Imagination tech talks - Microsoft

Imagination tech talks - Microsoft

Imagination experience labs

Imagination's blog for industry insight, innovation, inspiration and general life contemplation.
  • Constance Bamford
  • Intern

Imagination tech talks - Microsoft

Imagination welcomed back Matt Ballantine (Principle Evangelist within Microsoft’s Innovation Team), former head of IT here, who gave the Microsoft tech talk yesterday.

First, let me introduce myself. I am an intern, with a background in literature, and my joys in life are physical: books and ballet, not software and social media. I was convinced that I would not be able to understand a single word, but thoughtfully, a few technical- oh the irony- glitches were laid on which quelled my fears and reminded me that even computer fanatics are human.
But now to business. We started off with a little experiment. Everyone with a smart phone had to unlock it, and then pass it their neighbour ‘to play with.’ This resulted in much nervous laughter and discomfited glances- people felt violated! As I handled someone else’s iPhone, I did feel a bit intrusive and uncomfortable. I felt like I was trying on a stranger’s socks, still warm from their feet.
The point of the exercise though, was to illustrate how emotionally connected we are to our devices these days; with all work, play, social media, music and photos accessible via one object, it is almost as though our smart phones or tablets are extensions of ourselves.
But it is the norm now, and technology companies are aware that consumers want sleek, neat, easy to use devices that they can pour and store their soul in. Matt identified that technology today is about fun and joy, not just business. So fun and joy were the themes of the showcase of Microsoft’s new stuff.
There was a sense of integration between the products, such as  the consistent live tiles interface of Windows 8, the Surface and the Windows phone, which to use Matt’s words is ‘purely digital’; a design that is proudly and brazenly digital in appearance compared to the faux leather and mock paper of iPhone.
We were informed of the range and power of Xbox in the living room, which now includes the new Xbox music, and is a front runner in the fight for digital living room space. Also the multi-use of Microsoft’s search engine Bing, which helps you make choices rather than just providing you with options.
Personally, I couldn’t see a lot of difference between these products and Apple or Samsung or whatever, except for the logo. But that’s just me and my ignorance, and in all honesty the gadgets were really cool, and for those more informed than I, probably really exciting.
 What made me smile was the thought of the confusion of a listener from yesteryear. Their attempt to contextualise a cloud, a tweet, or trying to share anything more than the juice and Krispy Kremes generously provided. Entertaining the possibility that a hashtag isn’t some sort of skin growth brought on by smoking too much weed.
 It shows just how quickly this digi- speak has entered our culture, (even I speak it) and how people think and communicate differently as a result, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Although I wasn’t quite dragged from my techno- illiterate cave, I feel much more informed and enthusiastic about Surfaces and Windows 8. Thanks Matt for such a great talk- one day I will come over to the dark side.
You can follow me on @bamfordc02 #technophobe, but don’t expect me to post anything- I’ve forgotten my password.     
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