Future Decoded 2017: Day one – as it happened



An amazing first day at Future Decoded. Panos Panay announced the release of Surface Book 2 devices in the UK, while cloud, quantum and GDPR were also covered. It was announced that Microsoft Teams is coming to UK data centres, too.

Thanks for reading, we’ll be back tomorrow.


Clare Barclay now closing Future Decoded, day one. We are back tomorrow!


Walliams is covering Britain’s Got Talent, Little Britain and how he writes. “Ideas are like seeds and it’s up to you to catch them and grow an idea. Most of my ideas never go anywhere. Most inspiration comes from world around me, you never know where you will get an idea from. Everyone has stories. I like to be on my own and not be disturbed when I’m being creative. I make lots of notes, and don’t beat myself up if I don’t achieve much.


Comedian David Walliams takes to stage. He’s being interviewed by Microsoft UK COO Clare Barclay.


Svore: Visit Microsoft.com/quantum to learn more and help us with the code.


Svore: It takes a billion years to find two prime numbers that add up to a big number on a classical computer. On a quantum computer, it will take 100 seconds. Imagine the power. We can use that power to solve very big problems – helping with world hunger, in carbon capture, in machine learning.


Svore: We are working on a universal, programmable quantum computer. It will sit at incredibly cold temperatures. Our system will sit in the cloud. They won’t sit in your office or in your pocket. It will be an accelerator option in Azure. Today you have options to send apps to to a mix of GPU and CPUs, quantum will be another option.

With quantum computing, we need a form of error correction. We are working on topological qubit, which has specific error correction qualities. Topological qubit is key to scaling up and solving problems. Topological qubits allow us to “braid” information together to solve problems quicker. It’s also far more robust against noise and “wobbling”.


Steve Clayton back on stage. “Why are our qubits not like other people’s qubits?”

He welcomes Dr Krysta Svore from Microsoft Quantum Research team to the stage.


Kouwenhoven: Take the example of a maze. With quantum computing we can try all the paths at the same time and succeed quicker. Another problem with traditional computing is that electrons are separate, they wobble and interfere with each other. Imagine Greek dancers, they are linked in a row and much more stable. It is a robust building block for a qubit, which you can then scale up.


Kouwenhoven: Chemistry is a problem that scales very poorly with classic IT. Chemistry is just one application of quantum. Can we use quantum mechanics for IT? We need to have quantum mechanics to understand nature and the beauty of nature. Nature speaks the language of quantum mechanics.


Clayton: Microsoft has amassed a global dream team of some of the leading experts in quantum. Today, we will be covering why we are building a quantum computing and the challenges it could solve.

Prof Leo Kouwenhoven takes to the stage.


Steve Clayton, Chief Storyteller at Microsoft, takes to the stage to introduce quantum computing segment. He says Satya Nadella writes about three main areas in his book, Hit Refresh:


Don’t go anywhere; the quantum computing keynote kicks off in nine minutes and it’s going to be good!


New features in UK data centres just announced on the Expo floor:

15: 35

HoloLens and Mixed Reality are proving popular again this year.

By the way, the next talk on the main stage focuses on quantum computing. We’ll be hearing from Prof Leo Kouwenhoven and Dr Krysta Svore from the Microsoft Quantum Research team at 4:30pm. As ever, we will cover it all live.


Tech on show includes the Surface Studio – users can switch the screen from upright to almost flat.

The power of Paint 3D on Surface:


The expo floor is still packed. So many people here today finding out about Microsoft, its partners and customers, and the technology behind them.


We caught up with Ian McLaren, the Financial Director of London Midland, at Future Decoded. He explained how the train company has digitally transformed, changing the culture to embrace technology in the way they work.

“We rolled out new devices. We also saw a demo of the Surface Hub and wanted one. It’s allowed us to engage more with customers. We now have 30 Surface Hubs across our network. Internally, people use them for sharing info, for the whiteboard and for Yammer feeds.”


The GDPR session has finished. A quick peek in the Surface area reveals lots of people getting hands-on with the new Surface Book 2


Butler: Labelling a document as confidential automatically labels an email as confidential. Can even be blocked by Outlook if you’re not allowed to send it out.

Microsoft gives you a huge step forward towards compliance.


Butler: Opening file in Word automatically flags document when it contains sensitive data – this document has a National Insurance number in it. Also automatically encrypts document. You can add labels to document so other people know it contains sensitive information, or is highly confidential, or for internal use only etc.

Hoggett: This is baked into the software so you don’t have to learn new skills, you are already using the tools.

Butler: Right-clicking on a driving licence, for example, allows me to classify and protect that piece of data, so only people with clearance can see it.


Hoggett: Content search function in Office 365 allows businesses to quickly and easily search for information on individuals if those individuals have asked to have their data removed – CVs, for example. Organisations can then download those results, look at them offline and act upon them, as needed.


Butler: We can see if your personal details have been stolen and pushed out on the  dark web. Protecting your identity is the most important thing.

Office 365 asks for multi-factor authentication before sign-in. Office 365 also allows organisations to block staff from downloading data from home. You can edit documents but not download.


Butler: Microsoft has a lot of solutions to help you prepare for GDPR.

Most network breaches come from phishing attacks. but not from viruses, hackers want your password and credentials because that gets them sensitive data.

Butler tries to log in to Office 365 but it’s blocked – he has to sign in from a legitimate IP address. That protects consumers.


Hoggett: GDPR comes into force on May 25, replacing current directive. It gives greater control over personal data for individuals. GDPR sets security benchmark for organisations. Customers will be data controller, Microsoft will be data processor and there will be an agreement between these two.


The room is packed for this session. GDPR obviously a hot topic for businesses.


The breakout session on GDPR starts in four minutes with Andrew Butler, Solution Specialist, and James Hoggett, Office 365 Lead for EMEA. We’ll be covering it live here.


That’s the end of the technical talks. Now it’s back to the expo hall and breakout sessions. You can find all the information you need at our Future Decoded website, here.


Bishop: Microsoft’s aim is to democratize AI for everyone.


Bishop: We are the world of big data, in a computational sense. The world of machine learning is rich and complex, we are really just at the beginning. Our goal at Microsoft Research is to ensure we operate at the forefront of machine learning and make that available to Microsoft.

TrueSkill on Xbox uses machine learning to match players with equal skill levels. We capture the fact that sometimes the weaker player wins and sometimes the stronger player wins.


Bishop: The goal of machine learning is to find a solution to the problem you are working on. Data in context leads to learning, data alone can’t do this. We are in the era of big data, and big data is driving the AI revolution. Data with a little bit of prior knowledge can lead to a solution.


Chris Bishop, head of Microsoft Research Cambridge, now onstage at Future Decoded


Bardeen says she will highlight key UK partners in her talk at Future Decoded tomorrow. She will also talk about HoloLens and what’s going on with the device at the moment.


Meanwhile, over on the main stage:


Panay: The more we can connect people, the more incredible things we can do, globally. It’s a powerful concept and one we think about all the time.

Bardeen: We want to bring as much technology across as broad a spectrum as possible.


How much do you think about modes of interaction?

Panay: The physicality is important. It’s about new ways of interaction, what you can achieve with a pen in your hand or a Surface in your lap. Pen mode and touch mode work together on Surface devices. We are in a world that allows people to push forward and have the mode of interaction they need without having to choose it. We are living in a world of senses.

Bardeen: We have helped people process complex information. Humans are good at that. We can bring simple options forward, options that we have always known – touch, sight, speech.


Opening it up to Q&A now.

Bardeen: What’s needed is out of the box functionality. That’s crystal clear to us. Out of the box, HoloLens supports Skype. When businesses want to expand and customise that, they can do that, too.


Bardeen: People can’t be holding tech that makes it difficult to do their job. People can put on a HoloLens and call someone miles away to help them, seeing through the screen. That’s changing how businesses are operating. That’s out of the box functionality that is transforming jobs.


Panos: The device disappears and your ideas come forward. We will keep innovating there. The innovation of HoloLens will continue. That is where we are going and we are not going to stop.

Bardeen: We have an ongoing commitment to bring you innovation. We are feeding more and more innovation into Microsoft 365 to bring it to our customers.


Panay: Devices are becoming objects of desire, that are so important for people to use. It started with phones. Our innovation is just starting.

Bardeen: what we can do with mixed reality is a jump ahead of where we thought we would be. Daily workflows are changing very quickly.


Panel session and Q&A with Panos Panay and Lorraine Bardeen, GM, Windows, HoloLens, and Mixed Reality Experiences Engineering & Product Strategy at Microsoft, about to get under way. Hosted by Windows and Surface BG Lead at Microsoft Ryan Asdourian.


That’s the end of the morning keynotes. In just under 20 minutes we have technical keynotes on the main stage.


Zhang: Microsoft working with top universities to develop games for Fizzyo platforms. We are excited about the potential for technology to improve people’s lives.


Haiyan Zhang, Microsoft Innovation Director and creator of the Emma Watch, is now on stage. She explains how it came about and talks about Project Fizzyo, her bid to help people with Cystic Fibrosis to complete their physiotherapy.


White: More organisations are turning to Microsoft cloud. The cloud has profound impact on individual lives too.

White introduces Project Emma, amazing story about helping a woman with Parkinson’s. Read the full story, here.


White: Trust is a core part of Azure. We also have the largest geographical data centre footprint in the world.

White shows demo of Litware Insurance, showing how interactive and easy it is to buy car insurance. Website can spot if you upload a picture of the wrong car. Chatbot will help you get the best deal, adapt to your language, can bring in a real person, if needed.


White: Microsoft has built up Azure with hybrid in mind. You are running your environment like it’s a single environment. That’s also important from a security viewpoint. Data tends to be most expensive and risk when moving but we’ve invested in Azure to make it easy to move your information. It’s a fluid hybrid experience.

With Azure Stack you can open up new opportunities and capabilities anywhere.


White: How we deliver technology is so important. We must ensure a consistent hybrid solution end to end, make sure every developer can build AI, and rock-solid trust.

White now showing Jellyfish video. This VFX company worked on new Star Wars Film.


White: I want to talk about Applications and Infrastructure, and Data and AI. There has been a long discussion about public versus private cloud, but it’s moved to a hybrid cloud.


Panay introduces Julia White, Vice-President of cloud at Microsoft. That’s his presentation over.


Panay: I want to encourage each of you to think about your workplace culture, about how old tools and new tools need to evolve from one to the next., The modern workplace is about getting most creative flow out of your people and yourselves, creating teamwork, bringing the security of Windows and simplicity with power of Office 365 and the cloud fuelling it.


Panay: Surface Book 2 is every part of Microsoft coming together.


Panay: Surface for LTE is super cool but I want to talk about new Surface Book. On November 13, new Surface Book 13-inch is coming to UK; 15-inch will follow early next year:


Panay showing how teams can come together remotely all over the world. He is showing Teams, which is being updated live on screen as an artist draws on his Surface in the front row. More people adding to live screen from Redmond, in the US.

In Surface, we create products that free people from their desktop. The range of Surface devices shown on screen. From December 1 we will start shipping Surface Pro with LTE for businesses. It’s lightning fast.


Panay now holding the new Surface Book 2. He is showing the audience what it can do.


Panay: What you can do today is world-changing. Our people need different tools, our teams need different tools. What are they? What ushers us into the modern era? Your greatest asset is your people and their ideas.

Panay now showing off the Surface Studio, talking about seamless working from mobile to desktop PC. Showing the AI and machine learning built into PowerPoint.


Panay: Look at how the workplace is changing, we are giving people the new tools they need. How people work every day is changing, where they work is changing. In just three years, 50% of global workforce will be mobile. It’s up to us to create an entirely new world of work for them, and we have to do it simply.

I remember watching McEnroe and Borg going to five sets, the baseline play, serve and volleys, the battle went back and forth. It was incredible to watch. It seemed like you would never see better tennis players ever. Look at today, what’s changed – Federer, Nadal. It’s more precise, more powerful. It’s incredible to see what’s happening and what’s changed. The game is faster.

Tools are changing, they are modernizing. The opportunity is in front of you. As tech evolves on the tennis court, so do our tools at work. What we can achieve now could not be dreamed about three years ago.



Panay: Today we are here to talk about the future. We are sitting at one of the most exciting times possible. I’m here to talk about the modern workplace.


Courtois introduces Panos Panay, head of Microsoft devices


Courtois: Every company is becoming a digital company and a software company. Every company wants to empower their customers to do more. Businesses want to reinvent services, to make them digitally native.

At Future Decoded you will hear a lot of stories of digital transformation. You will be able to talk with customers, too, about how they are reinventing their mission, changing what they do.


Courtois: We are going through the most massive change we have ever witnessed. Change is about culture. We looked at who we are as a company, what we stand for. It’s all about empowering every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more. That is our purpose.


Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice-President of Microsoft now on stage. Says he is excited to be surrounded by so many customers.

“The change we are making, you have to be an optimist. I’m inspired by the people in the room. You are bringing the best to reinvent the future”


Williams: Companies can scale much faster with AI. Really interesting things happening in synthetic biology. Quantum computing will be big.


Barclay: “Report shows half of business think they face digital disruption,. but only half of them are doing something about it.”

Williams: “It’s hard to think you have to manage decline or change. The way it needs to be positioned is ‘this is a great opportunity for everyone, this is our mission, this is our purpose. It’s a long-term thing. If change is required, teams in the business need training.


Greg Williams, editor of Wired, joins Clare Barclay on stage. He says “digital transformation is not optional. It applies to everyone, even individuals. Look at how we are consuming goods and services, radically different to how we did this in the past. The ways we used to interact with customers, to sell and provide services, are changing by the year. Look at financial services, 10 years ago it was very different from now.”


Barclay running through everything that’s happening today. There is a lot on. Talking about how Met Police have gone through cultural change, as well as organizational change.

Now talking about the digital transformation report released today.


Clare Barclay, Microsoft COO, opening Future Decoded. Welcomes everyone to the fourth event.


Just three minutes until Future Decoded kicks off! Eccited!


A musical start to Future Decoded in the Excel foyer:


One stand is offering people the chance to win a Surface Pro just for playing basketball. Feeling lucky? Play in the NBA? Give it a go.


The Excel is rapidly filling up. The HoloLens and Surface stands are packed! Keynotes start at 9:30am in the main hall.


Panos Panay, head of Surface, is here already, ahead of his keynote speech later this morning:


For everything you need to about Future Decoded, including a full list of speakers and events, check out our event website, here. We’ve got a great line-up, plus amazing partners, Surface devices, HoloLens and much more.


London Midland has brought a train set! I’m guessing this stand is going to be very popular over the next two days. The company used Office 365 and Surface Hub to rapidly reform the way staff communicate with each other. You can learn more about its digital transformation, here.


Among our partners at Future Decoded is Jellyfish, a VFX company that worked on Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rather fittingly, they seem to have brought a mini cinema with them:


Here’s the main floor at Future Decoded. If you’re coming along today or tomorrow, you’re in for a treat. There are loads of companies and tech here.


Microsoft has conducted a unique report into digital transformation in the UK. The report, out today, shows that fear of change is putting British companies at risk. You can read the full study, here.


Panos Panay put this picture on Instagram as he flew from Seattle to London for Future Decoded:

See you in London #FutureDecoded

A post shared by Panos Panay Official (@panos_panay) on


Don’t forget to download the official Future Decoded app from our official website. The app has information about the speakers as well as a handy guide for finding your way to the venue.


Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of this year’s Future Decoded event. We are expecting tens of thousands of people to join us in the ExCel, in London, today and tomorrow to hear the latest about what Microsoft is doing in the technology sector.

If you’re lucky enough to be here today, you can meet a host of Microsoft’s partners and customers, as well as hear from Panos Panay, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft Devices; Cindy Rose, Chief Executive of Microsoft UK; Chris Bishop; Director of Microsoft Research Cambridge; comedian David Walliams; and former Manchester United star Gary Neville.