Learn about new developments from Microsoft WPC 2016 and how digital transformation, HoloLens, Internet of Things, Azure Stack and Mobile technologies can help you achieve more.

Consistent strategy

Each year Microsoft’s global partners gather to get news of the latest developments within Microsoft. This year the event was held in Toronto, Canada, and it started with a great opening speech from Microsoft’s CEO.

Microsoft CEO Satya NadellaSatya Nadella emphasized the importance of the partner network to “empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more”. Nadella expressed that partners are crucial for enabling customers to transform their own business and reinvent productivity with the technologies provided by Microsoft.

Two years ago Nadella discussed the empower-mission and how Microsoft is the productivity and platform-company for the mobile-first and cloud-first world. All Microsoft products and solutions are connected in one cross-platform, cross-device, operation system that is focused on the combination of work and private life of people. As businesses are increasingly becoming part of the open world within social media and mobile workforces, so consumers are targeted with mobile devices and applications that also contribute to the productivity of the organization. Now with machines becoming more intelligent and increasing connectivity, so they too can contribute and provide insight to help people achieve more.

Digital transformation

Five mega trends – Cloud, Big Data & BI, Mobility, Social and Security – were the key themes for the event 2 years ago. These trends are still important but have now evolved into Microsoft’s three major interconnected ambitions in their go-to-market strategy for the Digital Transformation:

Digital Transformation
Reinvent productivity & business processes

By removing barriers between productivity tools and business applications beyond the borders of Microsoft products.

Build the intelligent cloud platform
The Azure platform is crucial in building new and intelligent productivity solutions within any industry.

Create more personal computing
Which is about social and mobile within the corporate business processes, while separating private from business life.

New developments for owner operators

During WPC 2016, Microsoft showcased many new developments during keynotes, parallel sessions and stage presentations. Some partners also showcased their specific solutions using Microsoft technology. From all the new developments shown in the event, here are a few that are of interest to owner operators in capital intensive process industries, such as Oil & Gas, Metals & Mining, Utilities, Pharmaceutical and Chemical.

HoloLens – mixed reality in practice

HoloLens was a big topic during the conference. Two major applications of mixed reality (mixing the digital world with the real world), were demonstrated:

HololensUse of the HoloLens for training purposes
The person on stage was looking at a large digital turbine and had to indicate certain parts to pass the training, including indicating where safety zones must be applied in the real world. This application is very useful to train employees to operate or maintain a production line.

Data analysis of user behavior
Another example was to include the results of the players in a 3D mockup of the golf course, allowing the owners to optimize the course design and improve personal skills. This application could be transferred to a production plant to analyze the way multiple employees are executing repetitive maintenance activities.

Mixed reality could also be used within the engineering phase for plant modifications. The new design could be added to the real world to analyze collisions or gaps with the existing factory, the construction phases or how easily future maintenance activities could be executed.

Internet of Things

Julia White - Microsoft General Manager Cloud Platform

Microsoft is delivering various technologies to connect machines and monitor asset performance. Microsoft Azure is crucial in these developments for its integrated machine learning and analytics capabilities. The Internet of Things in industrial environments is about equipment performance optimization, which requires many instruments to monitor the production process itself. The challenge is to combine asset performance with production optimization.

At WPC 2016, the company OSIsoft showed how their PI Connect system integrates with MS Azure to monitor the impact of asset performance on production. Resulting changes to asset data or necessary plant modifications will successively be executed with the integrated environment of BlueCielo Meridian.


Azure Stack

Even though Microsoft has 34 data centers around the world (more than AWS and Google combined), there are still companies which, due to regional security and compliance restrictions, cannot benefit from Azure services. Azure Stack is a new hybrid cloud platform product from Microsoft that enables organizations to deliver Azure services from their own data center. This means that anyone will be able to deploy those same Azure services, opening up new possibilities for cloud-based technologies to reach on-premises scenarios. Microsoft Azure Stack is due for release mid-2017.

Mobile devices for hazardous environments

Mobile devices on site is still poorly adopted in hazardous environments for which the Class 1 Division 2 (C1D2) certification is required. Microsoft has participated in the development of a Surface Pro that can be used under this certification and mobile applications can help optimize the onsite business processes. Learn more about Rugged Tablets here.

Concluding thoughts

The ambition of Microsoft to reinvent productivity and optimize business processes is reality today. It is up to solution providers and independent software vendors to use their new technologies in practical and amazing applications. BlueCielo has made the step with the Azure-based Meridian 360 Portal to provide our customers the most modern approach to engineering collaboration in the cloud. We look forward to bringing these new technologies to our customers.

If you’d like to discuss any of the topics raised at Microsoft WPC 2016, please contact us.

More from WPC16

Visit the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2016 event site for more news, links and the event infographic, get the latest on twitter with #WPC16, or watch one of these short videos.

Highlights from WPC16 – Day 1

Highlights from WPC16 – Day 2

Highlights from WPC16 – Day 3