Microsoft Envision – a glimpse into the (near) future



Microsoft Envision has shown us that the future is bright and that technology will become more important than ever.

The tools to do so are already here, but consumers are not yet ready for all this change. All companies need to go on a journey to change customer experience and within the coming 10 years we will see a lot of big name companies not making the cut, because they do not go on this digital journey or they will start the journey too late.

In the old days we looked at static data, in the current days we look at BI data and we slice and dice to get more insight. Tomorrow we should look at AI and predict the outcomes of the decisions that we make today.

We are at the start of a big change in everything we do. The way we work, the way we consume, the way we buy. Take the car industry, this is changing into providing a service – a subscription to a car. Take clothing, clothing sizes will disappear and everything will be custom via 3D printing. Take customer experience – when you walk in a store, everyone will know who you are, your taste and what you have spent at that store in the past enabling custom recommendations being made.

The technology to provide this future is based on:

  • Block Chain
  • Disruption
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning

These are not just buzz words anymore, these are tools that are available on Azure. As predicted, the cloud will change everything – actually it is changing everything and it will continue to do so.

Let me go in a bit more detail what the above things really are.

Block chain

Block chain in essential is utilising a chain of data sources to make decisions, block chain is using data from several sources and this is not just your data, this can also be your competitor’s data.

Let’s take this back to the retail example. A consumer, in the near future, would store their clothing sizes on a secured app, including even their card details, retailers would use this data via block chain, so when a consumer checks into the store and select clothes to wear, either physically or via an app, these can be delivered to the changing room in their size. Also there will be no need for tills, because the customer can check out via the app once they are happy.

Just to add to this, it goes without saying that a store clerk can update CRM data whilst chatting to the client.


I have been preaching this for a few years now, but the role of the CIO is changing from technical know-it-all to bridge between the business and IT who preaches change, leading companies with his or her disruptive leadership that drives revolution in the business.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

First of all, what is the difference between these two? Artificial Intelligence is really focused on building machines which are capable of intelligent behavior whilst Machine Learning is when the ‘machine’ learns when actions are taken and when data is gathered based on these actions.

Artificial Intelligence

Let me use my retail example and attempt to paint a picture of the very near future.

Your Cortana will notice you have a holiday coming up in, let’s say, 2 weeks’ time. It will ask you if you need anything, you might answer that you need some new clothes, it will open your favourite app and come up with recommendations taking your taste and the weather in Italy into consideration. You can then add the items you want in your basket and venture to the store, which seamlessly merges your in-app experience with the in store experience.


Machine Learning

In the retail example this would mean that a store clerk or an app can recommend something you might be interested in based on your previous purchases and based on other customer’s purchases.


I think that is all for now, watch this space for more updates and make sure you contact us to start your digital journey.