AskCody joined Microsoft Build 2017 in downtown Seattle from May 10-12 to learn about the latest technologies and exciting plans on the horizon in Microsoft’s ecosystem. Microsoft Build is the holy grail for developers, filled with announcements on the newest product and feature releases across Microsoft’s various platforms, strong technical sessions on development tools and skill sets as well as opportunities to meet and learn from other in the industry.

To be invited to be a part of the Microsoft community for a few days together with 15,000 tech pioneers and experience how software continues to transform the world in remarkable ways is extremely inspirational, and it’s difficult not to be impressed by Microsoft’s visionary class and the comprehensiveness of the Microsoft ecosystem. Just to put the comprehensiveness of Microsoft’s ecosystem in perspective, Microsoft has 500 million Windows 10 monthly active devices, 100 million Office 365 monthly active users, 12 million organizations in Azure Active Directory and more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies use the Microsoft cloud. That’s an impressive outreach, to say the least!

 

Why is AskCody participating in Microsoft Build and what did we learn?

For AskCody it’s imperative to take part in events like Microsoft Build to stay at the forefront when it comes to knowledge about the newest technological advancements in artificial intelligence, IoT, machine learning and conversational interfaces among others that empowers people and organizations to amplify their capabilities to achieve significant increases in productivity. From an AskCody viewpoint, Microsoft’s feature during 1st days keynote on intelligent meetings leveraging the power and capabilities of artificial intelligence and Cortana’s skill set was extremely interesting. Cortana is able to transform the way people collaborate with each other, how meetings are held, and how the cumbersome post meeting preparation of minutes is automated and adjusted each single meeting attendee together with a list of actions modified each attendee and made available in Outlook and Office 365 instantly after an ended meeting. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the impressive capabilities of Cortana’s skill set integrated into AskCody’s cloud-based platform once Microsoft has fully developed this voice-enabled technology and the Harman Kardon Invoke intelligent speaker is made available in fall 2017. That will only amplify the capabilities of AskCody’s cloud-based platform in its mission to empower people to work smarter, enhance work-life productivity and collaborate with ease, while at the same time empower organizations to get the most out of resources and transform and automate processes.

Another interesting feature on Microsoft Build from an AskCody viewpoint was a session on workspace utilization using IoT devices, held by Dag König from Microsoft Sweden. Together with a Swedish company named Yanzi Networks that delivers an end-to-end IoT platform, they ran a project on Microsoft Sweden’s office to illustrate how to set up an office space with sensors, easily deploy a solution to both collect and store data, and how to get insights from the data. With an IoT platform, organizations can measure in real time how they utilize their workspace, but why is this important and what’s the purpose?

 

Activity Based Working

The Modern Workplace Transformation and the concept of Activity Based Working has become more and more popular the recent years, which builds on the premise that no employee “owns” or has an assigned workstation. Rather, the broader workspace provides employees with a variety of predetermined activity areas that allow them to conduct specific tasks including learning, focusing, collaborating and socializing. The benefits of Activity Based Working are several and includes flexibility, where your staff gets to choose where and when they work, which translates into a better work/life balance and more productivity as a result. It gives rise to an improved performance where your employees choose the space that best suits the project at hand and therefore is more likely to complete it quicker. Also, it results in reduced commuting time where millions of people in the major cities of the world commute to downtown offices and spend more than an hour a day traveling to and from work. Reducing your employees’ commute gives staff more time to think, create and produce. Moreover, in capital cities such as central London, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Boston, etc. the cost of a desk per person per annum easily range somewhere between $10,000-15,000 so reducing the number of fixed workstations can have a real impact on a company’s bottom line.

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To gain the full benefits and exploit the potential of the activity-based workplace, it is essential to gather real-time data through IoT devices that put facts on the table regarding how many staff are on-site at a given time, utilization of activity areas, utilization of hot desks, utilization of conference rooms, temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels and whether these levels are conducive to create a productive working environment. This data set provide important information e.g. for the canteen on how much food to prepare for lunch and dinner based on actual need, rather than frequencies decided beforehand, and data provide important information for the cleaning staff on the utilization of the office landscape to prioritize cleaning of certain activity areas, conference rooms, restrooms, emptying of wastebaskets, etc. Also, accurate data enable a granular analysis of the actual need for workspace and a basis to design or redesign the workspace with activity areas, conference rooms, hot desks, etc. with the right capacity and equipment to best accommodate the needs of the workforce to ensure they stay happy, creative and productive. With predictive analytics and detailed space management analysis can e.g. reveal whether the current location can handle a planned expansion of the workforce or if its necessary to find another office space to accommodate an expansion. Consequently, measuring workspace utilization through an IoT platform holds a huge optimization potential for an organization and enable data-driven decision-making about how to optimize the workplace experience and how to get the most out of resources and organizational assets, which directly impacts an organization’s bottom line.

For AskCody it’s very interesting to integrate IoT devices into our cloud-based platform. AskCody already provides data insights and analytics about utilization of conference rooms, utilization of in-room equipment, peak hours during the day, meeting booking behavior, etc. but the amount of data that we are able to collect and provide about the utilization of the modern workplace increases significantly through integrating with IoT devices. That will amplify the capabilities of AskCody’s cloud-based platform even more, and make AskCody an essential platform for SMBs and enterprises all over the world to manage the daily activities in the activity based workplace through our meeting management and visitor management systems while AskCody at the same time enable data-driven decision making about how to optimize the workplace experience and get the most out of resources.

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Attending Microsoft Build 2017 was a great and educational experience that provided insights into Microsoft’s latest technological developments that are able to transform the everyday life and work life for people through their platforms, products, and features. Later this year, AskCody will be attending Microsoft Inspire aimed at Microsoft’s partner community and Microsoft Ignite aimed at IT professionals to stay at the forefront of the most recent advancements in Microsoft’s ecosystem. I already look forward to it!

- Steffen Mørch

 

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