Was that an earthquake this morning, Synergy? No! “It was the seismic waves we’re sending through the industry right now because of all the innovation at Citrix.” Citrix president and CEO David Henshall, not a man to be upstaged by a little 4.5 quake, kicked off the Opening Keynote with a thrilling look at the future of work, and how Citrix is making it possible right now.

Opening Keynote: experience, choice & security

More than half of all workloads will soon be running in the cloud. 2018 is likely to be the year where the world generates more data than all that is already in existence. And millennials — that digital-born, social-platform-dwelling generation — are now the largest portion of the workforce. To realize the benefits of these shifts will require us to transform the way we do business. “We need to spend less time managing technology and more time harnessing it for innovation,” David explained.

The earthquake’s 27 aftershocks were no match for the announcements that followed, beginning with Citrix Workspace app, the industry’s first digital workspace to unify and secure all apps and content for all devices. Along with Citrix Networking and Citrix Analytics, Citrix Workspace will power a new generation of workers with a next-gen workspace that makes it possible for work to happen wherever users are.

“Everything. It’s a lot to ask of your technology, it’s a lot to ask of you, but that’s what your users want,” said Calvin Hsu, vice president of product marketing, as he demonstrated, along with director of product marketing Carisa Stringer, Citrix Workspace features including instant password-free access to SaaS, mobile and Windows apps, pre-integrated, resilient and high-performance networking and universal search across the entire workspace. Add in Slack integration plus self-service app and desktop provisioning with ServiceNow, and it’s a game-changing, unified environment including SSO that’s available now.

During the keynote, David welcomed Diane Bryant, chief operating officer of Google Cloud, to discuss the integration of Google Cloud Platform and announce Autoscale for Google Cloud. One of the important pillars of focus for Citrix is choice without compromise, so Citrix workloads can be run on any cloud, including Google, AWS, Oracle and Azure, including Azure Government. Citrix will also provide day-one support for Windows Server 2019. With Citrix Endpoint Management, Citrix will unify management of all devices, from mobile to IoT, in an easy-to-adopt cloud service that offers support for Chrome OS, Apple tvOS and new devices including Alexa for Business.

Finally, one of the most exciting demos of the day came from chief product officer PJ Hough, who demonstrated the power of security through Citrix Analytics, which delivers intelligent threat evaluation with autonomous enforcement. We collect quite a bit of data through diverse sources, PJ explained, which gives us unmatched visibility into user behavior. This enables real-time analytics that allow users to continue to be productive while IT maintains security.

“This is our vision for work, this is our vision for the workspace. And today, that vision becomes a reality,” David concluded the keynote. It’s pretty exciting. And judging by my Twitter feed, you think so, too. (Thanks for using the #citrixsynergy hashtag—keep it up!)

Citrix Innovation Award

Also during the keynote, Citrix chief marketing officer Tim Minahan introduced the finalists for the 2018 Citrix Innovation Award: Germany’s WAGO, the UK’s Beazley and Health Choice Network from the U.S. This prestigious award spotlights customers who are using Citrix solutions to drive innovation and IT simplicity. It’s one of the most inspiring parts of every Synergy for me, and I hope you had a chance to vote for your favorite.

Tim shared the finalists’ stories, which you can still view here. Congratulations to the winner, WAGO, which has developed and produced innovative products for power, transportation, process, industrial and building automation markets for more than 60 years. Citrix cloud solutions allow them to scale quickly, maintain security, and remain agile as they keep up with their rapid growth goals. I’m thrilled for all our finalists — thank you to all our customers for the record participation this year!

First day highlights

From the moment the Solutions Expo opened, the completely reimagined Citrix Experience Center has been packed with attendees who were really excited by what they saw in the keynote and wanted to see the technology in action in this immersive environment. Tours are running throughout the day tomorrow, and the Welcome Center will suggest a path through the booth based on your unique user profile. Plus, experts are available for demos, and the theater will host Citrix executives and customers in short presentations for a deeper perspective on keynote topics. It’s a lot to take in, but experiencing it for yourself is the best way to envision how Citrix solutions will transform your organization.

Also, attendees packed last night’s Navigators Reception, asking great questions (What’s the grand prize in GameOn!—do you know? It’s a full conference pass plus airfare and hotel for Citrix Synergy 2019 in Atlanta!). Continue to play the game, and watch the leaderboard for your progress.

Looking ahead: Super Session & Diversity in Technology

Tomorrow, we are honored to welcome Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the 66thU.S. Secretary of State, for a one-of-a-kind Super Session that looks at the importance of technology in international affairs. Dr. Rice is a captivating speaker, and I’m looking forward to hearing her insights into how business and governments can work together to harness technology for greater global stability. Hope to see you back in Hall D for this exciting presentation tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. PT.

Also tomorrow, Donna Kimmel, SVP & chief people officer at Citrix, welcomes Reshma Saujani, president & CEO of Girls Who Code, and Paul Butler, global client partner of Newleaf Training & Development, who will share the influence diversity and inclusion will have on organizations both today and in the future. Add SYN802: Diversity in Technology: taking action today for a better tomorrowto your agenda, and join us at the Hilton Anaheim, Level 2, California Ballroom B for this presentation tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. PT.

Synergy features a ton of options for small-group and one-on-one interactive sessions, so be sure to explore the catalog for Match.Geek and Meet the Experts Theaters, among others. And check out my header photo for a peek at Fireside Chats — thanks to @Dav82vdCHfor the great shot!

Up next: Welcome Reception

In a little while, I’ll be heading to the Welcome Reception. Networking is one of the top reasons you come to Synergy, so join me in the Solutions Expo, Level 1, Hall C, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. for beverages and hors d’oeuvres. Reconnect with old friends, meet some new ones, and let’s talk about the day’s news.

I’m updating my feed with news as it happens, so be sure to follow me on Twitter: @merisummers.