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Over the past week we’ve had our heads in the clouds – the Cloud Ecosystem, that is. Dreamforce is buzzing with talk of the latest innovations coming out of the Salesforce community – and even though the conference isn’t quite finished yet, we couldn’t wait ‘til next week to share some of the coolest solutions on the horizon:

The Internet of Things is now a Cloud!

Marc Benioff has channeled his obsession with the Internet of Things into a cloud-based super platform. The IoT Cloud is designed to capture that invisible world of data being created by customer interactions with smart devices and other connected “things” – be they wearables, sensors, or mobile devices. During the big reveal, its proposed usages ran the gamut from using sensors in thermostats to notify a homeowner of alerts, to informing rideshare passengers of upcoming traffic delays.
The driving force behind the emergent platform is Thunder, described by Doug Henschen of Constellation Research as “a big data pipeline and rules engine for streaming data.” Thunder boasts the ability to ingest and transform massive streams of data into any Salesforce app, arming businesses with hyper real – we’re talking 720 degree – customer insights. While the specific details are pretty murky at this stage – the platform is set to preview sometime in 2016 – there’s no denying the incredible value and infinite use-cases of being able to collect big data from pretty much anything with network connectivity.

Data-driven Sales Intelligence with SalesforceIQ

Capitalizing on last year’s RelateIQ acquisition, Salesforce announced the release of  SalesforceIQ, dubbed as “the future of selling for every business.” Using Relationship Intelligence technology, Salesforce IQ for Small Business and SalesforceIQ for Salescloud take data-driven intelligence and use it to enhance the relationship between companies and their prospects. Relationship Intelligence is at the frontier of predictive analytics, automatically capturing data from a variety of touchpoints in order to determine future outcomes and suggest actions to accelerate the sales pipeline. It plows through emails, calendars, social media accounts and other channels, recommending a course of action that will enable salespeople to close deals faster and make customer relationships stronger.

Salesforce and Microsoft – The Perfect Partnership?

Whether or not the Salesforce acquisition by Microsoft will ever happen, the two companies are cosier than ever following the announcement of new solutions that make their joint customers that much more connected. In the works, a Skype for Business integration with Salesforce Lightning Experience, a OneNote Integration with Salesforce Lightning Experience, and a Salesforce1 Mobile App for Windows 10, among others. The most talked about integration was Skype for Business, which, according to the press release, will allow Office 365 customers to “create Web meetings, determine if colleages are online or not, click to chat and make voice and video calls from the Salesforce Lightning Experience.”

Microsoft also took the dev-world by storm with its unveiling of the Azure Cloud Switch (ACS), its bespoke software-defined networking (SDN) OS. Kamala Subramaniam, Azure Network’s Principal Architect, described the innovation as a “cross-platform modular operating system for data center networking built on Linux.”  She goes on to say that the Linux-based OS “allows us to debug, fix and test software bugs much faster. It also allows us the flexibility to scale down the software and develop features that are required for our datacentre and our networking needs.” Once described by former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer as “a cancer,” Linux is now working in the company’s favor, particularly as more enterprises and developers turn to open source software. We’re excited about Microsoft’s openness to open source and can’t wait to see it all unfold over the coming months.

That’s all for now, we’ve still got more Dreamforcing to do! Stay tuned for a full roundup next week.