It was a breath-taking moment, when we gathered at the T-Mobile arena here in Las Vegas last Wednesday to listen to Satya Nadellas keynote speech. It was the first time Microsoft has put together the two most important signature events of the year: Ready and Inspire. 18000 people, employees from Microsoft and partner companies from all around the word, represented a tremendous workforce of 17 million men and women, who share one common goal: to make our customers more successful.
"Ultimately,” Satya Nadella said, “we've got to measure ourselves not by technology for technology's sake, but by how we are empowering people. How are we helping organizations with their digital transformational outcomes? That's what this is all about." The "paradigm shift" that's coming, Nadella said, is "probably bigger than anything that's come before."
This paradigm isn´t just about the move from analog to digital. It is far more than this. Microsoft is going to infuse nearly every use case with artificial intelligence. We will add new capabilities to nearly every device on earth, be it perceptiveness, speech comprehension or the ability to act and decide autonomously. To power all of this, the one thing that's needed is a ubiquitous, distributed computing fabric – like the Azure cloud platform.
Thus Azure is the infrastructure for artificial intelligence, where artificial intelligence itself is the ultimate computing power of the near future. AI will move to where ever data occurs. With Azure in its various offerings – like Azure Stack for hybrid clouds, Azure IoT Edge for the industrial internet of things and the recently announced Azure Sphere to monitor billions of microcontroller units – AI-powered computing will be embedded into everything. Microsoft and partners will be able “to turn every industry into an AI-first industry”, as Satya put it. “whether it's retail or health care or agriculture. We want to be able to make sure that they can take their data, in a secure, privacy-preserving way, and can work that into AI capabilities that they get the return on."
To establish this “ubiquitous, distributed computing fabric” Microsoft has already set up 54 regional data centers for Azure around the globe – including the very first underwater data center. Azure is the fastest growing cloud infrastructure and Microsoft is the second largest cloud provider catching up to Amazon´s Web Services. And our ecosystem with more than 72.000 partners and 17 million people is by far the largest workforce to make our customer´s success possible. Every month 7000 new partners sign up for cloud business, trainings and certificates.
And this was the magic moment of this year´s Ready and Inspire event: 18000 employees from all aspects of the Microsoft ecosphere together with CEO Satya Nadella. When ten percent of the world´s GDP will be spent for technology in 2030, Nadella asked us: What about the other 90 percent, when all of the operating devices are powered by digital technology? “That´s what the job number one, two and three is”, Satya said, helping the rest of the economy get the dividend because of digital technology!”
Are we Ready? Are we Inspired? Yes, we are!