Microsoft Future Decoded 2015 (Technical Day)

Posted by ryansouthgate on 19 Nov 2015

It’s been about a week since the Microsoft Future Decoded 2015 (Technical Day), so I thought now would be a good time to recap and share my thoughts on it.

Future Decoded was a free event at the London ExCel centre and filled up very quickly – I took the train down the day before and met my good friend Ian Rufus there, we went for a few pints and some BBQ food.

The venue was packed, on the same day there were various other events, one for A-Level students checking out universities (reminded me of when I was in a similar position all those years ago) and another for Energy Marketing….

Future Decoded kicked off in the very big hall, down at the Prince Regent (DLR) station end of the ExCel. DJ Yoda was on the decks and the welcoming sound of the IT Crowd theme tune drew everyone in.

There were some really good keynotes to kick the day off. Scott Guthrie gave a fantastic talk about IoT and cows – how a company began tracking their cows using pedometers in order to notify their owners when they were ready to breed. The statistics mentioned showed how IoT helped – a massive increase in the pregnancy rates of their cows!

Another notable talk was from Graham Cluley, he presented the issue of trust – why we trust people, companies and their services. Graham showed examples of how companies are trying to shoe-horn IoT into all of their devices e.g. Bluetooth electric toothbrushes and shavers. The main take-away from this talk (for me) was that these are not “Software Companies” however, they are making internet connected devices – do they really know what they are doing? Sometimes not!

The last keynote talk that really had me interested was with Chris Bishop (Microsoft Research Cambridge). Chris talked about how Artificial Intelligence and machine learning can be used in tech today, he explained how AI is used in Kinect (body tracking) and demoed Microsoft’s Emotion detection live. Probably much to technical to dive in and see some code – but very interesting!

After the keynotes there was an Expo held in the hall opposite ours. Lots of really cool geeky stuff in there. I picked up a free Visual Studio T-Shirt (celebrating 20 years of VS). There were competitions a-plenty. The were running live raffles andgiving away Surface Books/Surface Pro 4’s (when they are released).
A large section of the expo was a bar……run by robots. Create a cocktail on one of the supplied Surface Pro’s, your order is placed in the queue and the two robot arms, navigate the optics/juice and create your tipple. A mesmerising watch – seeing these robot arms dance around, shaking and pouring drinks.

After the expo and lunch, the smaller “Break-out” sessions started. These were all well timetabled (for me at least – there always seemed to be a few I wanted to go to) and the hardest part was choosing between the sessions.

I’m not going to detail the sessions I attended – these were more technical and I wouldn’t be able to do them justice.

All in all, it was a fantastic, well organised event. There was plenty of networking going on, plenty of things to do and see.
One of the big things (for me, as I enjoy using Microsoft tech), was the direction they are heading. Everything was open and transparent, their visions and how they are placing them for the future. I got what Microsoft were saying – they’re going all in with IoT and the cloud. The improvements they are making to Azure are coming thick and fast. Cloud is the future and we will be living in a world where the smallest of devices are doing their own jobs and talking to each other and the cloud.

I thoroughly enjoyed Future Decoded and will be signing myself up to many more in the future, it is an exciting time to be a developer!

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