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Microsoft Ignite New Zealand speaker line-up announced

Microsoft New Zealand has released the details about the speakers for its Ignite NZ 2015 Kick-Off event, which will take place this September.

The Microsoft Ignite events are targeted toward decision makers who want insight into key technology trends in the industry.

Kicking off the four-day conference in New Zealand, the keynote event - followed by the opening party - will take place at 4.00pm on September 1 at Vector Arena, in Auckland.

Ignite NZ 2015 marks the 20th year of Microsoft NZ hosting the nation’s biggest annual technology event, formerly known as TechEd. 

Some of the keynote speakers will be presenting additional sessions at the Ignite NZ conference, being held at SkyCity convention centre from 2-4 September.

Here, a range of speakers will present over 140 sessions to an anticipated 2,500 attendees on a range of topics including cloud infrastructure and management, productivity, big data and the Internet of Things, unified communications, mobility and more.

The full keynote line-up includes:

Joe Belfiore, Microsoft corporate vice president - PC, tablet and phone

Belfiore's team leads Microsoft's customer experience on personal computers, including phone, tablet and desktop.

Prior to his current role, Belfiore was CVP and director of program management. In this role he led the team responsible for the design and software product definition of Windows.

He also served as product unit manager for the Windows User Experience team throughout the planning and development of Windows XP.

After graduating from Stanford University, Belfiore began his career as an operating System Program Manager on OS/2.

He drove the design of the first Windows NT & Windows 95. He was also group program manager for Internet Explorer 4 and the Windows 2000 user interface before beginning his work on Windows XP.

Chris Ford, Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Co) RenderMan business director

For Ford, making photo-realistic computer graphics has been a career long project - he has been working on CGI in the film industry for more than 25 years.

Software applications managed by Ford have been awarded two Academy Awards for technological achievement and he is credited in ten feature films.

Ford has been the product manager for many of the best known modelling, animation, and rendering software tools used to design special effects and animation for films.

He is currently business director for the film industry’s leading photorealistic rendering software, RenderMan, at Pixar/Disney.

Outside of Pixar/Disney, he animates images of the cosmos for educational purposes using advanced visualisation techniques.

Laura Butler, Microsoft distinguished engineer

Butler began at Microsoft as an intern on Word for Windows 1.0, and since interning she has worked on the user interface in Windows 95 and as the director of development for Windows Phone CXE.

She also increased her cloud knowledge whilst on board the OneDrive and SharePoint teams before returning to Windows. 

Butler currently has 10 patents to her name.

James Staten, Microsoft general manager, cloud + enterprise division – strategy

Staten has spent more than 25 years in enterprise technology, delivered numerous keynotes and taught as a lecturer at leading business schools.

Before taking the helm at Microsoft’s intelligent cloud, Staten was an industry analyst, CMO, product market lead, journalist and reseller.

He has held key executive positions at firms including Gartner, Sun Microsystems, Azul Systems and Forrester Research.

During his time with Forrester, Staten conducted work in cloud computing that allowed Fortune 500 and global enterprises to develop successful cloud strategies.

He is now the forerunner of strategic planning and portfolio analysis for the cloud + enterprise division at Microsoft.