Forecasting the future is hard. Unless, you shape it yourself. At Microsoft, we often use the art of storytelling to explain our vision in a way that will inspire others to imagine well beyond how software enhances our lives today. As an example of this imaginative storytelling, Microsoft released two Skype for Business videos that depict life in the future from both an administrator’s perspective as well as that of a user. These videos demonstrate integrated technology available today as well as what may be possible in the future.
As an Office 365 Cloud Solution Architect with Microsoft, I often talk with customers and partners about features available today as well as the potential for tomorrow. As part of this conversation to spark the imagination, I often use two Skype for Business futures videos to paint the story. In presentations, I show one of the two minute videos first and then show it again while stopping frequently and narrating what is being seen. I’ll then repeat this process for the second video. During this presentation, the audience begins to use their imagination to envision the art of what is possible using Skype for Business features and integration services that may perhaps be developed in the future.
These videos are filled with imaginative features and capabilities depicting the future possibilities of Skype for Business to make our personal and professional lives easier. With the number of features shown, a viewer may not realize what is being shown unless it is narrated. I have reviewed each video below and written hypothetical insights about each scene. This script helps me narrate the stories in each video. Please use what I have developed to help you in your discussions with customers or your own management team when talking about the many capabilities of this collaboration software. I have placed a link to each video below, the title, stop times for narration, and text about what is happening in each scene. Be sure to watch the video several times while reviewing the script in preparation to deliver a smooth presentation. With the talking points rehearsed and a lot of viral energy in your presentation delivery, you will see wide eyes and excitement peering back at you during the delivery of what is possible with this amazing product.
Note: The videos and talking points below do not include, suggest, or confirm any future features Microsoft has committed to development in software or products. Rather, these videos were developed to spark our imagination to envision what is possible. Microsoft’s Mission statement is, “To empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.” Integrating Microsoft Skype for Business with the many other products Microsoft has, as well as with what others are yet to imagine, will help us achieve this mission.
Video One : “Skype for Business: Vision for the Future”
Link: Skype for Business: Vision for the Future
Video Stop: 00:18
Scene: Terry is a father of several kids being dropped off at school in the morning. His day starts out hectic trying to balance his family and professional life. With a digital assistant, his hectic morning becomes a bit more organized.
- Highlight the connected watch Terry is wearing. Is this a Fitbit, an Apple Watch, a Samsung Fit? Whatever the manufacturer/model, notice the integration.
- Cortana, the digital assistant, knew Terry had an upcoming meeting. Using GPS, she tracked his location. With traffic integration from Bing, Cortana checked the traffic report and mapped the fastest route for Terry, perhaps avoiding traffic congestion or an accident. Cortana then alerted Terry that he is going to be twenty minutes late to his meeting.
- Terry then asks Cortana if everyone else is going to be on time. With tracking capabilities on his colleagues enabled, Cortana was quickly able to quickly answer the question.
- Terry then asks Cortana to join the meeting for him. In the next scene, notice a picture of Terry that appears in the Skype participant window.
Video Stop: 00:30
Scene: Surface Hub being used in the meeting.
- The meeting host asks what section Mia is in. She replies with a location and he writes “report from Mia – northwest section” on his tablet using OneNote. The annotation is also mirrored to the Surface Hub as part of the meeting notes.
- In the upper right-hand corner, notice the current time and how much time has elapsed in the meeting – one of the many features of Surface Hub.
Video Stop: 00:40
Scene: Terry walks into the meeting room.
- The Surface Hub recognizes Terry as he walks into the conference room and is automatically joined as an attendee (no longer mobile). The Surface Hub displays, “Welcome, Terry.”
- Facial recognition is possible today through the use of Microsoft Cognitive Services.
Video Stop: 00:58
Scene: The team is analyzing what Mia’s tablet is displaying. “Mia can you hold that for a second?”
- Terry says, “I think that’s a peregrine falcon’s nest.” Terry then circles the nest on the Surface Hub and the circle also appears on Mia’s tablet in the field.
- Notice how the meeting moderator swiped in the air from right to left on the Surface Hub to open the side bar. He did not touch the screen. One day, Surface Hub may use Xbox Kinect technology to enable this hand gesturing feature. Consider the additional possibilities of this integration.
- In the sidebar, notice the three birds listed, the circles representing each one, and their reported concentrations in the small to larger circles. Consider the capabilities of Cortana Analytics to display this data in a customizable format.
- Notice the “Related information” section at the bottom right where multiple pictures and related files are displayed as well as a timeline of events. Displayed is related information about that location in the forest (Overgrowth Forecast, Omni Budget, Field Observations and Reports). This is the power of the Microsoft cloud, bringing relevant information right to the screen based on perhaps a GPS location (notice the “Forest Ref 867”), meeting attendees, or this reoccurring meeting each week where similar data is used.
Video Stop: 01:18
Scene: The shipping dock worker is talking on a phone, leaving a message.
- The dock worker leaves a message for Jake, “Hey Jake, we loaded early – we’re ready for the next shipment.”
- The text message then appears in Jake’s Skype for Business client. Using perhaps the Speaker Identification API, the service knew who exactly left the message and displayed that person, Ricardo, as the sender on Jake’s phone. Jake received the speech to text translation on his mobile smart phone.
- As Jake turns to his computer, he swipes up on his smartphone and the Instant Message from Ricardo appears on Jake’s screen.
- Jake then asks his computer to identify who was asking him about shipping early. With the speech to text question now displayed on the computer, a search takes place and the relevant information is retrieved. Notice the integrated client list as well as CRM information for shipment availability.
Video Stop: 01:30
Scene: Jake opens a conversation from the list where the question was asked about early shipment.
- In the conversation window, we can see the conversation history with the original question.
- Using the original conversation window, Jake replies back with the good news about expediting their shipment.
Video Stop: 01:34
Scene: Dr. Linares is getting ready to broadcast the clinical trial results.
- Notice the number of attendees on her list: 2,978 (and increasing).
- The meeting is automatically projected to the larger screen when the Microsoft Surface is placed on the desk.
Video Stop: 01:46
Scene: Attendee watching the meeting on her tablet.
- Notice the meeting broadcast video being displayed as well as real-time English to Spanish being translated into written Spanish subtitles.
- Notice the Live status indicated in the upper right of the screen Dr. Linares is speaking on. Is this the Universal Translator from sci-fi coming to life?
Video Stop: 01:53
Scene: Attendee sitting on outside bench eating noodles with a Microsoft Surface watching the meeting broadcast.
- Notice the translation of the meeting broadcast to Mandarin Chinese.
- As demonstrated at Enterprise Connect 2016, Skype Meeting Broadcast will translate a speaker’s language to over 40 different languages. The language translation capabilities will continue to grow.
Video Stop: 2:01
Scene: Dr. Melamed is watching the recorded broadcast from his office.
- Notice the reminder for “Your appointment with Eleanor starts now.”
- Consider the tight integration between Skype for Business and Microsoft Exchange services in the cloud.
Video Stop: 02:11
Scene: Eleanor’s virtual medical checkup/appointment.
- Notice how Dr. Melamed quickly clicks out of his the Skype Broadcast Meeting to join his appointment with Eleanor.
- Many health data points are being provided to Dr. Melamed on the screen for easy viewing.
- This rich health data could be coming from Microsoft Health Vault where perhaps Eleanor’s latest blood test results have come back and are now posted for review.
Video Stop: 02:16
Scene: Eleanor is holding the smartphone in the video conference.
- Some of the data presented to Dr. Melamed may have been gathered from the health fitness tracker Eleanor is wearing such as a Microsoft Band, a Fitbit, an Apple iWatch. This data could then be uploaded directly to Eleanor’s account for review.
- To demonstrate the multi-platform capabilities of Skype for Business, Eleanor is holding an Apple iPhone.
- Notice that Dr. Melamed’s name is on the screen that Eleanor is using.
Video Two: “Skype for Business: Vision for Modern IT”
Video Stop: 00:08
Scene: Kevin (Network Admin) is holding his smart phone to review network traffic updates in a unified dashboard. Notice each of the alerts on his display listed below from a potential proactive monitoring and optimization product with a smartphone interface.
- Caution: Mobile Traffic Trending Up by 23% – We can assume this network traffic is from a mobile workforce that is spiking this morning compared to other mornings.
- Caution: Network traffic rerouted from CHI (Chicago) to CTL (Charlotte) for STL (St. Louis)
- Informational: Broadcast meeting rescheduled from 9am on 2/26 to 5pm on 2/25
- Informational: The user adoption campaign for the New York rollout has been completed
- Caution: St. Louis (this is a predictive alert)
Video Stop: 00:34
Scene: The Surface Hub is displaying current network alerts that are being analyzed and addressed by the network team.
- The question is asked of Kevin, “Did you see that they moved the Broadcast up to tonight?” He responds that he did see the meeting change already. This was an informational alert on his smart phone in the previous scene.
Kevin is analyzing the alert with the other network admins about “this uptick in Northeast mobile traffic.” This alert is at the top of the list on the interactive network monitoring interface.
- The severe weather from a snow storm and six degrees Fahrenheit is automatically suggested as a possible cause for the uptick in mobile traffic. This weather information is an example of possible data correlation with other Microsoft services such as MSN Weather.
- Notice the mobile traffic vs non-mobile traffic graph displayed.
Video Stop: 00:35
Scene: The Incident Management pop-up screen in the network monitoring area is being displayed.
- On the Remote Mobile Traffic pop-up, notice the “Notify Helpdesk” button in the lower right.
- Kevin selects the “Notify Helpdesk” option to craft a quick message that will be sent directly to the Help Desk.
- The alert is automatically created for the helpdesk, “Heads up, Mobile traffic trending up in North East. Keep an eye on it!” As a possible extension of this interface, a drop-down list of possible alternative messages could also be generated and displayed with several other notices to send to the help desk. As a network administrator, this is another example of how all alerts are easily brought together with integration from multiple sources where they can be analyzed and action quickly taken.
Video Stop: 00:44
Scene: The Surface Hub is displaying the network map of several locations where alerts have been triggered.
- Notice how interactive the network map is on the Surface Hub. Kevin is able to easily see where network issues are and zoom into the location for more information.
- The issue being discussed is that call volume has increased drastically in the past week. The team in this scene is reviewing the problem and taking action before the issues result in a poor user experience. We can see the sharp increase in users in the graph displayed.
- In the graph displayed, notice the “Request Capacity Increase” button in the lower right. Kevin selects this quick action item.
- Once the request for capacity change is selected, the action is taken and the notification is quickly provided in the upper right of the screen with “Azure ExpressRoute Capacity Increased.”
Video Stop: 01:09
Scene: Imagine as an IT Administrator being able to open a new location anywhere in the world. This scene shows quick action examples to enable a rapid user and device deployment in Sydney or anywhere else.
- On this site, notice the template for a new site in the upper left corner called “Standard Wealth Management Office”.
- With the template for a new office deployment chosen, notice the deployment target of AUSYD01 and a launch date of May 12, 2017.
In the deployment window on the right, there are complex scripts being executed.
- Creating “Active Directory” accounts – Complete
- Setting up “ExpressRoute” – Complete
- “Quality of Service” setup – Complete
- “974 Numbers ported” (in progress at 96% complete). We can assume we are in a holding pattern with this last step, waiting for the “Deploy” button to be selected to complete the build-out and complete the final number porting process.
- The admin then selects the “Deploy” button in the lower right. We see the final steps now taking place to complete the deployment in Sydney.
Video Stop: 01:16
Scene: Desk in a home office with a MAC and Polycom VVX series phone on it. User is sitting down to logon.
- Notice the Apple computer on the desk. Microsoft purposely placed the Apple computer on the desk to demonstrate our approach to extend our business productivity software to multiple devices and operating systems.
- The Polycom VVX series phone on the desk is displaying the new Skype for Business interface. Microsoft and its partners are working to enable a faster user adoption and better overall experience by providing a common Skype for Business interface across all devices.
- As the scene continues, the familiar Skype for Business interface on the Apple computer is also displayed.
Video Stop: 01:28
Scene: Kevin standing with a Surface Pro reviewing a report about a team’s travel reductions in a unified dashboard. Notice the rich reporting and easy visualization of data.
- Notice the “New site adoption” is at 79%. Telemetry on new unique users logging into the service is displayed in this report, showing the great results. The results can then be provided to the project manager as he/she tracks the project timeline and milestones.
- Notice the “Call quality rankings” are also shown. This data is being pulled from Skype Analytics and displayed in the dashboard here.
- The integration of each of these data points is made possible using a Microsoft Office 365 PowerBI dashboard pulling information together from multiple data points.
- While reviewing the information, this project leader receives an Instant Message in Skype for Business, “Can you come to the board room?” In a meeting taking place already, a participant there was able to find the project leader, see he was online, and request that he quickly stop by the board room. It is this type of presence awareness and instant collaboration that has defined Microsoft Lync and Skype for Business in business environments.
Video Stop: 01:40
Scene: Presentation on a Surface Hub in a meeting to evaluate new sites being deployed. Notice the easy analytics and reporting providing big data insights.
- The presenter is asked, “How is the New York site doing?” The presenter then asks the Surface Hub to “Show me site utilization for New York.”
- The meeting attendee then asks, “Who are our heaviest users?” The presenter then requests for a new data set with, “Sort by role.”
- The meeting attendee then asks, “Can I get a copy of that?” The presenter then replies, “Of course.” From the Microsoft Surface Hub, the presenter can have the screen contents easily emailed to the participants.
- Using the Speaker Recognition API to distinguish the speaker in a room and Bing Speech API to convert and understand speech, the request is then analyzed and the data presented by the system. Keep in mind that Microsoft has one of the most advanced speech recognition systems with a Word Error Rate (WER) of 5.9%; that is considered to be human parity in conversational speech recognition. For more information on this leading technology, click here.
Video Stop: 01:59
Scene: This is the end of the day with Kevin leaving the office at 5pm, the same time as the rescheduled meeting. Kevin is on the meeting as an administrator, watching the statistics of the Skype Meeting Broadcast in a unified console.
- Notice the Samsung Android smart phone Kevin is using where he is viewing the meeting. This is another example of Microsoft developing rich applications on devices from multiple vendors using various operating systems.
- In the “CEO Meeting” Kevin is monitoring, she says, “Welcome Sydney. Thank you for joining us. Shall we jump right in?”
- To monitor the statistics of the Skype Meeting Broadcast, Kevin slides his finger up on the smartphone for more information. In this interface, we can see of the 8510 participants invited, 7045 are now on the broadcast to watch. This is a dynamic number being displayed on the smartphone that will dynamically change as participants join and leave.
- Skype Meeting Broadcast has the capability to reach thousands of people for a large meeting, such as this one, with attendees using a smart phone and web browsers from multiple vendors across devices and operating systems made by many manufacturers. More information about Skype Meeting Broadcast is available here.