Microsoft’s bi-annual Tech Ed officially kicked off in Durban, South Africa on late Tuesday afternoon. The event serves to provide insight, previews and workshops to IT leaders and decision makers from across the continent.
Microsoft’s Managing Director Mteto Nyati apologised for not being able to attend Tech Ed in person but opened the keynote with a pre-recorded video message, saying that “I’m busy in Redmond with next year’s planning”. Redmond is the city in California where Microsoft’s head office is based in the US.
After a short video introduction, Nyati said that he is incredibly optomistic about the growth of Africa as a continent regarding technology. “Much of the drive will come from within Africa. We are optimistic about the growth, businesses opportunities and the potential of the people. We need to continue to share the world that we live in, to make it better for everyone,” Nyati said.
Microsoft also added that over a terabyte of internet connectivity flows through their data centres.
Various forms of entertainment accompanied keynote presentations, with colourful displays of artistic dance lighting up the presentation floor. Tech Ed forms part of Microsoft’s drive to not only show end users and IT professionals what is possible with Microsoft, but what is possible in Africa.
“People often talk about the power technology has in changing the world. True, in Africa, accelerated change comes through technology,” said Andisa Ntsubane, Marketing and Communications lead for Microsoft South Africa.
A number of coding aspects were demonstrated with Microsoft’s Visual Studio, and, in particular, the ease of use in applying NFC (Near-field Communication) functionality into an app with two simple clicks. “Seriously Visual Studio is enormously powerful. It makes working with Windows Phone 8 a cinch for programmers,” said technology expert and analyst Steven Ambrose.
Microsoft South Africa’s developer platform head, Clifford de Wit served as master of ceremonies. “Since the last TechEd event 18 months ago, we’ve seen new versions of practically every product and service in our portfolio,” De Wit told the 2500 delegates. “The drive behind this massive wave of innovation is a focus on cloud-enablement, which we see as a key area of focus for all businesses.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor