Microsoft – Productivity Future Vision (2015)

Over the years Microsoft have produced a number of videos to portray a vision of the future. The previous ones were in 20092011 and 2013, so I suppose it makes sense that they have published one in 2015.

Below is the latest one, with a further information here. The dominant perspective seems to be screens – screens on wrists, screens in hands, screens on tables, screens as walls, flexible screens. I suppose the problem with portraying the future of data is that it doesn’t work too well on video, but there is a huge amount of data being shown on the screens.

(There’s a scene in it where someone is driving along in an open-top Jeep,  when I was expecting Dinosaurs to come in from the side Jurassic Park style).

The Return of Microsoft Office – Appearing Everywhere

Microsoft Office – Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook. You use it on a Windows PC to do work on files on your PC, if you were brave you might also use it on your Mac, but that was that.

Well, at least that’s how it was, in 2012;  the world was changing though:

  • The Windows PC was moving out of the centre of people’s day-to-day experience being replaced by various mobile devices running Android and iOS.
  • Multiple cloud data stores where emerging and becoming popular – Dropbox, Box, etc.
  • Organisations were increasing collaboration outside the traditional organisation boundaries. The corporate WAN was no longer the primary focus.
  • Bring Your Own (BYO) was becoming a normal way of working.
  • Apple Mac’s were re-entering the corporate eco-system, partially driven by a desire to get some relief from overly prescriptive corporate control of the IT environment.
  • Cloud services for email and communications were becoming the norm giving massive amounts of inbox storage.

The result was that Microsoft Office was increasingly a bit-part player in people’s personal and corporate knowledge management infrastructure.

Then came the big switch to “mobile-first, cloud-first” and a set of strategic plays by Microsoft to replant Microsoft Office back at the centre.

History has shown that Microsoft is pretty good at these big switches.

First came the release of Office for iOS and Android, initially for Office 365 customers and then for everyone – free. Including OneNote and integration with Lync, and OneDrive for Business.

Secondly comes the co-opting of the other storage services, starting with Dropbox. Now you can store your Office files directly into Dropbox on your mobile device; also you can edit your office file directly in Dropbox through the browser.

Extending OneDrive for Business even further Microsoft releases a client for OS-X and provides an integrated personal and business experience on iOS, having previously made the same integrated experience available for Android.

Then Microsoft extends the attractiveness of OneDrive (personal) by giving away 100GB (for 2 years) to existing Dropbox customers.

Recognising that their mobile applications for mail and calendar aren’t the market leaders Microsoft purchase what some regard as the market leaders. They then, in rapid time, re-brand the Outlook app and release it to the market.

Then Microsoft co-opts another set of storage services including iCloud, Box, Citrix and Salesforce. Citrix, Salesforce and Box are particularly interesting because they target their storage services at enterprise customers.  The reach of the Microsoft Office eco-system extends.

Looking to make sure that the next generation of workers regard Microsoft Office as the natural way to do business Microsoft makes Office 365 Personal available, for free, to students globally. This includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, so why would you even think about using Dropbox with its tiny storage allocation.

Notice how they’ve done all of this without the need for slow corporations to deploy and adopt large packaged applications. In essence, they’ve left those lumbering giants behind leaving them to catch up in their own time.

The simple reality is that there are now millions of people who, again, interact with Microsoft Office all day every day. Microsoft Office is making a return to the centre of people’s personal and corporate knowledge management and productivity eco-system. Microsoft is able to do this without the need for millions of slow-moving corporate IT organisations to do anything. Microsoft get to control their own destiny and to move at cloud speeds.

Like I said, history shows that Microsoft is pretty good at these switches.

Concept of the Day: Mere-Exposure Effect – You like it just because you’ve seen it?

Heineken reportedly paid $45m to have their product appear in the James Bond movie, Skyfall.

Another James Bond movie, The World is Not Enough, reportedly earned over $100m in product placement fees alone.

As you read the word Intel do you hear something else alongside it?

What about those words on that football shirt, positive or negative towards the organisation they represent?

Ever wondered why businesses are willing to pay so much to have their product appear in people’s consciousness?

One of the explanations is the mere-exposure effect.

The mere-exposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them.


There are some really subtle experiments behind this one. Back in 1968 Robert Zajonc conducted a set of experiments including one where  people were shown pictures of faces – some were given high levels of exposure, others with less exposure. They were then asked to rate the faces positively or negatively. The ones who received more exposure to a face rated it more positively. These people didn’t know anything more about the face other than that they were familiar with them.

In another experiment Charles Goetzinger had a new student bring a black bag into a classroom. Although nothing about the bag changed, people’s attitudes to it changed positively as they became more familiar with it. The only thing that changed was the number of times they had seen it.

Imagine how many screen advert you see a day. Mere-exposure effect says that, even though you don’t look at them, or interact with them, they are still having an effect on your attitude towards the product or service being advertised.

Consider the effects of the mere-exposure effect alongside confirmation bias and you have two effect which when working together explain a lot about the ways in which we make decisions.

My Tools: OutDoors Great Britain

I’ve got a bit of an ambition in process, it involves climbing hill in the North West of England. I’m not going to say quite what the ambition is in public because I’m running a bit behind on the schedule at the moment and it’s still got a long way to go.

Walking in safety requires really good information and the best information comes from a map. While I’m out and about with my boots and my backpack I normally carry two maps.

The first map, that I always carry with me (and so should you) is a paper one (it’s not actually paper, it’s some kind of waterproof composite). These paper maps are accurate and never break down, but they aren’t the easiest to use and lack some information, particularly the most vital piece of information – “where exactly am I?” Map reading is a skill that everyone serious about walking should gain, I don’t want to diminish that in any way.

Having said that, I also carry around a second set of maps on my iPhone; the particular App I use is called OutDoors Great Britain. Within the UK the benchmark maps come from the Ordnance Survey (OS), being a government organisation they make their maps available to other organisations through a commercial framework. Whilst out and about in the countryside you don’t want to be reliant upon a network signal, they’re often not available. Thankfully the commercial framework with the OS allows applications to provide downloaded maps schematics and data, these are normally charged on a per area basis which is what OutDoors do.

You can also use free map sources which are quite good, but obviously rely on a level of network connectivity.

Integration of the App with the iPhone’s GPS and Compass capabilities gives a reassuring answer to that “where am I?” question. It doesn’t just answer that question though it also answers the, sometimes more important, question “which way am I looking?”

I tend to plan my routes on paper, but the App can also do that. I tend not to record my routes either, but again the App can do that.

OutDoors Great Britain – Launch Page



OutDoors Great Britain – Map Page


OutDoors Great Britain – Map Options