Microsoft Think Next 2016 …
Microsoft Think Next 2016 wasn’t just the annual pilgrimage as this year was the 25th Anniversary of Microsoft opening the R&D Center in Israel.
You’re probably asking yourself a crucial question though…
What Is Think Next?
As mentioned in previous years, Microsoft Think Next is the annual show and tell of cutting edge, in-house innovation, several startup graduates of Microsoft Israel’s Accelerator program and others working within the Microsoft ecosystem.
It is also involves a keynote and presentations. Demofest is the show and tell part and it was a truly incredible display of technology, innovation and disruption; ranging from the Microsoft Surface Pro 4, Surface Book to the BBC Microbit, a robot that can pick apples off a tree, various medical related startups and much more:
I got to go hands on with the Surface Pro 4, Surface Book, connect my Windows Phone 950XL to a Continuum dock and more. A measure of the interest in these startups and Microsoft’s own products were the large groups of people around each station waiting to meet the product owners / founders and hear all about their products.
Each of these startups was Israeli born and bred, and much of the Microsoft technology on display was developed to some degree in the Israel R&D center. Not for nothing, the Startup Nation.
The Keynote, Presentations And A Surprise Guest
The presentations kicked off with an introduction from Zack Westfeld & Dana Porter Rubinstein (senior members of Microsoft Israel). Yoram Yaacovi followed (General Manager of Microsoft Israel), and then a congratulatory video message from Bill Gates. This led into the keynote by Satya Nadella, followed by presentations from 3 incredible speakers, each e impacting the lives of people worldwide.
- Dr Jasmin Fisher of Microsoft Research, Cambridge gave an awe inspiring speech on the now and future of cancer mapping research.
- Gerald Jay Sanders, the CEO of SkyTran Inc presented his vision for high-speed, rapid transit. Sanders explained how he, NASA and Israel Aircraft Industries are working together to create magnetically propelled elevated (or not) capsule or bullet trains. The word train does not do this justice, hit the link for SkyTran and see for yourself.
- Dr Raz Itzchaki Tamir , the CEO of SkyFi explained his vision of bringing worldwide, affordable communication coverage thru a network of mini-satellites.
Not for nothing do people attribute the incredible change to Microsoft to CEO, Satya Nadella. He is clearly an inspirational leader with a vision for where he wants to take Microsoft. His keynote delivered with several exceptional quotes:
“There is no doubt that a country like Israel is going to change the world.”
(Borrowing from Hololens about Think Next) “When you change the way you see the world; you change the world you see.”
Here is a sample of the impact Microsoft Think Next and particularly Satya Nadella’s comments made (via Twitter)
The Warptest POV
I came to Microsoft Think Next 2016 with high expectations and I wasn’t disappointed. The Microsoft Accelerator Startups demonstrated a variety of game changing products, as did Microsoft. It was difficult to give back the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book I tried out.
The atmosphere was beyond optimistic, beyond enthusiastic. Microsoft Israel’s team of employees brought their A-game and mingled, demonstrated and provided a fantastic event. Microsoft Think Next 2016 is the best Think Next yet. Besides all this, Think Next is a great networking opportunity and it certainly didn’t disappoint for this either.
Yoram Yaacovi spoke in detail about the variety of new jobs descriptions being created by new innovations. One of several examples he gave was the need for skilled divers to maintain Microsoft’s new undersea data centers. This combined with Satya Nadella’s keynote outlines a glowing future for Microsoft and especially Microsoft Israel that is happening in the now.
It certainly helped me to start changing the way I see the world. How about you?
Many thanks to Microsoft Israel R&D and the person behind their Twitter account for all the help before and after the event. They were kind enough to provide some corrections to mistakes in the original post.