Russell Goldsmith
Russell Goldsmith 16 January 2018

Podcast: Top Technology and Innovation Trends for 2018

The third and final C-suite podcast from Microsoft’s Future Decoded, in this episode, Russell Goldsmith explored some of the key trends in relation to technology and innovation, including Microsoft UK's CMO Scott Allen, Edd Atcheson Lead Digital Strategist at Adobe in EMEA, and Michael Wignall Microsoft UK's CTO.



Russell Goldsmith (left) chats with Scott Allen (middle), Microsoft UK CMO and Edd Atcheson (right), Adobe EMEA’s Lead Digital Strategist

Scott and Edd talked about:  

  1. Connected customer journeys
  2. Ensuring technology and data is playing a pivotal role in what you do
  3. Having a team that can help you become modern marketters
  4. The processes you need to be successful

They also discussed Microsoft and Adobe's partnership and how technologies such as Microsoft DynamicsPower BI and Adobe’s Experience Cloud come together to deliver powerful, comprehensive experiences that they want to give their customers. 



Russell chats with Microsoft UK’s CTO Michael Wignall (right)

Michael’s presentation included a case of the work Microsoft has done with Dixons Carphone, using a combination of bots and AI to augment the human work - previously a person could access their shopping cart online, look at recommendations and view specifications of what they wanted, but when they went instore this information did not follow them. Now using bots online on their web portal, they were able to capture the data, then AI could supply customers with suggestions, based on their buying habits, and all this data is available to access instore.

Michael also talked about what he feels will be the next big tech trend, Quantum, which he believes will fundamentally change the way we think of the world.  He gave an analogy of classical computing solving a maze, where it tries each path in turn to get to the centre, until it finds the way, whereas quantum computing can try all the possibilities simultaneously, so reaching a solution much faster. Michael feels it will help to find a solution for global warming, or looking at the human genetic process and precision medicine and finding better ways to do crypto security.



Chris Bishop, Laboratory Director at Microsoft Research Cambridge – Image via @MSFResearchCam

Chris was recently elected as Fellow to the Royal Society, which, at over 350 years old, is the oldest scientific body that’s still in operation.  His team are working on a Machine Learning project called InnerEye - a research project using computer vision AI techniques to help radiation oncologists to analyse medical images prior to radiation therapy planning. He explained that over the age of 60, around half of us will get cancer, and half of those will need radiation therapy, which needs to be planned.  This means working out the three-dimensional position, shape and boundary of the tumour, in order that the radiation can be directed, so as to cause as much damage to the tumour as possible but as little damage to all the vital organs and healthy tissue.  He said that this is a process that is very time consuming, that takes the oncologists several hours to do.  However, machine learning can cut down the time this process takes to just a few minutes, allowing the oncologist to devote their skills to things much better done by a person.



Chatting with Peter Deane, Vice President of Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality developers VISR

VISR’s platform VERTX makes it possible for global design teams to work across multiple locations on multiple devices and collaborate on live design projects in real time, while standing in the space you are designing.  This has worked well in manufacturing, where VISR are working with a high-quality cardboard manufacturer that prototype high quality stands. Peter said that the manufacturers have to go through a very physical two-dimensional process to design the stands, that is labour and material intensive. However, by using mixed reality, they can cut down the cardboard wastage and reduce the design time by using holographic technology, such as Microsoft HoloLens.



Chatting with Microsoft’s Angela Evans, Microsoft’s Office Business Group Lead UK

Angela said that in 2020, they expect 50% of workers to be millennials, who seek to work differently.  They work more collaboratively and need to be able to connect with other people. They also want to work more remotely, any time, any place so it is important they have the tools and the digital workspace to allow this.

She added that when designing the workplace, there are four areas that should be addressed:

  1. Composition of the workforce – how many millennials do you have and how do you want the composition to evolve over time?
  2. What workstyles to millennials prefer and the environment that they are their best in.
  3. Where are the teams geographically located – how do they come together to collaborate?
  4. What type of access to information do they need?



Chatting with Praveen Maloo, Product Evangelist for Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is a collaborative hub bringing everything you need for teamwork into one place, including conversations, files, apps and tools like video calls and web conferencing. 

Praveen said that for the first time in history there are five generations in the workplace who have to collaborate using the technology of today. There are also many more mobile devices used and people want the ability to work anywhere, so the tools of yesterday do not meet the needs of today.

He believes there will be a cultural change if organisations use Microsoft Teams, as it radically changes the way people collaborate – it’s no longer about individual productivity but instead is about team productivity.  It gives everyone a voice, a chance to collaborate and create, and raise awareness of what they are doing in the entire team.

All previous shows of the series are available on the website as well as Soundcloud and iTunes.  You can also join in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter

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