Microsoft Tech Summit

We just got back from the Microsoft Tech Summit in Washington, D.C. The free two-day educational event drew thousands of attendees, all eager to learn about Microsoft’s cloud solutions and strategy. We were there as a sponsor, so sadly I didn’t get to attend any of the sessions, or even hear the keynote, but I met a ton of fascinating people representing every kind of business, from tiny mom & pop shops to enterprise to every size and scope of government agency.

And I got to play video games. Like a lot of video games. On a Hololens.

I’ll let you look that up first, and then I’ll give you a moment to be jealous (unless you stopped by and played the game, too).

We worked with Mixed River, a media company out of Maryland, to develop a new take on a classic arcade hit. What they came up with was a 3D interactive mishmash of Asteroids and Space Invaders that we called “Blasteroids”. For 60 seconds, you had to dodge, duck, dip, dive, and…dodge…asteroids and incoming missiles and blast everything on the screen by doing the classic “Kids in the Hall” crushing-your-head pinch. If you think that sounds ridiculous, you have no idea how right you are. The game is incredibly simple, but astonishingly immersive--so much so that people had no concept of themselves and were routinely recorded by their friends as blackmail.

We’re working now to compile the leaderboard, but I’ve heard that the attendee high score was 30,000, which is an amazingly high score for a person who had never interacted with this kind of technology. And that was kind of the takeaway for me, anyway: Microsoft has created technology that is so intuitive that people who had never played the game were able to pick it up and be “productive” on the first try.

And that’s what we’re seeing in our Customer Immersion Experiences, as well (though they do not feature Hololens gaming): we set users in front of systems running Windows 10, Skype for Business, Teams, and the Office 365 suite, and within just a few minutes have them doing real-time co-authoring, white-boarding and saving those sessions, securely sharing content, and enabling productivity that is actually fun and engaging without the need for them to worry about the hows and whys.

Immediate productivity with minimal training. That’s powerful, and it’s right now.