Convergence 2015: big data, small patterns, better business — Weekend Reading: March 20 Edition

Where to start this week? With so much going on at Microsoft’s annual Convergence business community summit, held this year in Atlanta, we could almost call this week’s edition: “Convergence CliffsNotes.” Let’s get to it.

Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Satya Nadella kicked off the premiere business event, Monday, with a keynote address highlighting how businesses can use data to help predict trends and better understand their customers, which can lead to greater demand for their products and services as well as increased customer loyalty. “In a world of big data, small patterns matter,” he said.

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Also on Monday at Convergence, Microsoft unveiled Azure IoT Suite, a cloud-based tool for the Internet of Things as well as other tools that “push the edge of what’s now possible,” wrote Judson Althoff, Microsoft North America president, on The Official Microsoft Blog. In addition, Power BI and Office Delve are being rolled out globally, and Microsoft is bringing business collaboration to a whole new level through Skype for Business, with a technical preview unveiled Monday.

Giving our customers a chance to fall in love with products by giving them a free version – not just a trial version. That was one of six strategies for transforming the company’s marketing strategy shared by Chris Capossela, Microsoft executive vice president and chief marketing officer, in a keynote address at Convergence 2015. Other key, foundational themes for Microsoft’s marketing transformation over the past 18 months? Building marketing into products; using modern storytelling; having the world’s best data platform; using ad platforms, not ad campaigns; and having Microsoft’s brand play a bigger role, Capossela said.

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Speaking of great storytelling, Microsoft News Center’s Athima Chansanchai penned a couple of terrific pieces this week outlining real-world examples of how businesses are using Microsoft technology to be better. Big box giant Lowe’s used AccuWeather’s detailed forecasting to get its trucks out ahead of this winter’s challenging conditions and get much-needed home-fortifying supplies to their stores. Lowe’s is one of AccuWeather’s customers using the Microsoft Cloud to drive mission-critical enterprise solutions. Similarly, Los Angeles-based WASH Multifamily Laundry Systems uses Microsoft Dynamics to measure the company’s performance. Dynamics allows parts inventory, active service calls, collections and other daily operations to feed into one system, which everyone from an executive to a service tech can draw from to do their jobs better.

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Actually, there were a couple other items of note this week, beyond all of the excitement in Atlanta. Windows 10 will launch this summer in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world, Terry Myerson, Microsoft executive vice president of the Operating Systems group, announced Wednesday at the Windows Hardware Ecosystem Community (WinHEC) summit in China.

Also this week, Microsoft introduced the Lumia 430 Dual SIM, its most affordable Lumia phone, Thursday, making smartphone ownership a reality for more people around the world. With an estimated retail price of $70, the phone is built with the latest Windows Phone 8.1 software, which will be able to upgrade to Windows 10, and comes pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, Skype and OneDrive.

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In apps news, Madefire, the free comic book reader that transforms digital comics into interactive experiences with 360-degree panoramic views, is now available on Windows Phone. The Xbox Music app now lets you listen to music and playlists you’ve saved in OneDrive on your Windows Phone, PC and tablet. Or, if you’d rather listen to others sing, and battle for the opportunity to be famous doing it, cast your vote for NBC’s The Voice contestants and see results in real time using the The Voice Official App, now available on Windows Phone.

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This week on our global adventure to find people who #DoMore on the Microsoft Instagram page, we met Gisele Agnew, who is transforming lives through yoga and making candles to empower others.

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Here’s hoping this edition of Weekend Reading has inspired you to get out there, and do great things. See you next week.

Posted by Aimee Riordan
Microsoft News Center Staff