Microsoft Ignite is back. It's been 6 months since the last one - and if I am being honest, it feels like the last one only took place last weekend. Of course, in many ways the last one was really the first - the first in lockdown, the first where it wasn't possible for us to attend in person - but it was also the first to surpass 70,000 attendees as the remote experience opened it up to a much larger audience who otherwise wouldn't have been able to attend. But whether this one constitutes 'Ignite Part 2' or is a singular replacement for Ignite the Tour, we all find ourselves returning to the biggest IT pro event of the year at a different time: both in terms of the calendar and in terms of more optimism as we may begin to see a return to a degree of normal life as we know it this year. I, for one, am very interested to see Microsoft's take on the state of things. Last year, see heard a lot about resilience, about being digital responders and we saw narratives such as accelerating digital transformation to the cloud for business continuity and supporting remote workers as they deal with a spectrum of challenges, including emotional and mental well being. Will we see a continuation of these narratives or will we see a pivoting of this? Jared Spatero's session The Hybrid Workplace suggests we will and where Microsoft think we will all be operating post pandemic. But what is intriguing is Satya Nadella's keynote which will be held on AltspaceVR. As much as showing the power of technology and mixed reality, how does this feed into the narrative, and like AI, how in the years to come will we all be using mixed reality day to day within our hybrid workplaces to connect, and get work done. What's clear from the last year, is we no longer have to be there, and so doing, we ultimately - if we are true to ourselves, may find it is even better than the real thing.
It's time to start again. A new conference with a new name. Back in November we announced that we were leaving TeamsFest behind and moving forward with Teams Nation. It's a decision that we were thinking about for some time given we wanted to become more inclusive of our audience outside of Europe, but we also wanted to avoid conflict with other parties who had a desire to use the name. Now - as then - we wish them the very best and hope it brings them as much success that we had the last few years. So what have we been up to since then? Over the last two months, we have worked on consolidating our old user group, the European Teams User Group into the Teams Nation Monthly meetup and so far we've have had some awesome sessions from speakers such as Hadrian Nessim Socard, Tomasz Poszytek, Joao Ferreira and Albert Hoitingh. With more attendees than ever before, our meetup group has grown to over 150 members in a really short space of time. We've set up on Twitter. We've set up on LinkedIn. I think Vesku mentioned he spun something up on Insta. It's gone well so far with the kind of incremental growth that is really nice to see. We're already booking up for the monthly meetup into June
As this crazy year wraps up, I want to say a massive thank you to the community and for making me feel such a part of things throughout 2020. Involvement in the community and this deep sense of solidarity is a big reason why I feel that even whilst I am here, now, in Tier 4 lockdown being in the south of the UK, I haven't been impacted anywhere near the extent of others
Last week, we announced that TeamsFest has become Teams Nation. We also announced that we will be going ahead on Wednesday 26th May 2021 for the next event. Thank you so much for all the support you have given us as we take the next steps on our journey. We already have a few ideas, and are already in pre-planning discussions about the day itself
Having just finished the event a few weeks ago, Vesku, Adam, Chris and I had the opportunity to catch up before our monthly user group to have a look at the figures. We had over 1300 unique attendees at TeamsFest which was twice as large as our last event, and from over 300 feedbacks we received a speaker rating of 4.65/5 and an event score of 4.7/5 which is incredible considering we ran 85 sessions in a single day. We believe it to have been the largest amount of dedicated Teams breakout sessions ever attempted in a single day by any event, including Microsoft Ignite