Notes and Comments From Indiblogger’s #MeetOffice365 Event

It’s been a couple of real busy weeks. With meetings, appointments all around. Didn’t quite get the time to reflect upon and share some thoughts on my little space here. Happy times, the new post time.

Well, not too long ago one of my friend on #twitter suggested me to register on indiblogger.in, a community for bloggers in India. It kind of was, surprising cause being active in the blogging sphere for almost six plus years I had never heard of this community?  Regardless, I took some time and after a thorough read and a bit of research, decided to register on it. The sole purpose for my registration on the site was to garner some attention and generate a keen readership for my blog here and also to participate in the monthly meets they organize, as a part of their bloggers social media initiative in collaboration with a few of some major brands and corporates in India.

I don’t know, how many of you knows that I started my career in 2007 as a technical support guy for a world class inter-networking and communication peripheral manufacturing company, with their outsourcing partner in India. Technology and “Cloud” in particular, has always been a subject of utter fascination to me. So, when Indiblogger with Microsoft decided to conduct an event to promote Microsoft’s latest Office in the Cloud offering, the brand new “Office365” – I was one of the first ones to register for the event.

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Indiblogger’s #MeetOffice365 Event at BlueFrog, Delhi.

I have been to a few such events in the past, and I can tell you that – this event was, if not better but at par with all my previous experiences. The place was crawling with a whole new breed of up and coming “home bloggers”, geeks and the usual celebrities among the regional blogging circles. I haven’t taken blogging seriously since 2010, when I had to shut down my tech blog and music blog, quite abruptly. But, I managed to struck all the right chords with some of these bloggers.  Even so, a few of them recognized me from our previous meets and from my “not so striking” social media presence.

After a much fanfare and usual introductions, Ritu Chaturvedi the Director of Microsoft India’s Office365 operations took the stage and started the presentation. A video of Steve Ballmertalking about the new features and the essence of on-the-go collaboration and social media updates in this latest release of Microsoft’s Office suite. Which was quite an introspection to the whole new Office365. I wasn’t really impressed, but considering the CEO of Microsoft is making a stand and providing a preview to what’s going to be the first major revamp and Microsoft Office release in the last decade or so was quite encouraging and commendable, to say the least.

Ritu, walked through a live demonstration to a lot of new features in the latest release with a prime focus on the Window’s retro messenger upgrade for enterprises called “lync“. If you are used to the usual windows live messenger for enterprise and exchange, you will find Lync to be a lightyears ahead of it’s predecessors.  With a whole new, clean user-interface and profile section with live updates from a range of social networks connected to a particular contact’s profile. Not to mention, the platform independence with Lync. Be it a PC, MAC or Smartphone/Tablet. You can access it anywhere.  And, it’s not just with Lync – the mantra behind the Office365 is “on-the-go collaboration with a sense of platform independence“.

Ritu was kind enough to walk us through a couple of new features in MS Word, and the process to the whole “cloud in the office” concept. How a user will be able to log-in and logout easily and store the files in the cloud with Skydrive Pro and will have the ability to save the files offline for editing purposes and how the auto-sync parameters can be defined.

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Ankur Arora from Microsoft India with Rajesh Gupta of Airtel Communications

The most interesting part of the event was the exciting QnA session which followed right after or sort of in-between the presentation. A lot of interesting questions – where Ankur Arora from Microsoft’s marketing team was able to follow through and answer most of the questions, with quite an ease (irrespective of a couple of usual hiccups in the audience). Not to mention, MS has teamed up with Airtel Business, where Airtel is offering a combined solution from a small/home offices or freelancers to medium businesses. The package consists of  features ranging from Exchange Email with Office Pro Plus 2013 for up to 5 devices to a DSL connectivity with a 2 MBPS connection. For further details on plans and other pre-requisites, feel free to visit their official page here.

Though, I was far from impressed – even though I liked the whole idea of office, cloud and everything. Perhaps, I am more inclined towards the user’s freedom in terms of software’s abilities. A long term user of OpenOffice and Google Docs offering for Small/Medium Enterprises. I think, the MS team was somewhat ignorant in terms of differentiation their offering with Google’s. A walkthrough to the differences and perhaps a highlight on the features and a USP of office365 could have been an eye opener for me, to say the least.

Over all, I liked this new hybrid offering from Microsoft. It’s been long time coming, if you ask me.  The subscription based Office365 service is definitely a breath of fresh air, to the usual MS fans. There’s no denying the fact that this could be the winner, MS been looking for. However, it’s remains to be seen how this new offering performs on the global usage insights and figures.

Special Note : A big thanks to Indiblogger for organizing this event. Gave me the chance to meet and make acquaintances with a bunch of amazing, outstanding individuals like –  Rajesh Gupta, Vineet Rajan, Ankur Arora, Renie Ravin and fellow outrageously innovative and creative bloggers like – Arvind Passey, Ashish Chawla, Vikas Bhatt, Kundan Pandey and other 200 odd thinkers, writers, creators and differentiators.

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