Blogger Series. Better tech, better business.Sally Elliott is a creative marketer and has worked within Global IT for 20 years. Specialising in productivity and helping organisations understand the future of a modern workplace, she is an evangelist for flexible working and unlocking the creativity within all of us. Sally now leads the go to market strategy for the Microsoft Surface UK Business which sees her helping business understand how to get the most out of  their employees; by providing the spaces to inspire them, the technology to enable them and culture for them to do their best work in the way that suits them.

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you this, but the world of business is changing fast! Of course, this means that UK companies are having to really re-think how they work. Especially if they’re keen to innovate quickly and keep up with trends.

At Microsoft, we understand that outdated tools, processes, and workplaces stifle people’s ability to work creatively. That’s why we’ve developed a range of devices that can be used in different environments and in different ways.

It’s also why we run Future Decoded. 2018’s event took place at ExCeL, London, on 31 October and 1 November. The buzzing two-day exposition was attended by nearly 10,000 delegates looking to grow their business in the changing world. Guests were encouraged to explore a wide range of stands and get hands-on with everything from a smart suit-fitting tool to a cognitive juice bar. That’s right: there’s a machine that analyses people’s faces to recommend the perfect drink. Isn’t AI amazing?

The world of business is changing fast. At Future Decoded 2018 we looked at the Modern Workplace

The Modern Workplace

At the heart of the exhibition space sat the Modern Workplace area. Here, attendees could learn how today’s employees can truly thrive in the working environment. The idea behind the Modern Workplace is simple. When employees have access to flexible devices that let them work their way, they’ll be more creative. They’ll feel more fulfilled. And they’ll be even more productive. Enter the Microsoft Surface range.

Read on to learn how these game changing devices can help businesses unleash their creative potential.

Stories from the Modern Workplace stage

At the event, we saw a number of business leaders take to the stage to share their own experiences with technology. Here’s some of my key takeaways.

How Bitwig Studio empowers composers

“We are all creative. Even when we don’t realise we’re being creative. We just need to express that creativity in a more targeted way.” That’s Mea Liedl of Bitwig Studio. Bitwig provides a music creation platform for budding composers and DJs. In fact, the soundtrack to the whole event was created by Bitwig’s resident DJ. Mea explained how the touch functionality of Surface devices makes it easy for users to intuitively make music.

“Touch technology isn’t going to replace traditional ways of creating music. But it’s definitely going to enhance them,” she said.

How WearHealth protects workers with AI

“AI’s going to be a big, big thing in the next industrial revolution.” We also heard from Esteban Bayro-Kaiser of WearHealth, who designs intelligent wearables for industrial workers. WearTech harnesses the power of AI and the IoT to manage – and predict – health and safety issues. He introduced the idea of the Worker 4.0 – the employee who uses wearable tech as well as traditional protective equipment. Think smart shirts that can track stress levels, and watches that can send out an alert if a worker falls over. Then think using Microsoft Surface to keep track of this data, from wherever, 24/7.

How Chillblast immerses consumers with VR

“VR can get your customers more involved in the design process of what they want to buy.” Ben Miles of Chillblast also took to the stage. He talked about how virtual reality can help businesses sell products, by getting customers more engaged in the design process. In the world of automotive design, for instance, buyers can choose specification settings and see them all come together. Similarly, architects can show customers what buildings will look like, before they’re built. And it’s all thanks to the Windows Mixed Reality headset.

“When architects engage customers with VR, it’s a lot more compelling than showing people print outs or 3D walkthroughs,” he said. “Good VR boils down to creating a compelling experience that doesn’t cost the earth.”

Advice from our experts

As well as all our fab speakers, we heard from some Microsoft team members. Our representatives talked guests through some of the top tips, trends, and technologies we thought they’d benefit from hearing about.

“The evolution to LTE has been the biggest, fastest technical adoption we’ve seen on the planet so far.”

Richard Warren, Surface Hub GBB

Rich talked about how Surface fits in to the world of LTE. According to his research, the global LTE market will be worth $997 billion by 2020. This projection is, in part, due to increasing requirements from frontline workers. Whether they’re working in a warehouse, on the shop floor, or out in the field, frontline employees need reliable access to the internet. Without the security threats that come with connecting to public Wi-Fi. Rich wrapped up his session by introducing the Surface Pro LTE, and all of its security and connectivity benefits.

“Technology should empower how you work. You should be able to work wherever you want, however you want.”

Jasmin Sohi, PC Accessories Category Manager

Jasmin’s on a mission to provide the very best tools and experiences for people using Windows. She wrapped up the Modern Workplace speaker sessions by teaching people about the Microsoft accessories on offer today. For instance, did you know that each mouse product is tested for 215 miles in a lab? And that if you’re a spreadsheet junkie, the Microsoft Precision mouse could be the one for you?

She finished up by saying how technology should enable you to work how you want, whatever job you’re doing, and that all Microsoft accessories champion mobility, productivity, and creativity. Which sums up the idea of the Modern Workplace nicely, I think.

If you went along to Future Decoded, I hope you had a great time exploring how the right tech could make your workplace a better, more creative, more productive place.

If you couldn’t make it, why not read my blog about the link between creative spaces and creative people? Or simply head over to the Surface shop to explore the latest Microsoft devices.