Thursday, April 2, 2015

Microsoft Convergence Atlanta 2015 (#CONV15) - Day 4


Phew! How about that OneRepublic concert?

Day 4 is finally here and with it, all good things must come to an end. For a change, today David and I managed to make it down to the GWCC on time and had a fairly relaxed breakfast at the Meal Hall to then move over to the Phillips Arena for one very interesting closing keynote.

As customary, an energetic Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America welcomed the crowd to the event and proceeded to recap the week and what will be seen from Microsoft in the coming months.

Judson Althoff, President Microsoft North America
The first thing in his opening was to remind the audience how Convergence is becoming the premier event for business and that Microsoft, at its core, is "the productivity and platform company for the mobile first, cloud first world" and how the company is thinking about innovation and technology.

Althoff then introduced the upcoming events, Microsoft Ignite which is geared to showcase innovations for IT professionals, the Dynamics User Group Summits hosted by Dynamic Communities.

Microsoft Ignite

Dynamics User Group Summits
Althoff then zeroed in on the upcoming Convergence events and announced the dates and locations for Convergence 2015 EMEA and Convergence 2016 New Orleans. The latter received a round of shouts from the audience.

Convergence next stops
Then came the topic of the day: Cyber-security and the work being conducted by Microsoft and its Digital Crime Unit to counter the effects of online criminal activity.


After a short intro video (above), David Finn, Executive Director Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit who then introduced the work of the new division opened just 16 months ago and located in Redmond, Washington. The unit fights two types of crimes: Technology-facilitated crimes which targets vulnerable population such as children and the elderly, and Malware and reduction of digital risk.

David Finn, Executive Director Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit
Finn then presented a number of grim statistics around the children victimization and introduced Microsoft PhotoDNA, a new cloud based solution that can be licensed by anyone to detect awful images and report them to law enforcement organizations around the world.

Microsoft PhotoDNA
David Finn then addressed the topic of malware and cyber criminal activity using botnets and how Microsoft assisted with the Citadel Malware case, which involved the infection of over 91 million PCs and the hijack of close to half a billion dollars ($500M). The case had a particular focus on using visualization and big data to analyze infection patterns across the world.

The Citadel Case

Citadel Infection Pattern
As a result of these efforts, Microsoft is experimenting with new visualization and sonification techniques to understand infection patterns. One such technique is dubbed the Specimen Box and was presented during the session.




After the closing session, we returned to the GWCC to do some walk around the Expo. I stopped at the booth of my friends and partners at FieldOne to congratulate them for their new achievement. Microsoft has named them a Dynamics CRM Global ISV which shows their commitment to developing the channel and producing quality products.

The FieldOne team

From the Expo, I went to Mark Polino's session CS15G003-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP: New 50 tips in 50 minutes, a jammed pack session filled with bite size tips on Microsoft Dynamics GP functionality. Mark had a full room and as the rock star he is, he commands quite the attention from the attendees. I have to admit I picked up a few good tips for my toolbox.

Up next, I had to complete the repeat of my upgrade session, CS15G002-R2 Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015: Upgrading and deploying. I had been assigned the last slot on the last day of the event, which I have been doing for the past 6 years now. While I did not have the same amount of attendees as with my first bout at this session, 85 people were still pretty good, considering that a lot of people left to catch their flights early in the morning.

After my repeat session, it was time for some relaxation and the famous Tim Tam Slams. Earlier, I had sent out a tweet to a number of people to meet up at the Omni Hotel bar for what has become a tradition among a select few of us. Before the slams though, I managed to meet with a group of friends from Colombia to explain some good ol' fashioned Microsoft Dynamics GP architecture and deployment options for their company and how the web client and Microsoft Azure have revolutionized the way Microsoft Dynamics GP is deployed.

I then moved over to the bar with my friends Olga Acosta and Eddie Yepes to grab a drink before sitting down for Tim Tam Slams.


Olga Acosta does the Tim Tam Slam



Eddie Yepes does the Tim Tam Slam (and fails miserably!)

The final stretch of the evening would have me doing dinner with my good friends and fellow MVPs Belinda Allen, John Lowther, and of course David Musgrave at Dantanna's Downtown location, inside the CNN Center. We spent the evening chit-chatting from one thing to another and enjoying John's vicious appetite for Thousand Island dressing on his salad.

After a wonderful meal and excellent service we proceed to leave, not without running into the Njvity folks.

Chris Dobkins, Mariano Gomez, Emily Roen, and David Musgrave
The event was now over for good and it was time to leave. I really could use some sleep... but wait, still more to come.

Until next post!

MG.-
Mariano Gomez, MVP

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