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Microsoft’s bold vision for the future of productivity

Raise your hand if you’ve got a million things to do and not enough time to do them. Hardly an uncommon feeling these days. But how many of those to-do items are actually expected deliverables of your job? According to a recent McKinsey report1, today’s workforce spends 61% of their time managing their work rather than doing it. That’s crazy and completely impacts your productivity!

Thankfully, vendors are not only creating solutions that provide dramatic productivity savings for today’s workforce, but are deeply focused on the way we’ll work and get things done in the future.

Microsoft is one such vendor, and its recent video – Productivity Future Vision – offers a fascinating glimpse into the future of business productivity. In the video, we follow a Marine Biologist as she works in different settings, and collaborates with different teams around the world. We see how emerging business technologies will transform the way we work over the next 5-10 years. These videos are quite important, as many of the solutions you see will manifest themselves in the near future.

Take a look at what your future workday might look like:

 

Featuring next-generation enterprise mobility and commercial applications of transparent touch glass, wearables and augmented reality, the technology in the video is not too dissimilar to what we’ve seen in recent high-tech blockbusters – think along the lines of Marvel Avenger, Tony Stark, interacting with touch glass and holograms in the Iron Man lab.

As well as foldable tablets and flexible smart bands, we see shared digital canvases where multiple users collaborate in real time, instant and seamless file sharing between devices and the ability to communicate and work using touch, digital-ink, gesture, voice and gaze technology.

There’s no doubt that the clip is highly futuristic, however you might be surprised to recognise quite a few Microsoft products and services that already exist in their infancy today. Do you recognise any similarities with these current Microsoft products?

What these examples demonstrate is that Microsoft is already leading the pack when it comes to the way business users connect, create, collaborate and share.

 

Realistic predictions or sci-fi dreams?

So how realistic are Microsoft’s visions for productivity, and when are we likely to see some of the more futuristic technology shown in the video?

Broadly speaking, a lot of the technology featured in Productivity Future Vision is 3-5 years away. However, some of the most advanced (and perhaps audacious) predictions are:

  • Underwater 3D gesture-controlled holograms, as demonstrated by the Marine Biologist, is essentially HoloLens augmented reality technology in scuba goggles. This is certainly within the realms of possibility, although the question is whether there would ever be enough demand for such product.
  • The flexible tablet, at first glance you would assume this foldable digital workbook is a long way off being a realistic consumer product, however there has been talk about a foldable Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy X, circulating for months2.
  • Transparent touch-screens also aren’t as far off as some would believe. Samsung had been developing transparent OLED screens since 2008 (although they shut down their operation in 2016 due to market immaturity), but there are quite a few other smart-glass companies still developing this space, including Panasonic who showcased transparent units at CES20163.
  • The Flexible Smart Band with full screen surface, gesture control and capability to transform into a flat remote-style device, is a very exciting next-generation wearable. This too may be closer to a reality than you would first expect, with the Band securing Microsoft’s place in the consumer wearables market and innovations like the Wove Bands’ bendable screen already in prototype phase.
  • Gesture-control, holographic coffee table, is another of the more far-fetched ideas however, a possible game-changer is Microsoft’s recent patent incorporating holograms to guide a user’s gesture control of a computing device4.

 

Is your business prepared for a productive future?

Microsoft believes that the future of work will be centred on people; better, more meaningful collaboration, living and working smarter, unrestricted creativity, and fluid mobility. We here at Data#3 agree.

Current day productivity technology, such as Microsoft Office 365, is enabling unprecedented mobility, collaboration and productivity.

With the addition of some of these future technologies, as demonstrated in the video, organisations will be capable of even more flexibility regarding when, where and with whom employees work. Improving people’s ability to collaborate and work effectively even when geographically dispersed and on the go. Better ways to visualise and understand data as well as context-aware systems that automate workflows will make work life more efficient.

Is your business prepared for a productive future? Don’t risk falling further behind when we move into this next era of workplace productivity.

 

Like to know more?

This blog is part of The Anywhere Workplace – Productivity stream. To learn more about the Anywhere Workplace from Data#3 or Microsoft’s suite of productivity technology, contact us today.


 

Saraf, D (February 2, 2017). Some Efficiency Hacks to Beat the 61% Overhead! [Online] Available at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/some-efficiency-hacks-beat-61-overhead-dilip-saraf?trk=linkedin
2 Keach, S. (July 30, 2017) Everything you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy X. [Online] Available at: http://www.trustedreviews.com/news/samsung-galaxy-x-foldable-phone-release-date-news-specs-price-2951423
3 Welch, C. (Jan 7, 2016) Panasonic’s transparent display is hard for your eyes to believe. [Online] Available at: https://www.theverge.com/2016/1/7/10733626/panasonic-transparent-screen-display-ces-2016
4 Sullivan, M (April 16, 2015). Microsoft patent describes use of floating holograms to guide gesture control of mobile devices. [Online] Available at: https://venturebeat.com/2015/04/16/microsoft-patent-describes-use-of-floating-holograms-to-guide-gesture-control-of-mobile-devices/

Tags: Business Productivity, Microsoft, Microsoft Office 365, Mobility, Productivity, The Anywhere Classroom, Wearable Technology (Wearables)

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