Microsoft Digital Difference event, a photo recap

Arif Bacchus

Microsoft Logo

Microsoft yesterday held their Digital Difference event. As covered yesterday in our live blog, the event featured great dialogue and insights around advancements in several major areas, including health, retail, transportation, robotics, sports fan engagement and consumer goods. A wide range of global companies and digital start-ups were also at the event, so in case you missed our coverage, feel free to check out the photo summary below.

Venue and Start:

The venue for the event was in New York City, the event began at 10:00 and we were seated by 9:45. Seating was not assigned, so we picked a spot in the third row.

First On Stage appearances:

The event kicked off with Turi Widsteen taking the stage. She oversees Commercial Communications for Microsoft and explained that the Digital Difference event was all about “leaning into the success” of Microsoft’s customers. She specifically remarked, “Microsoft’s mission truly comes to life through our customers.”

Turi Widsteen
Turi Widsteen

Abbie Lundberg and Judson Althoff join the stage:

Turi Widsteen rolled the show on by announcing that Microsoft has several new corporate customers, including UBS, Hershey, Geico, Fruit of the Loom, and Maersk.

Abbie Lundberg and Judson Althoff soon joined the stage to begin the discussion of the digital transformation.  Althoff remarked, “No two digital transformations are alike, and Microsoft is doing a lot of work with companies… Every industry is transforming faster than ever before… there will be lots of talk about creating a new economy about business and industry as a whole. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

There was also some additional talk about artificial intelligence and what it could mean for businesses. Speaking about artificial intelligence, Judson Althoff said, “Jobs will be different, we will have all kinds of mid-skill jobs to keep the machine running, high tech jobs… We’re seeing new jobs pop up about understanding data. I think there is a reason to be concerned and motivated and inspired to be part of the new work economy. There is a healthy future ahead in this artificial intelligence world where humans and machines work together.”

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Abbie Lundberg and Judson Althoff

Real life customers take the stage:

Ibrahim Gokcen from Maersk, Silvestre Jos and Raul Gonzalez from LaLiga later took the stage to discuss how the digital difference impacts their companies.

Ibrahim Gokcen from Maersk said the company is partnering with Microsoft on technology and mentioned the power of the ecosystem. He remarked that the shipping company is “taking the next steps,” and Microsoft’s Judson Althoff said that  “The ecosystem is not only creating digital opportunity but digitally transforming the entire industry.”

Silvestre Jos then took things over and discussed how the top professional association football division of the Spanish football league system, LaLiga, is investing money in and efforts to “make a show like American football.” He said, “With the Microsoft digital cloud we have a set of tools to put in place for the future… data identity, big data analysis. We hope that in the near future we can give the fans what they want which is to consume in different ways in different countries.”

Attention shifted to Raul Gonzalez from LaLiga, and he discussed the values of LaLiga and soccer and why he was happy to be at the event talking to and about Microsoft.

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Ibrahim Gokcen from Maersk

Showroom Floor:

After a quick Q&A session, to end the event, attendees were invited to check out live demos from several Microsoft customers and partners. We were able to see how these companies use Microsoft’s technologies in their businesses and how they are driving the digital transformation.

It was interesting to see how Trimble uses HoloLens to transform the way the world works by delivering mixed reality products and services that connect the physical and digital worlds. Also interesting was how Intermountain Healthcare leverages the power of Skype for Business to decrease the mortality rates in its Critical Care Telehealth program by 40%.

Another company, Sarcos displayed an all terrain industrial inspection robot, which uses a full suite of sensors and facilitates two-way real-time video and voice communications with Azure machine learning and Windows 10 IOT technology.

There even was a demo of Microsoft’s Connected Car, which introduced Microsoft’s vehicle telemetry solution built on Microsoft Azure and the Internet of Things.

Many other companies were at the showcase, and the showroom floor was divided into the following categories.

Customer Experiences:

  • Powershelf
  • Hershey

Fan engagement:

  • LaLiga

Modern transactions:

  • Bank of America
  • Mojis
  • Webjet

Smart Environments:

  • Steelcase
  • Sarcos

Smart Transit:

  • Microsoft
  • Maersk

New reality of design:

  • Trimple
  • Thyssebkrupp

Removing boundaries:

  • Microsoft
  • Intermountain Healthcare

All in all, Digital Transformation is ushering in a new era for businesses and is helping them create relevant customer experiences. We were able to demo a few of these experiences, including Microsoft’s Smart Transportation technology, and we also had a chance to discuss with Dr. Bill Beninati how Intermountain Healthcare is using Skype for business as a virtual healthcare solution, so be sure to keep it tuned for more in the days ahead.