it easy to catch up on everything others are working on, as well as being able to track toward shared goals.

The three main elements of Loop are: looping components, looping pages, and looping workspaces. It stands out for its fluidity, which opens to a new and modern way of collaboration. More information about its availability will be released in the coming months, but the preview will probably be available in summer 2022.

 

Azure OpenAI Service

This new service combines access to powerful GPT-3 language models with Azure’s enterprise capabilities. It will bring security, reliability, compliance, data privacy, and new tools that ensure model outputs are appropriate for every business.

Models can be customized to handle a wide variety of use cases that require deep language understanding, covering actions ranging from converting natural language into software code to reducing large amounts of text and generating answers to questions.

Microsoft Viva

The first four Viva modules have been generally launched: Connections, Insights, Topics, and Learning. And coming soon is the Ally.io module, aimed at helping individuals and teams align and achieve business results.

More and more partners are being added, and more features will be upgraded, some premium and some generalized.

Microsoft Mesh and Teams

Microsoft Mesh

The metaverse is in the innovation news day after day, and Microsoft is not far behind with Mesh. We were able to see a demonstration of how the platform integrates with Microsoft Teams, where you can live new experiences with personalized avatars in immersive spaces. They promise to create memorable experiences without cameras, as avatars can be independent of them and allow companies to create immersive spaces that act as real offices.

In addition, Mesh allows you to leverage documents and presentations hosted in your Microsoft 365 safely and securely. The target date for this to be possible in Teams as a preview is the first half of 2022.

Teams Connect

Following on from one of Microsoft’s giants, Teams, it was announced that by Q1 2022 we would be able to preview the platform’s shared channels. Teams Connecta will facilitate cross-organizational collaboration on a large scale. These shared channels can be shared with individuals and teams from multiple organizations, where there will be a calendar for scheduling meetings with up to 50 teams and unlimited organizations.

teams connect

Events and webinars

 

Continuing with the new features of Microsoft Teams, numerous improvements and capabilities will be included when it comes to conducting virtual events:

  • A virtual green room: scheduled for release in early 2022 will allow event organizers and presenters to monitor chat, manage attendee settings, and share content. All before the event begins.
  • Enhanced Controls: Manage what attendees are seeing at any given time more effectively.
  • Co-organizer: Up to 10 co-organizers can be added with the same permissions as the meeting organizer.
  • Isolated audio feed: everyone will enable new mixing options.
  • And the Q&A session is now available for team meetings, where you can have a moderated way to keep track of what is being discussed.

Context IQ

It is an AI experience integrated into Microsoft 365 and whose primary function is to predict, search and suggest information that people need when they need it. It integrates with Microsoft Editor, Teams, Dynamics 365, and Loop.

It can be used to make related Loop component suggestions for Dynamics 365 sales records, in addition to third-party components. According to Microsoft, it will help attach, inserting or share files; find available calendar schedules; tag contacts in a file; inputting data or objects.

Microsoft Customer Platform

This solution focuses on companies that want to gain control of their customer data and deliver connected experiences. Companies will be able to connect directly with their customers, with full ownership of their data and on their own terms.

The platform uses artificial intelligence to predict customer intent better, accelerate time to market, and deliver the right content at the right time and on the right channel. In addition, thanks to AI, customers can be offered a connected experience in a new and more powerful way.

Cloud Platforms

Microsoft Cloud is now available in more than 60 data centers, and you can now go deeper into Azure, starting with hybrid and multi-cloud.

Azure Arc

Already announced at the previous Ignite and now adding enhancements to Azure Arc-enabled data services, such as better support for VMware vSphere, new integrations with Azure Stack HCI. You can now leverage Azure’s comprehensive security, governance, and management capabilities for your Windows, Linux, SQL Server, and Kubernetes deployments in your data centers, at the edge, or across multiple clouds.

Azure Synapse Link Dataverse

Its preview will be ready in 2022 and brings immediate insights with high-value data from Dynamics 365. Customers will be able to easily access machine and user data to help improve business decisions.

Azure Container Apps

Another cloud service announced at this edition of Ignite is this serverless application-centric hosting service where users do not manage any cloud infrastructure. The solution allows running application code packaged in any container to scale in response to HTTP requests, events, or background jobs.

Addresses specific requirements for microservices, including encryption for communication and version control.

SQL Server 2022

The preview version of the most flexible, scalable, and cloud-connected SQL Server format so far was presented. It offers easier integration and comes with options in all languages and platforms.

Corporate security

Microsoft Defender for Business

Due to the high relevance of security in an enterprise, this new endpoint solution is presented as the perfect tool for dealing with cyber-attacks targeting small and medium-sized businesses. It is easy to use and cost-effective, targeting companies with up to 300 employees that want to elevate security to next-generation protection, threat management, intelligent and automated remediation…

Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Formerly known as Microsoft Cloud App Security, it now has enhanced multi-cloud capabilities. It is a tool that manages security and threat protection for cloud-hosted resources. It provides the necessary tools to strengthen a company’s resources and protect against cyberattacks, optimize security management, and track security posture.

It is based on three key points: continuous assessment, assurance, and defense.

Day two summary

Day 2 of the fall edition of Microsoft Ignite was marked by product demos announced on the first day, which was the event’s highlight.

Business applications

connected spaces

 

We were able to see how Microsoft is using data as the backbone to solve business problems and help them become more predictive. They put particular focus on Dynamics 365 and Power Platform solutions:

  • Dynamics 365 Sales: Microsoft uses data to make it easier for sales teams to interact intelligently with their customers.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service: The way sales support customers during an end-to-end sales cycle has been revamped, as they receive intelligently suggested cases based on their experience and workload.
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Insights: It allows us to investigate the health of our clients, obtain suggestions for action and prevent failures.
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing: This tool focuses on receiving AI-suggested content ideas so that employees can easily create official, hyper-personalized outreach content.
  • Power Apps: We saw how combining applications in Power Apps with Modern App Designer, and Dataverse makes it possible to create much more powerful apps in a much simpler way.
  • Power Automate: Coupled with Power Apps, using Power Automate is the perfect solution for documenting automation solutions with AI Builder capabilities.

Accelerating Cloud Migration and Modernization with Azure

We already knew it, but it is again clear that Azure is one of the critical platforms for Microsoft, and more and more organizations are adopting this type of cloud solutions. They focused on security as the backbone of Azure to ensure a secure hybrid cloud, backed by Microsoft Defender and AI. We could see how Azure provides the enterprise-level infrastructure in the demo, allowing you to innovate faster and at a lower cost.

Microsoft Cloud for Nonprofits

A report was presented saying that 95% of funders would contribute to helping nonprofits if they moved to a more technology-driven model to improve their goals. So this platform is perfect for that, bringing together reliable and intelligent cloud capabilities, plus industry-specific solutions to accelerate the impact of these organizations. It is based on four principles:

  • Fundraising and simple administration powered by Dynamics 365.
  • Administration of volunteers and their information.
  • Marketing trajectory of constituents and campaigns.
  • Volunteer engagement to better understand volunteers and their overall impact on results.

Power Platform and low-code applications

We were able to see demonstrations of the most important Power Platform-tools: Power BI, Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power Virtual Agents. In addition, Fusion Teams was presented, a tool that will help: IT professionals to create applications and provide continuous governance; business analysts to identify teams, requirements and discover potential customers; developers to develop services that interact with APIs and legacy data; and developers to create services that interact with APIs and legacy data.

Innovation and data application

In this session, Microsoft wanted to show a different approach, although with the same goal: to accelerate the impact of organizations. They talked about DevSecOps with solutions such as Power Apps and Virtual Machines; other tools more focused on helping developers edit and automate applications such as Visual Studio Code, GitHub Actions and Playwright, etc.

Power Apps for mobile

power apps mobile

It was announced on the first day and further elaborated on this second day; Power Apps mobile apps are now available in preview for iOS and Android. This is a big boost for organizations to distribute applications natively through low-code solutions without accessing them through the Power Apps applications.

Microsoft Ignite 2021 Agenda

This edition will be especially focused on the field of Artificial Intelligence, business applications, innovation, cloud solutions, and Augmented Reality. But these are not the only fields to be addressed, as there will also be space for cybersecurity, Microsoft Edge, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and the PowerApps low-code / no-code platform, among others.

*Remember that as the sessions take place, we will be updating this post with all the information presented.

November 2

  • 4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Microsoft Ignite Preview: Join the hosts as they prepare the sessions throughout the day.
  • 4:15 p.m. – 7:00 PM Keynotes: hear from Microsoft leaders on unveiling the latest innovations that are shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure enterprise environments of the future.
  • 7:30 PM – 12:00 AM Breakout Sessions: you will have the opportunity to select the sessions that best suit your interests.
  •  7:30 PM – 12:00 AM Connection Zone and Learning Zone: connect with the global community of experts in live interactive sessions, earn Microsoft certifications, and more.

November 3

  • 3:15 AM – 6:00 AM Welcome to the Microsoft Ignite APAC webcast: hear from Microsoft leaders as they unveil the latest innovations that are shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure business environments of the future.
  • 6:00 AM – 9:00 Connection Zone: Join the community and hear from local Microsoft leaders and experts through these local sessions.
  • 9:00 AM – 11:45 AM Welcome to the Microsoft Ignite EMEA webcast: hear from Microsoft leaders on unveiling the latest innovations that are shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure business environments of the future.
  • 4:00 PM – 4:10 PM Welcome to the second day of Microsoft Ignite.
  • 4:10 PM – 6:00 PM Microsoft Into Focus Business Applications: Join Microsoft leaders and engineers to discuss news and innovations.
  • 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM Microsoft Into Focus Security: Hear from Microsoft leaders and industry experts on trending security topics.
  • 4:30 PM – 12:00 AM Breakout Sessions: you will have the opportunity to select the sessions that best suit your interests.
  • 4:30 PM – 12:00 AM Connection Zone and Learning Zone: connect with the global community of experts in live interactive sessions, earn Microsoft certifications, and more.

November 4

  • 2:00 AM – 6:00 AM Welcome to the Microsoft Ignite APAC webcast: hear from Microsoft leaders as they unveil the latest innovations that are shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure business environments of the future.
  • 6:00 AM – 9:00 AM Connection Zone: Join the community and hear from local Microsoft leaders and experts through these local sessions.
  • 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Welcome to the Microsoft Ignite EMEA webcast: hear from Microsoft leaders as they unveil the latest innovations that are shaping the flexible, innovative, and secure business environments of the future.

 

To keep you waiting, here is a video of the highlights of the previous edition.

 

Elena Canorea
Author
Elena Canorea
Content & Copywriter

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