01 October 2019

Today we attended Microsoft Future Decoded in ExCel London. As always, it proved to be an excellent opportunity to learn about the Microsoft Stack and learn about new developments across the tech sector. The day started with the keynote, which was opened by Microsoft UK Chief Executive Officer and Corporate Vice President, Cindy Rose OBE. She introduced new data insights around how artificial intelligence for all is a reality today. As the keynote was in full swing, we got to see some excellent case studies from Paccar and Autoglass on how they've undergone a Digital Transformation.

Autoglass Success Story

One particular success story particularly stood out to us was Autoglass. One man's use of innovation, hard work, and utilising PowerApps to produced some excellent results for his company, Autoglass.

Martin, who is one of Autoglass's despatchers, spent most of his day sorting through reports of servicing, requiring sheets of paper. He decided to build a better system so he could spend more time with his customers and less time with all those reports. Using PowerApps, he developed an app to replace the existing forms. Previously, field engineers had to fill in forms by hand, which would then have to be approved by managers and updated into databases could cut this process from 30 to 10 minutes. Such a transformation leads to better customer experience and frees up a lot of time across the business.

Martins' PowerApp is now being used internationally and now sits in Autoglass's IT department. Martin has had a significant impact on his business and is an excellent story of technology optimising our processes.

You can watch the story below directly from the Microsoft Keynote:

Inclusivity with accessibility

Another key theme that we picked up on was how to make software and interfaces accessible to everyone. The presentation titled "Empower everyone: redefining accessibility and inclusivity leveraging the Microsoft Power Platform" was delivered by Transparity. They provided some eye-opening information about how we need to build our interfaces to include people with disabilities, either visible or hidden. They discussed how, by using software, 1bn people globally could be more easily integrated into the workforce. This can be done by introducing better colour schemes, clearer navigation that considers people who have disabilities. This was demonstrated through PowerApps which showed how it has the capability to provide recommendations on how to solve accessibility problems in your app and why its an issue.

Dynamics 365 and Hololens

An exciting development was being able to see how organisations are starting to put technologies such as mixed-reality into practice. The application helped onboard new car engineers to learn courses for new products. We were able to get a quick glimpse of this in action and watched delegates use the HoloLens to follow instructions on how to change an air filter on a micro engine.

This technology enabled Automotives to reduce the training and onboarding process significantly. As machines become more complicated, it becomes exponentially more difficult for employees to understand what they're working on. Using Dynamics 365 Guides and mixed-reality is a remedy to this.

Dynamics 365 Guides was utilised as a way to pull data which directs what the user needs to be doing next. Guides is an application which Microsoft intends to continue to develop, and more will be available further down the roadmap.

Future Decoded - a glimpse at the future

Microsoft's flagship event always impresses us. Each year they demonstrate new technologies that help us in our business and social lives. We even got to see how they were using AI to tackle significant issues such as climate change. What stood out to us was the emphasis on both Microsoft Teams and PowerApps. This was something the 3rd party partners were pushing as well, with various plugins, case studies and hardware demonstrated at their booths.

The final keynote was brilliant, as we were gifted with excellent insights from astronauts Major Tim Peake CMG and Helen Sharman CMG OBE.

In summary, we loved it, and we look forward to attending next year.