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Introducing Lightning Summer ‘16, the fastest way to connect with customers, employees, and partners. The Lightning Experience is a modern and intelligent user experience across every device. Now you can deliver smarter customer service in the field, quickly receive inbound calls, and get insights, instantly. The Lightning Platform is the fastest way to build and customize apps. You can customize the Lightning Experience for every role to fit your unique business needs, in a flash. And, the ever-expanding Lightning Ecosystem makes it easier than ever to build and customize apps with partner Lightning components.  For a printable release milestone guide download this file from our Success Community.

Let’s look at the key dates for Summer '16 so you can mark your calendars:

April 21st - Our Summer '16 Pre-Release will be ready for you to "play":

Why do I need a pre-release org? Glad you asked! It’s a special environment that's upgraded even before Sandboxes, giving you new features weeks in advance of the release. It's not linked to your production org, so it won't have the same data or configuration and you can test without worrying about breaking anything. Don't forget to add the treasures you find to the Release Community right here #Summer16Treasures so others can learn from your experience.

Sounds good, how do I get one?  Sign up here and you'll get an email with a login to a new test org.

April 21st: Your ideas that are “Coming in Summer’16” on the Idea Exchange

You will be able to see which of your ideas are coming in the next release here. You can also check what’s going into pilot or beta in the next release.

April 22nd: Release Notes are available

Dive into Summer! Don't forget that the Salesforce Release Notes also come in HTML format so that you can read them on any mobile device and quickly find the sections you’re most interested in.

April 27th: Summer '16 Release Site

We switch the Release Site to the Summer '16 Release on this day. Check out the Summer '16 Release Preview or watch the Release Videos that demo the key new features.

April 27th: Join us as we discuss how to best manage new releases

How do you manage your release planning? Would you benefit from some best practices on the topic? Why not join us as we have a discussion about how to manage new releases. Register for our New Releases: Mastering Your Readiness Strategy Webinar.

April 29th: Sandbox Cut Off

If you would like one of your Sandboxes to take part in the Summer ‘16 Preview, your Sandbox must be active on a preview instance by April 29th, 2016 to take part in an overall instance upgrade. Check out our article about the Summer '16 Sandbox preview which gives you all the options if you want to take part in the Sandbox preview. Find out more here.

May 6th and 7th: Sandboxes upgraded

Just like the pre-release program, the Sandbox preview gives you the opportunity to test new features without impacting your live environment. It also allows you to test new features in a way that matches your production environment. To provide you with more information about how to effectively test the new release, join our webinar on May 11th, New Releases: Sandbox Preview Best Practices. Register here to attend live or be emailed the recording.

May 20th: NA44 and NA45 are upgraded

The first release weekend is when we here at Salesforce and any customers on NA44 and NA45 are upgraded.

June 3rd: The second release weekend

This is when another set of instances - NA6, NA7, NA8, NA9, NA17, NA18, NA22, NA28, NA29, NA31, EU5 - gets upgraded. Check out our Trust page to see when you’ll be upgraded.

June 8th and 9th: Release Readiness Live broadcast

Save the Dates! Our Product Management team will be back for Summer '16 discussing and demoing the new features live from our studio, so you'll see how those features work in real time. Full details on agenda and timings will be posted in May on our Release Readiness & Feature Adoption Community.

June 12th and 13th: The final release weekend

All remaining Salesforce systems will be upgraded over this weekend. This is also the upgrade weekend for any Sandboxes you’ve opted not to include in the Sandbox preview.

You can get more information on pre-release sign up and other release-related topics by joining the Release Readiness & Feature Adoption group here on our Success Community site.