“The era of ambient intelligence has begun,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said today as Microsoft revealed its work in unifying data, analytics, and people in an event centered on the launch of SQL Server 2014.

The company also tied in Microsoft Azure, mentions of SharePoint, Excel, and Office 365, and its Hadoop technology in the over-an-hour-long webcast.

The webcast included demos, as well as COO Kevin Turner and CVP Quentin Clark discussing data, data usage, and more. (See it on-demand starting April 16.)

Microsoft unveiled three key products:

SQL Server 2014. The latest version of SQL Server is noteworthy for bringing in-memory capability to all workloads – OLTP, data warehousing, and business intelligence (BI).

Analytics Platform System (APS). APS combines the best of Microsoft’s SQL Server database and Hadoop technology in one offering Microsoft likens to “big data in a box.”

Azure Intelligent Systems Service. This is a cloud-based service—or Internet of Things cloud service-- that goes into limited beta today, said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. It will “connect, manage, capture, and transform machine-generated data regardless of the operating system or platform.”

Microsoft also shared the results of new IDC research. (See infographic below.)

The research shows that companies that take a comprehensive approach to data stand to realize an additional 60 percent return on their data assets — a worldwide opportunity of $1.6 trillion.

Nadella promoted the idea of a data platform that allows companies of any size to create a “data culture”—that is, a workplace where the data that’s gathered gets to the people who can actually use it to take action.  

Once individuals gain insights from data, they’re “empowered” with information and can help their organization reap a “data dividend.”

For those who prefer a crisp, cryptic approach, Microsoft offered an equation:

 [data + analytics + people] @ speed

Data equals “Data from all kinds of sources, including SQL Server, Azure and accessibility of the world’s data from Excel,” according to Quentin Clark.

Analytics equals “insights from broad data –- analytics from SQL Server and Power BI for Office 365, and Azure HDInsight for running Hadoop in the cloud,” according to Clark.

And People? “It’s people asking questions about data that’s the starting point -- Power BI for Office 365 and Excel’s business intelligence features helps get them there.”

And speed? Well, think multiplier.

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