On October 14, 2015, Microsoft confirmed its 2016 event schedule, which most notably announced a change to the Ignite conference. Originally scheduled for May 9-13 in Chicago, the event has been rescheduled for September 26 - 30, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. Following a successful inaugural event in Chicago, Ignite 2015 saw more than 20,000 attendees occupy 90,000 room nights over the course of the event.
Microsoft’s first foray into a global unified conference, amalgamating individual technology conferences such as Microsoft SharePoint, TechEd and Project, was held in May 2015 and was largely seen as successful by insiders and the bulk of attendees. Conversely, some attendees felt it was difficult to focus on one technical track because of all the other competencies being covered at the same time. For example, an attendee who would have attended the SharePoint conference as well as TechEd in previous years, was now forced to decide which of the two tracks was most important. Though the presentations were made available on Channel 9 following the show, some prefer to see the content presented live.
The reasoning for Microsoft’s change in venue and time remains a mystery. The Chicago Tribune reported that Microsoft wanted to reschedule the event for later in the year, but McCormick Place, the largest conference facility in North America, boasting more than 2.6 million square feet of venue space, was unavailable.
Speculation is rampant that Microsoft is trying to give its product schedules some additional time to progress, while others believe that having its Build, Convergence and Ignite conferences in successive months is a drain on internal resources. For those who have been following the marketing efforts on the Ignite conference, you will note that Twitter and Facebook activities went cold weeks ago.
Regardless of the rationale, I’m looking forward to a great event in Atlanta or wherever the Microsoft world will converge.