B2B Trending Conversations: Summer conference special

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As summer heats up across North America, so too does the B2B conference calendar. This week, B2B Conversation has our collective ears to the scorched sidewalk—OK, we’re really monitoring social media—to bring you the latest buzz from July’s hottest B2B events from across the continent. From Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto to OpenText’s Enterprise World user conference in Nashville to Cisco Live in sizzling Sin City, here’s a roundup of what’s happening at all the big gatherings.

OpenText Enterprise World (Nashville)

OpenText CEO disses IBM’s Watson

CMS Wire reports on beef between OpenText CEO Mark Barrenechea and IBM’s Watson supercomputer. Barrenechea blasted IBM’s cognitive learning engine for its closed ecosystem of deployment and development and urged enterprises to instead invest in his company’s future cognitive analytics technology instead. “Our path on software is pure openness: open standards and open algorithms,” Barrenechea said. “IBM’s platform is closed. Our hardware is built open standard x86 You can chose your vendor, and you can choose your design. With IBM Watson, it’s closed. You use the Watson mainframe when you’re there.”

Barrenechea added that IBM’s algorithm ownership “makes no sense,” noting that “with us, you write your algorithm, you own it.” His barbed attack drew a quick rebuke from IBM Watson Chief Technology Officer Rob High, who told CMS Wire that the company’s cognitive APIs and services on the Watson platform “are available to the public on our Watson Developer Cloud.”

Outer space in the B2B space

OpenText is headquartered in Ontario, Canada, home of astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space. There was naturally much excitement when Hadfield, who was recently named “the most social media savvy astronaut ever to leave Earth,” was announced as an #OTEW keynote speaker. Hadfield, whose speech was described as “inspiring” and “thought provoking,” stressed that any adventure involves risks, whether in space, business or any other endeavor in life.

Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (Toronto)

Microsoft and GE partership

The big news out of #WPC16 is the exciting partnership between Microsoft and General Electric that will make GE’s Predix platform for the Industrial Internet available on the Microsoft Azure cloud for industrial businesses. “The move marks the first step in a broad strategic collaboration between the two companies, which will allow customers around the world to capture intelligence from their industrial assets and take advantage of Microsoft’s enterprise cloud applications,” said Microsoft.

“Connecting industrial machines to the internet through the cloud is a huge step toward simplifying business processes and reimagining how work gets done,” GE CEO Jeff Immelt added. “GE is helping its customers extract value from the vast quantities of data coming out of those machines and is building an ecosystem of industry-leading partners like Microsoft that will allow the Industrial Internet to thrive on a global scale.”

Helping Microsoft partners and customers transform with new innovations

Microsoft demonstrated how it is enabling cloud-driven digital transformation around the world through its cutting-edge technologies. Schneider Electric, for example, is transforming the lives of millions of people in Nigeria by partnering with Microsoft and the Lagos State Electricity Board to provide more reliable solar power to over 170 schools and clinics. Using Azure IoT Suite and Cortana Intelligence to monitor and diagnose power usage, the partners are better able to predict and prevent power outages that plague the nation and deliver more reliable electricity around the clock.

“We hear consistently from our partners about how the cloud provides the opportunity for their customers to be more agile, derive intelligence to improve how they do business, and deliver apps businesses need,” said Microsoft Cloud and Enterprise CVP Takeshi Numoto.

Cisco Live (Las Vegas)

Practical strategies to drive innovation from vision to prototype

Girls In Tech founder and CEO Adriana Gascoigne walked attendees through the critical steps of developing and innovating an idea into a viable product, including defining problem statements, identifying ideal customers and finding practical ways to test new concepts. Gascoigne also highlighted practical tools that enable and empower entrepreneurs to drive innovation within their industry, including Slack, Basecamp and Asana.

Launched in 2007, Girls In Tech is a San Francisco-based global non-profit focused on the engagement, education and empowerment of girls and women who are passionate about technology that works “to create a support framework to help women advance their careers in STEM fields.”

Inforum 2016 (New York)

Constellation founder and chairman R “Ray” Wang asserts that the Internet of Things is more than just sensors, it is driving smart services like CX. Wang implores us to “stop thinking in channels and start thinking in settings and scenes,” with design points that deliver on channel ubiquity across a wide variety of settings and scenes for better digital customer experiences.

Are you a B2B content marketing specialist? Check out last week’s edition of B2B Trending Conversations from Sarah Dawley here. As always, if you have any B2B content or ideas you think we should focus on next week, let us know via @b2bnewsnetwork. We love hearing from you!

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for U.S. news. Based in San Francisco, he is the editor and publisher of Moral Low Ground and is a Yahoo! Featured Political Contributor.