For information technology professionals working in a business enterprise environment, there is one undeniable constant: change. Whether it is innovative technologies, evolutionary new products, or revolutionary services, there is always some breakthrough on the horizon. Keeping up to date with these changes is one of the most difficult jobs IT pros must deal with.
One of the best ways to track these changes in technology is by attending, either physically or virtually, educational conferences and seminars, particularly ones produced by primary vendors. In Microsoft's case, these conferences give IT pros insights into what the company is planning for future products and services, as well as providing updated information and training for current offerings.
The Microsoft conference and seminar schedule for 2018 is rather typical except for one glaring and, as yet unexplained, difference. So far, no date or location has been announced for the Microsoft Build 2018 conference. This is highly unusual, as the Build conference has been one of the major Microsoft events each year. It is unclear whether this is a change in philosophy or just a simple problem of logistics that will be resolved in the near future.
Here's a quick rundown of the several key conference and seminar offerings.
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Microsoft conferences and seminars
No date and no venue has been announced for Microsoft Build 2018 as of January 2, 2018. The Build conference is Microsoft's chance to motivate application developers to create products and services using the various Microsoft products. Cloud services in the form of Azure was the main focus in 2017. Breakout sessions and keynote addresses for Build 2017 are still available.
The annual Envision conference, which promoted changes in how enterprise executives should see technological innovations, has been largely reconstituted inside the Inspire conference for 2018. The keynote addresses from Inspire 2017 are still available.
Inspire: July 15-19, 2018
The Microsoft Inspire 2018 conference will be held in Las Vegas on July 15-19, 2018. Inspire is a gathering of members of the Microsoft Partnership Program. This is the conference to attend if your enterprise wants to reach out to Microsoft-centric enterprises.
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Ignite: September 24-28, 2018
The Microsoft Ignite 2018 conference will be held in Orlando on September 24-28, 2018. Note: This conference is already accepting registrations, which means it is likely to be sold out before long. The Ignite conference is where the latest innovators and entrepreneurial thinkers meet to discuss what technologies they are planning for the future.
Microsoft Connect(); is an on-demand online conference event that opened to the public in November 2017. The content from that event is still available. It is not clear whether the seminars and breakout training sessions will be updated in 2018, but since much of the content deals with collaboration techniques and how to use Microsoft products in that capacity, it may not need updating at all. Perhaps new material will be added in late 2018.
One reason Microsoft may be holding off on announcing a Build conference for 2018 is the multitude of small Tech Summits the company has planned for each month this year. Microsoft has designated the 2018 Tech Summit series as the place for IT decision makers, IT professionals, and developers to build their cloud skills.
The Tech Summits will be held in various cities several times a month. There are too many to name here, but you can find a city near you from the Tech Summits website. The series starts in January with events in Irvine, CA, Dallas, and Burlington, MA.
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For IT pros, keeping up with innovations, new products, and new services takes effort and commitment. The IT industry provides many avenues for continuing education, training, and personal development. Microsoft is offering dozens of free opportunities for learning with its conference schedule. The most forward-looking IT pros will take advantage of them.
- The takeaway from Build 2017: Competitive businesses must start developing for the cloud... or else (TechRepublic)
- Build 2017: Microsoft promises a turnkey globally distributed database service, Azure Cosmos DB (TechRepublic)
- Microsoft in 2017: The biggest hardware and software milestones (TechRepublic)
- Windows 10 in 2018: Microsoft offers new glimpse of life after Fall Creators Update (ZDNet)
What conferences are you attending in 2018? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.