Curtain-raiser: step up and enjoy the show

Chris Bell previews Microsoft New Zealand's main event for 2006

Sean McBreen is the director of Microsoft New Zealand’s developer and platform strategy group. He helped organise Tech Ed 2005 and has been involved in Tech Ed 2006 from the start. We asked him to take a peek behind the curtain and give us the low-down on what to look forward to this year.

It’s all about the user

“One of the key themes we want to focus on at this year’s event is putting the end-user back at the centre of our platform investments. For a long time we have been very focused on building the best possible core platform. Now, we want to build on this and empower people within businesses to help them achieve success.

“This renewed focus on people is evident in the speakers we’ve chosen for Tech Ed New Zealand in a number of ways. Firstly, we’ll be discussing the new user experience offered by the 2007 Office System and Windows Vista and how we see these products changing the way people interact with their PCs.

“In addition, we will be highlighting a number of technologies that help users harness the information contained within their corporate systems; turning data into insight through our business intelligence tools and technology.

“Our collaboration tools have also matured significantly and are a further focus of this year’s event. Colleagues in IT departments and technology organisations will find it much easier to work together, using tools such as Visual Studio Team System, while information workers will be able to collaborate seamlessly and in real-time with SharePoint Server 2007.

“At each Tech Ed, we feature content that addresses some of the key areas of concern for IT professionals and developers. This year we will have sessions on system security, operations, maintenance and system design and architecture to ensure the New Zealand IT community is at the forefront of technology and global standards.”

Session highlights

“With 128 sessions and more than 80 speakers covering so many different topics it’s hard to pick out highlights, so I would encourage each attendee to create their own customised schedule. Having said that, I think there are a few sessions with very broad appeal.

“The first highlight will be the keynote address. This year we have a set of fantastic speakers, including Sam Morgan from New Zealand’s largest website, Trade Me, accompanied by two senior Microsoft experts.

George Moore, who runs our Live development group, will provide an overview of Live services and outline how New Zealand developers can work with Live to create gadgets. Scott Guthrie, who runs our web technology group, will discuss advances we’ve made in web technology and demonstrate some of our latest innovations. Scott has been ranked the number one Tech Ed speaker of all time, so if you’re interested in the web, make sure you catch all four of his sessions.

“We also have a number of international speakers who are always received very well. Two of the most popular examples include Jesper Johansson and Steve Riley, who are both in the security track.

“Finally, we have some great local presenters. Rowan Simpson will share the inside story on Trade Me’s technology, Jeremy Boyd from Intergen will present a number of sessions focused on our .Net 3.0 technology and Myles Matherson will deliver a presentation discussing business intelligence.”

Tech Ed Live

“Each year we face the issue of trying to find a venue big enough to accommodate those who want to attend. To ensure developers and IT professionals who can’t make the event stay informed, we’ve created Tech Ed Live — a resource and community portal featuring blog-style coverage and commentary of keynote presentations and technical sessions and access to presentation materials. You’ll find it at”.`

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