Keeping connected and forging the digital future

Posted on 27 Oct 2020 by Tom Lane

Microsoft will be exhibiting at the Smart Factory Expo and demonstrating how the rapid adoption of technology has been a business-critical function during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We went from 44 million (Microsoft) Teams users to 75 million Teams users in the space of one month,” explained Rina Ladva, Head of UK Manufacturing at Microsoft.

Respond, recover and reimagine was the mantra embraced by Microsoft throughout the pandemic. The world stood still back in March and how business was conducted effectively changed overnight. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams became vital for the everyday running of companies, to keep colleagues in touch, to keep order books churning and, most importantly, to keep businesses the world over connected.

“A big focus for us as a business was to constantly manage the stability of Teams despite the exponential increase on users to ensure that customers got the right level of continuity, functionality and resilience,” Rina said.

“We’ve also shifted a lot of our engineering timelines and efforts to make sure that we’re improving the platform month on month, in an accelerated way. Some of the things we were probably going to release in a year’s time we’ve bought all of that forward to make sure that customers really get that continuity, because actually it has become a business-critical mechanism.”

Augmented Reality FoodIndustry Image Courtesy of Microsoft

The rapid acceleration and adoption to new technologies took on a whole new level of importance during the pandemic and Microsoft is playing a crucial role in this transformation. Companies who maybe had once shied from the use of digital tools in their businesses were left with no choice – to innovate their processes or dissipate.

Rina explained: “We think about the reimagined phase, we are having a lot more conversations with customers about their transformation and what they’re trying to achieve. One of the areas the pandemic has strengthened is the focus on sustainability and the right strategies for manufactuiring.. How do they really drive real effiency and cost saving whilst also meeting the the sustainability goals that they have?”

She continued: “There are a lot of pledges from organisations around sustainability, but they often  don’t have a plan on how to achieve it. Digtial transformation has a huge part to play here to support both process automation and effieincey goals, but also help businesses meet their carbon negative and sustaibability goals faster..”

Augmented Reality - Vuforia Expert Capture and Microsoft HoloLens Electronics (2) - image courtesy of PTC

Manufacturing in focus

Microsoft will be exhibiting at the Smart Factory Expo between 9-13 November as part of The Manufacturer’s Digital Manufacturing Week and the Manufacturing Leaders’ Summit. Discover, Develop and Diversify is the strapline for the event and Microsoft certainly embodies this thinking. It is excited to share its learnings and help manufacturers not only survive but thrive in these uncertain times.

Digital Manufacturing Week has a phenomenal part to play. While I think about the new normal, things are moving fast. While everyone is sat at home, we have worked harder than ever before. Technology is moving at pace, the adoption of how people are using it is moving as rapidly. Digital Manufacturing week helps us learn from each other and share some of the great work that is happening across the sector.” Rina said.

These types of event help us bring many dimensions of thinking and innovation together to help see the art of the possible and forge new ideas, partnerships and solutions across Government, businesses and technology companies like Microsoft.

“As the pandemic prolongs, these moments of togetherness across the industry are vital to accelerate  innovation, collaboration and partnerships to support recovery  and growth as we emerge from this challenging time.

With the lack of physical exhibitions taking place across the globe this year it is critical to have the right platform to bring these ideas to life. Digital Manufacturing Week will give makers the tools to accelerate their business practice, implement the ideas of the future and talk with the technology providers like Microsoft that are making these transformations a reality.

Rina concluded: “Learning, sharing and then thinking about how we galvanise some of those ideas for the future is really important. Of equal importance is having a collective voice back into government, policymakers and regulators about the support that is needed. So, as a group coming together like this, Digital Manufacturing Week is incredibly important to make sure that we’ve got the right collective voice about what is needed for industry and how we can work together to maximise the opportunities we all have for growth.”

Register now

Make sure you and your team do not miss out on the many exciting opportunities to accelerate your understanding of digital manufacturing. Registration for Digital Manufacturing Week is now open, so start planning your visit today