Today Kenya technology professionals and enthusiasts had an inside look at the latest generation of products and services from Microsoft and its partners, at a technology event designed to improve the way various professionals  communicate at work, at home and on the go.

“For over 18 years we have worked with over 20,000 commercial partners across Africa delivering a vast array of software products, services and solutions,” said Louis Otieno, General Manager Microsoft, East and Southern Africa. “However in Kenya this is the first time we have invited local technology professionals and enthusiasts to share our approach to the next generation of computing backed by an industry-leading annual investment of $9.5 billion in research and development spanning the PC, mobile phone and Web.”

‘Open Door’ is one of 14 Microsoft  experiential  technology showcases taking place in Africa in 2010-2011, reaching 6,000 people  across 12 countries including Algeria, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Libya, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, Tunisia and South Africa.

“Participating with Microsoft in this Open Door event emphasizes our joint commitment to delivering the latest technology solutions to consumers, business and developers alike across East Africa” said Harry Chager, the Chief Executive Officer of Computer Revolution Africa, a Microsoft business partner in East Africa.

Based on over 18 years’ of experience of working in 54 countries across Africa, Microsoft demonstrated a number of products and services at the ‘Open Door’ showcase, including:

  1. Communication: The brand new Microsoft Lync 2010 provides a single platform that integrates audio, video and instant messaging. Forrester Research estimates that customers can expect a 337% return on investment in Lync in just 12 months based on reductions in the cost of  PBX telephone systems, IT labor, calls to the IT help desk, as well as travel.
  1. Connection: With emails, contacts, photos and documents scattered among different personal computers and devices, Windows 7 and Windows Live Essentials 2011 simplifies the things people do every day by using the power of the Internet to help people create, connect and share what’s important anytime, from virtually anywhere. Since Microsoft launched Windows 7 a year ago, Microsoft has sold more than 240 million licenses worldwide with a 94% customer satisfaction rate.
  1. Collaboration: Microsoft Office 2010, along with popular productivity applications – Microsoft SharePoint 2010, Microsoft Visio 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 – help people connect, express ideas and solve problems. Microsoft also offers a free online companion to Word, PowerPoint, Excel and OneNote, called Microsoft Office Web Apps that gives people the freedom to easily access, edit, and share Microsoft Office documents online. Web Apps help preserve the look and feel of a document regardless of device, so content and format are generally preserved while moving between the PC, mobile phone and Internet browser.
  1. Cost-saving: By using the scale of the Internet to connect a variety of technical devices and endpoints – anything from a huge server to the smallest of mobile phones – so that they can work together, the ‘cloud’ ties Lync 2010, Windows 7, Windows Live Essentials 2011 and Office 2010 together and represents the most affordable and flexible computing experience yet for Microsoft customers. With IT as a service now available in a private ‘cloud’ on premise, hosted by a partner or in a Microsoft datacentre, people or businesses anywhere in Africa can choose where and how they manage, deploy and store their data  in the ‘cloud’.

Open Door event is designed to share the latest technology advancements with IT Professionals and developers in local markets, providing participants a chance to ask Microsoft’s specialists general or specific questions. The forum serves to educate users on the functionality of various technology products, solutions and services and how these can make their lives easier.