I was privileged enough to attend my 2nd Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) Global Summit at the HQ of Microsoft in Washington state last month. This is my 2nd year as a Microsoft MVP for Kinect and I am still the only Kinect MVP from the UK. This has been largely for my work in using Kinect in education and the Kinect applications that I have created for education.
The summit gives MVPs opportunities to go behind the scenes at Microsoft and see the latest technologies they are working on before they are even announced, as well as attend sessions by Microsoft Engineers and Software Developers where they share what they are currently doing and what will be coming out in the future. It also provides MVPs the opportunity to speak to MS Engineers and developers in small groups and feedback to them with any problems they are having or suggest improvements that could be made. A lot of information that MVPs receive at the conference are covered by Non-Disclosure agreements, so I’m not at liberty to share it until it is public knowledge.
One of the highlights of the week was a talk given by the new CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella to MVPs on his vision of the future for Microsoft. There seems to be a renewed focus on doing what they do best, which is software, whereas he sees Apple as a devices company. This is demonstrated by Microsoft Office now being one of the top selling Apps on iOS. The Microsoft employees I spoke to were all very positive about Satya as CEO, as they see him as one of them as he worked his way up through the company starting as an Engineer.
One of the significant announcements in my field, which I can share, is that Microsoft are now selling a £30 adaptor for XBOX1 Kinect so that it can be used with Windows PCs. Although Kinect was originally a motion sensing gaming device, it has been adapted to be used in so many other areas from Physical therapy to Hospital operating rooms and of course in education. This announcement will encourage this further with the new and improved Kinect for XBOX1.
I also took the opportunity while at Microsoft to meet with the TouchDevelop team at Microsoft Research. We are using TouchDevelop to teach programming on our School courses and NC games courses and I have been in constant touch via e-mail with the TouchDevelop team in Redmond. I am also currently working on a project with Delhi University and West College Scotland, where I am creating an online course on games development using TouchDevelop. So it was good to sit down with them and discuss how we were using it, what we need from it and find out what they are planning in the future for it.