Salesforce kicks off its conference with mobile, IoT updates and more

Dreamforce is also the launching ground for Einstein, its suite of machine learning-powered features

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The entrance to Salesforce.com's Dreamforce at the Moscone Center in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 2015.

Credit: Martyn Williams

Salesforce's annual Dreamforce mega-conference kicks off in San Francisco on Tuesday morning, and the company will announce a slew of updates to its apps and services.

The company is enhancing its mobile apps, launching deeper integrations between Salesforce and Quip and improving its services for processing IoT data.

All of these new features are aimed at leveling up Salesforce's feature set at a time when the company faces fierce competition from tech titans like Microsoft and Oracle, along with a fleet of startups.

The Salesforce1 app for iOS will be updated to let managers see how their employees are matching up against their quotas and how sales are stacking up against projections and quotas. In addition, companies will be able to pay extra for a My Salesforce1 functionality that lets them deploy their own version of the app with their own branding.

The Thunder IoT Cloud, which provides a suite of services for managing a company's connected devices, will be getting a pair of updates that should make it easier to manage a fleet of devices. An IoT Traffic Monitor feature will let businesses get a broad view of what state every device in their fleet is in.

That's important for monitoring the health of large deployments. Companies can use Traffic Monitor to help make sure that deployments work successfully. An IoT Profiles feature, also unveiled Tuesday, will let companies combine streaming data from hardware devices with contextual data from Salesforce.

Here's one way it could work: a Salesforce customer's IoT sensor sends an alert to the IoT Cloud, which then takes that information, combines it with contextual knowledge about what service agreement is applied to the device, and suggest a course of action.

Quip, the online productivity suite that Salesforce purchased earlier this year, will be getting a host of upgrades. Salesforce users will be able to sign up for and log in to Quip with their existing credentials, rather than having to set up a separate account. The service will also get a Lightning component, which will let teams link, access and create Quip files within Salesforce and custom apps built on top of the Salesforce platform.

There's also a forthcoming rich mentions capability for quip that's supposed to let users easily bring data from Salesforce into a Quip document. With that feature, which is supposed to launch next year, a team could create a page showing the status of sales leads, powered by a live-updating feed of information from Salesforce.

The expanded Quip integrations are hardly surprising, after Salesforce acquired the company behind the app earlier this year. It's a move that puts the software-as-a-service titan in even closer competition with Microsoft, at a time when the two companies appear to be moving away from a partnership and towards greater competition.

This month will also see the expected release of Salesforce's Einstein features, which the company unveiled last month. Those features will bring machine learning-powered enhancements to Salesforce products, and are supposed to help companies work better.

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