Tag Archives: Office 365

Kayas College chooses Surface to transform distance learning

On his first day as Director of Kayas Cultural College, Kyle Trumpour walked in met his entire student body, of 13 students. Eight hours north of Edmonton, Kayas College, is a First Nation college located in the remote area of Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta. A difficult socioeconomic climate, combined with a large geographic expanse and harsh weather, had made it challenging for people living there to access education. Furthermore, the dated method of communicating and teaching between the college’s three campuses was extremely difficult and inefficient for the students and the teachers. Each of them lacked the face-to-face interactions that are fundamental to a teacher/student relationship.

Eight hours north of Edmonton, Kayas College, is a First Nation college located in the remote area of Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta.

Trumpour knew if the school was to thrive, and if lives were going to be changed, that he had to change the curriculum, and the tools used to reach the student body, from the ground up.

Soon after he arrived at Kayas, Trumpour and his staff began using Microsoft products starting with Surface devices and later incorporating Office 365 into their teaching, which radically changed their educational experience. Removing communication and technological barriers has led to increased student engagement, success and boosted enrollment. In this Winter semester, there were over 50 students enrolled at Kayas.

We sat down with Kyle to ask five questions about the drastic changes that have taken place at Kayas and how Microsoft’s products helped play an important role in the school’s transformation:

How long has Kayas been using Microsoft Surface and Office 365?

We have been on the Surface Pro bandwagon since the day one. We bought one Surface Pro 1 and one Surface Pro 2. At the time, we were beginning to roll out Office 365 and Skype for Business and we purchased units as a pilot project to determine how well they would work for marking student work electronically. Since then we have upgraded all our instructors and management staff to Surface Pro 4s.

What does Surface do for your staff that other devices can’t do?

What drew me to the initial Surface devices was that they could still serve a function similar to tablets, while running full 64-bit operating system. I hated the fact that I was limited with what software I had access to on an iPad or other basic tablets.

I wanted to move the school away from paper, faxing, and printing. At the time, the Surface devices carved out a unique competitive advantage over other devices, in that they came with a pen. At the time, we moved students from scanning to emailing all of their work, but we still needed to print the work off for marking. With the Surface, we envisioned never having to do that again.

Obviously, competitors for the Surface Pro devices have come out; however, nothing matches them entirely. Our Surface devices are versatile, functional, pack a punch and are extremely portable. They also work perfectly with Surface Hub.

We noticed how Surface devices are not only great tools but an amazing perk for our staff. When you think about how remote we are and the types of technologies our staff are being exposed to and getting to play with and use in very customized ways – it’s a great staff retention mechanism.

What benefits have you seen from Office 365?

The most significant is the ability to deploy all of this through a revamped and truly amazing Office 365 environment.

Office 365 has dramatically evolved in the 3-4 years since we initially adopted it, and it is now a complete solution for an education institution. SharePoint Online has evolved as well, with more of a focus on the online offering as opposed to the on premise deployment. We are moving towards a blended integration of a student intranet using SharePoint Online and Office 365.

Have I mentioned a complete lack of needing a full-time IT department to manage all of this for us? My goodness, that’s huge. My background is Biochem and business…I basically set up and administer Office 365. I did all the PowerShell scripting for the Surface Hubs. No on premise servers required. We plan to fully integrate our new laptop carts with Intune and Azure AD, to cloud-manage our domain devices. We have single sign-on for O365 accounts; no more personal Microsoft accounts.

What has your experience teaching with Surface Hub been like?

We had been using a SMART-brand smartboard connected to a Surface Pro and it served its purpose. However, we saw what the Surface Hub could do and we recognized how well they would integrate into our Office 365 environment. The key was their camera system. Being able to stand basically 180 degrees from the screen and still have the cameras pick you up was an obvious advantage to the Surface Hub that had dramatic distance learning classroom applications.

Because of our unique distance-learning situation – I need to teach students physically in front of me while two other (remote campus) locations are seeing me on a screen. When the cameras can continue to track the instructor perfectly as they write on the board, the students learning remotely really do feel like they are in the same room with the instructor. It is what allows the Surface Hub to create what I describe as “a seamless virtual classroom,” as opposed to basic distance learning where an instructor sits in front of a laptop.

You get the feel of the classroom, as the instructor moves around, goes back to the “board” and interacts with students both physically there and virtually there.

We love being able to “book” the Surface Hub or invite them to meetings using Office 365 and Skype for Business. We often have internet issues, which, in the past, required someone to re-invite one or all call participants. You can imagine how that affects our classroom setting. Now, if a call drops, a student can just walk up to the Hub and easily rejoin the call by pressing the big, obvious button on the screen. It was much more difficult before with our projector and laptop/Surface Pro set up. It is all a complete and holistic solution that has transformed Kayas and the experience of our students and teachers.

Is there a plan to share your success with other First Nation (FN) schools and communities?

I truly believe that our method is the model for adult continuing education in remote and First Nation communities, and I have the numbers to back that up.

The dropout rate over the past 30 years for FN K-12 students is staggering. Everyone loves to focus on improving K-12 funding and systems, and that’s great, but what about the former students that are now adults? They’ve been forgotten and have literally no effective ways of improving their situation. If you were to look at many of the teaching assistants at the K-12 schools, the payroll staff, or admin staff at LRRCN, the majority of them are former Kayas students.

I need to get the provincial government to see and recognize what we are doing, as well and the federal government, so that we can export our model to other communities. I would love to, one day, to be a part of something that takes this model and help to set it up in FN communities across northern Canada, and get industry and all levels of government on board.

Removing communication and technological barriers has led to increased student engagement, success and boosted enrollment.

At Surface, we are inspired every day to work with educators like Kyle and students like those at Kayas to enable them to achieve more on their life’s journeys. We have seen tremendous growth for Surface in classrooms of all ages and all sizes, helping to deliver real impact to classroom outcomes.

A recent IDC study shows student’s science scores were 25 to 36 percent higher when using pen and digital inking to draw out diagrams before solving a problem. In the same study, two-thirds of teachers said digital inking with Surface saves them time when preparing materials and grading homework.

Check out our case study on Kayas Cultural College to read more about its amazing digital transformation, and be sure to watch our education-focused live stream on May 2 at 9:30 a.m. EST to see what else Microsoft has in store for students and educators.

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Golf pro breaks down barriers to becoming a golfer with Microsoft Technologies

When I was a kid, I developed a huge interest in golf. I was a good athlete who could play all traditional sports well but golf was different. I quickly developed a passion for the game and had a strong work ethic, but like many people, I found golf to be an elusive riddle. Despite non-stop practice, my progress was not as fast as I hoped it to be. I knew that if I wanted to get better, I needed detailed feedback on my game. After a few years of trying to play professionally, I discovered that I spent more time helping others to play better and that my skill was to teach people how to improve their golf game. I earned my PGA of America membership and began to focus on ways to teach more efficiently and with better feedback using technology. Eventually, I opened the Gregg Rogers’ Golf Performance Centers which focuses on the latest golf teaching technologies to give aspiring and advanced golfers more personalized and effective instruction to help them become better golfers.

As an early adopter of technology, I’ve long relied on tech to help me run and grow nearly every aspect of my business. Everyone from our golf instructors to club fitters use Windows 10 Pro powered devices and Office 365 to schedule lessons and develop custom orders, as well as analyze costs and revenue.

With Windows 10 and the Microsoft cloud, we can collaborate, stay in touch with our clients and secure our business information. I’m always looking for new ways to grow my business and know technology can not only help our students improve but also change the perception that golf is too difficult to learn.

As a golf instructor, I use advanced tracking technologies to analyze swings and movement which allows me to pinpoint exactly what needs to be focused on to improve performance. Technology simplifies the learning process and makes improving fun. One of the challenges is many of my students have trouble remembering the lesson when they get to the golf course and may become frustrated. And, tracking their progress is something that is also difficult without the supporting data. As a teacher, I know that feedback and practice is key to improving, and with the right data, video content and a supportive coach, we can make it easier for people to learn golf and have more fun. I turned to Microsoft and the app-development firm Taqtile, a member of the Microsoft Partner Network, to create a Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) training app and student portal that takes golf instruction to a level not used before.  We created “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” solution in less than four months.  The solution empowers our instructors to not only provide deeper analysis and more personalized recommendations, but also places the data at our students’ fingertips so they can improve and track their progress every time they practice — with or without their instructor.

To use the app, our students hit shots in our controlled, indoor, simulated golf environment at one of my performance centers. The app integrates with these high definition golf simulators that use Doppler radar, ultrasound and high-speed video to record data from the shot such as body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle. In fact, we capture over 26 pieces of data from each swing. The simulators instantly calculate where the ball will go, analyze the swing, and capture the data and video images. Our instructor and the student then use Windows 10 powered devices including Microsoft Surface Pro and Surface Book devices at the swing bay to provide immediate replay and feedback. Our students often pick up 10 to 15 yards of distance and significantly improve accuracy and consistency within just a few lessons. The impact of the Golf Performance app has been dramatic as our students can now see exactly what their instructor is trying to teach them anywhere they go or practice. This has not only eased potential frustration for golfers, but also improved comprehension, progress and fun!

What I’m really excited about is how our instructors can also annotate and add voiceover recommendations to the recording, and then upload it to our student portal hosted in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform. Through the power of the Microsoft cloud, our students can access all the data and images anytime from any computer or mobile device – during a lesson, on the golf course, at home or even while traveling. Over time the app can provide comparative analyses to show where students are improving and where they need more work, so our instructor can create customized lessons. Overall, we’ve been able to eliminate trial and error and make a bigger impact on our students’ golf game, leading to greater enjoyment whether at the driving range or golf course. Because we are now able to track their improvement, our student retention and referrals have also increased by double digits as they frequently share their progress with friends.

At the Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Centers, an instructor uses “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” Windows 10 UWP training app on his Surface Pro device to record and provide immediate feedback on a student’s body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle.

At the Gregg Rogers Golf Performance Centers, an instructor uses “The Gregg Rogers Golf Performance” Windows 10 UWP training app on his Surface Pro device to record and provide immediate feedback on a student’s body mechanics, club-head speed and swing angle.

Ultimately, we’re not a technology company. We’re a golf improvement facility and small business that happens to specialize in helping people achieve their desired potential and have fun. Microsoft provides the technology that we use to help our customers have more fun on the golf course – and take our business to the next level. If you want to check out more detailed information on how we’re not only using Microsoft technologies to help our students improve but also take our business to the next tee, please check out the case study here.

You can also follow me at @greggrogersgolf or learn more at www.grgolfperformance.com.

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MARS future looking sweeter with Microsoft technology

Whether it’s grabbing gum at checkout, satisfying late-afternoon hunger with a Milky Way ®, or even buying pet food for that unconditional loving best friend, we’ve all been surrounded by MARS products and might not even know it! As a century-old family-owned business, MARS has certainly found its recipe for success. The company has made $35 billion in global sales by putting people first in everything they do. With 60 brands across six segments from food, drinks, chocolate, confectionary (gum), pet care and symbioscience, the company is more than just sweet treats. MARS understands a long-term vision that is committed to product, technology and workplace innovation based on the company’s Five Principles– Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom.

MARS has long valued a workplace that encourages mutuality and open communication among all Associates. As MARS looks at new products, services and business units to accelerate its growth, it knows a digital transformation would not only bolster its already collaborative and productive work environment but also attract and retain employees who expect a modern workplace. MARS is deploying Windows 10 to its more than 80,000 associates who work across 400 locations in 78 countries. Windows 10, along with Office 365 and Microsoft Azure, is enabling MARS to digitally transform how its Associates not only work with each other, but how they get work done.

“At MARS, we meet our goals,” says David Boersma, Senior Manager for End User Technologies, MARS, Incorporated. “This company will continue to accelerate its growth organically and through acquisition and we’re using Windows 10 to build the flexibility and capabilities we need to get there.”

— David Boersma, Senior Manager for End User Technologies, MARS, Incorporated

MARS has deployed Windows 10 to help reduce the cost and time associated with large-scale deployments. With a company that spans multiple geographies, its previous upgrades had taken up to four years and cost $4 million. According to Boersma, “Windows 10, on the other hand, has been substantially quicker and with less cost.” The “Windows as a Service” model has allowed MARS to skip the lengthy upgrade cycle which has resulted in accelerated Windows 10 deployment. Originally, MARS set out to deploy Windows 10 to 5,000 Associates in 12 months. Although, it has already exceeded its goal by 110 percent by deploying Windows 10 to 12,500 Associates and is now looking to scale to all Associates by 2018.

By embracing the “Windows as a Service” model, MARS has been able to refocus the time and energy of its IT department from chasing the next operating system update to strengthening its collaborative culture through Office 365, including Yammer and Skype for Business.

“Rather than tying up investment and time to just get through the next product release, we can focus on enhancing key aspects of our culture like mutuality at a digital level, across divisions, borders and time zones – so we can preserve what is special about MARS and help our Associates be more productive and agile.”

— Jonathan Chong, Digital Workplace and Corporate Systems Director at MARS, Incorporated

MARS associates collaborate while using their Windows 10 devices.

MARS associates collaborate while using their Windows 10 devices.

This highly collaborative company has helped create a place where many associates stay 25 years. Although, with its new goal set, MARS wanted to digitally transform not only how its associates work but also attract the next generation of workers.

“We invest a lot of money in attracting and retaining talent. These people now expect a modern, productive work environment and this includes the type of devices we provide and the tools they use at work every day. Products like Windows 10, Skype for Business and Yammer support our engagement and talent management strategies.”

— Paul L’Estrange, CTO and Vice President of Core Services, MARS, Incorporated

MARS Associates use Skype for Business to collaborate.

MARS Associates use Skype for Business to collaborate.

MARS is seeing the positive impact Skype for Business has had on its culture and Associate work-life balance. With Skype for Business, MARS has reduced travel, as Associates now use Skype for Business to tackle projects and resolve issues in real-time.

“We like a lot of human interaction and we’ve been able to use Skype for Business to help us increase that level of collaboration but not necessarily have the person fly half way around the planet. We’ve been able to reduce our overall travel which has been great from a cost perspective. But, we’ve helped positively impact people’s work life balance so they can spend more time at home yet they can still do the business that they need to do around the globe.”

— Joe Carlin, Technology Service Delivery Director, MARS, Incorporated

MARS is also seeing Associates quickly embrace Yammer, as another way to connect and share knowledge. Vittorio Cretella, CIO of MARS, Incorporated says Yammer is “taking down those walls around knowledge and making it accessible which is very valuable.”

MARS associate uses Windows 10 devices to conduct store walk-through.

MARS associate uses Windows 10 devices to conduct store walk-through.

Windows 10 provides MARS the flexibility with the types of devices its Associates and Senior Leaders can use to get work done whether at home, in the office or on the road. Senior Leaders and Associates can now use everything from Surface Pro to OEM devices to help fit their unique work styles. Previously, an associate conducting a store walk-through would have to juggle multiple devices and paper to make note of any product display issues. Once the Associate returned to the office, they’d connect with their peers to resolve the issue. This process could take several days to a week depending on their travel. Today, many issues can be resolved on the spot.

“By using Windows 10, MARS associates now finish things on the road instead of waiting until they get back to the office. For example, field associates use their Surface Pro devices in store walk-throughs, and if necessary, use Office 365 to connect with other team members and resolve display issues in one day instead of a week.”

— Joe Carlin, Technology Service Delivery Director, MARS, Incorporated

With a more on-the-go workforce, MARS has strengthened security and data protection for its Associates who are on their smartphones, tablets or their PCs from the office, at home or on the road. As a privately-owned company, MARS takes security seriously especially when it comes to its intellectual property. MARS has enabled Windows security features like BitLocker to encrypt data and Windows Defender to provide a strong layer of security and authentication.

To ensure MARS can do business securely in the cloud and fully realize its digital transformation, MARS has only just begun its journey with Microsoft Azure to enable greater efficiency and reliability. Currently, MARS has two global datacenters that run 85 percent of its business with one datacenter being 25 years old which requires significant cost resources and time to maintain. Now, MARS is currently testing a hybrid cloud model and recently moved its first live production application, a retail app, into Microsoft Azure as well as about 150 other workloads with the expectation to expand to 500-600 workloads over the next year.

We’re excited to see that with Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365, MARS is able to foster a modern and productive workplace that will support the company’s ambitious growth strategy. For more detailed information about MARS’ deployment of Microsoft technologies, please check out the case study and video here.

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Save big on Windows 10 devices this Black Friday

Microsoft Store with holiday products

Gadget geeks, get ready. If you’re looking to upgrade your tech this holiday, there’s no better time to buy than Black Friday. Microsoft Store and other retailers across the country are offering some of the steepest discounts of the year on Microsoft’s hottest selling PCs and game consoles, so there’s something for everyone on your shopping list. Visit your local Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com or any of our retail partners for more details on availability and pricing. Here are just a few of the great deals for shoppers next weekend:

Upgrade to Surface and save up to $430

This Black Friday through Cyber Monday, Microsoft is offering an unprecedented deal of up to $430 off select* Surface devices and bundles between Nov. 24 – 28 at Microsoft Store and Best Buy locations. This includes at least $400 off the Surface Book i5 256GB, the ultimate laptop with a detachable screen, exclusively at Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com and an exclusive Best Buy bundle with Surface Pro 4 128GB and the Signature Type Cover for $599.

Xbox bundles

Lowest price ever on Xbox One S, starting at just $249!

Between Nov. 24 – 28, shoppers can get $50 off any new Xbox One S bundle – its lowest price ever, starting at $249

Xbox One has been the best-selling gaming console in the U.S. for the past four months according to NPD Group, and between Nov. 24 – 28, shoppers can get $50 off any new Xbox One S bundle – its lowest price ever, starting at $249.

For those looking to beat the Black Friday crowds, shoppers can also save $50 on any new 1TB Xbox One or Xbox One S bundle between Nov. 20 – 23 at Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com and participating retailers nationwide. The sleeker, slimmer Xbox One S is the only console available this holiday with built-in 4K UHD Blu-ray so you can watch UHD Blu-ray movies and stream video in stunning 4K Ultra HD. It also enables High Dynamic Range (HDR) for gaming so you can experience richer, more luminous colors in games like Gears of War 4, which marks the beginning of a new saga for one of the most acclaimed videogame franchises in history, and Forza Horizon 3, the year’s best-selling and highest-rated racing game. And play with friends on Xbox Live, the fastest, most reliable gaming network with $10 off a 3-month or 6-month Xbox Live Gold subscription at participating retailers.

Microsoft Studios’ biggest blockbuster games are also on sale, including $25 off Gears of War 4 and the entire Gears Xbox 360 Collection, and $20 off ReCore at Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com and participating retailers. Starting Nov. 22, gamers can also enjoy deep discounts on digital games and entertainment purchased through the Xbox Store. Xbox Live Gold members enjoy early access to Black Friday digital deals on Nov. 18 along with exclusive savings. A full rundown of Xbox Black Friday details can be found on Xbox Wire.

Start the year off right with a new Windows 10 PC

Windows 10 devices

The only way to experience the Windows 10 Creators Update next year is on Windows 10, so if you’re looking to ditch the brick to upgrade to a lighter, more powerful Windows 10 PC and save as much as $400, check out these great Black Friday deals.

  • For all of the power of Windows 10 PCs below $500, Microsoft Store and microsoftstore.com will be offering Dell Inspiron PCs starting at $399 and the HP Notebook 15 for just $299.
  • Best Buy is offering the HP X360 for $229 or Lenovo Ideapad for $400.
  • Office Depot has HP laptops NT Ci3 for $269 and NT Ci5 for $329.
  • You can get the ASUS Transformer Mini T102 for $299 from Amazon.
  • You can get a $99 Inspiron 11 3000 from Dell.
  • For all the bells and whistles, Costco members can save $300 on a Dell XPS 13 from Nov. 25-28 or $100 off the Acer Spin 5 Nov. 24-28.
  • Best Buy is also offering $150 off the Lenovo Yoga 910 from Nov. 25-28 or a $200 instant rebate on the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S until Nov. 19.

Elevate Your Style with Deals on Tech Accessories.

Xbox and Surface accessories

This Black Friday save on customized covers and devices that let you personalize a one-of-a kind gift sure to match any unique style. Enjoy free engraving Nov. 24 – 28 when you design your own custom controller with Xbox Design Lab. You can also save $10 on select Xbox Wireless Controllers and Xbox Stereo Headsets. Also, don’t miss the Complete Your Desktop deal, save $200 when you purchase a Surface Dock, Surface Mouse and Surface Keyboard from Nov. 24 – Dec. 24 at Microsoft Store, microsoftstore.com and online at BestBuy.com.

Microsoft Store: Your one stop shop for everyone on your shopping list

Microsoft Store

Take advantage of Microsoft’s hottest Black Friday deals beginning online at microsoftstore.com on Wednesday, Nov. 23 at 9 p.m. PST, and available at participating Microsoft Stores on Thursday, Nov. 24 and in all Microsoft Stores on Black Friday. Shop these great savings on an assortment of best-in-class products, including Surface devices, Signature PCs and more, with exclusive offers including,

  • Save $429 on Surface Pro 4 with a Type Cover.
  • Save $50 on select Xbox One or Xbox One S bundles with a $25 gift card plus a free select game.
  • Take advantage of great deals on Office with $20 off Office 365 Home and $30 off Office Home & Student.
  • Buy an unlocked Lumia 950XL or unlocked 950 and receive a Microsoft Display Dock for free.

Get hands-on with products and hear from our knowledgeable and friendly Microsoft Store associates for gift recommendations, or shop at microsoftstore.com for free shipping and extended holiday returns.

And don’t forget to check out Microsoft’s newest devices announced at our October event, the stunning Surface StudioSurface Dial and the now on-sale powerful Surface Book i7 with performance base.

Happy shopping!

*Valid in the US only at Microsoft retail and online stores, limit one per customer.

Product: SP4 256GB i5 8GB + black type cover Bundle in MS Store only for $999 (save $429.99). Offer valid on select Surface Pro 4 i5 256GB and Surface Pro Type Cover (excludes NFL, Alcantara and Fingerprint Type Covers). Includes P4 i5 256GB, pen and Black Type Cover all in exclusive bundle.

Product: Surface Book i5 256GB with GPU device. Regular $1899, promo price $1499.

Product: Surface Pro 4 Core M Bundle for $599 at Best Buy only. Includes P4 Core M device, No Pen and Alcantara Cover all in exclusive bundle.

Product: Surface Pro 4 i5 128GB for $799 across full Retail Channel.

Product: Surface Book i5 128GB for $1249 across full Retail Channel.

Not valid on prior orders or purchases; cannot be transferred or otherwise redeemed for cash or coupon code(s). May not be combinable with other offers. Refunds will take into account the discount. Price discount does not include taxes, shipping or other fees. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Microsoft reserves the right to modify or discontinue offers at any time. Other exclusions and limits may apply.

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Hendrick Motorsports gains competitive advantage on the race track

I am a huge NASCAR fan, following races since I was a teenager. It’s a sport where champions are defined by tenth of a second; the smallest detail in a race car makes the difference between winning and losing. NASCAR has the longest season of any sport in the United States, and the competition is fast-paced and relentless. Hendrick Motorsports holds a record 11 car owner championships in NASCAR’s premier division and has four of the most successful teams, including car number 5 driven by Kasey Kahne, car 24 driven by Chase Elliott, car 48 driven by Jimmie Johnson, and car 88 driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr – they are a team to be reckoned with.

“The biggest challenge that we have is keeping a competitive advantage against 39 other teams that we race against on a weekly basis.”

— Matthew Cochran, Manager of Information Technologies at Hendrick Motorsports

Windows 10 provides speed, versatility and enhanced security for its versatile teams

Hendrick Motorsports Gains Competitive Advantage On the Race Track

Hendrick has already upgraded all of its 600 employees to Windows 10 Enterprise, giving them a common mobile platform and the ability to work across devices. Not only does Windows 10 keep their devices and data more secure than any other operating system, the experience works seamlessly on whatever size screen they are using – whether it’s Surface Pro 3, a Panasonic Toughbook or a Windows 10 mobile device. The IT team has also embraced the new approach of Windows as a service to keep all employees up to date.

Hendrick Motorsports Gains Competitive Advantage On the Race Track

By moving to Windows 10, the IT team says it’s seen a 64% reduction in installation and patch time. Outside the office, staff use their devices in a non-traditional environment—the racetrack. Hendrick race engineers have to keep pace with activities on the track and in a highly mobile work environment.

“The racetrack’s probably one of the harshest environments that IT can operate in. We utilize a combination of Windows 10 devices in the garage, on race car haulers, and all the way to the pit boxes. Windows 10 works seamlessly across all those devices from small; 8” devices to large monitor laptops, and that’s what so important to us and such a huge benefit to Hendrick.”

—  Matthew Cochran, Manager of Information Technologies at Hendrick Motorsports

Using data and machine learning to push the limits and take action

With strict regulations governing stock cars, engineers have a limited number of ways they can legally change a car to make it go faster. We worked with Hendrick to develop a customized proprietary universal Windows 10 app powered by the Microsoft Cloud to collect data and distill it quickly enough to inform decisions during a race. Prior to using the solution, much of this data was collected manually and could take many hours and multiple engineers to parcel this data into a manageable format. Now with the power of the Azure cloud and Windows 10, the team can digitally transform their process into real-time data to free up engineers for more mission-critical tasks.

“Before, we had all this aggregated data that we really couldn’t do much with, and now with Azure we can parse it down to really get something useful. The true power of using Azure is that you can make a more informed decision, and nine times out of ten, that’s going to translate into greater performance.”

— Tom Gray, #24 Team Engineer at Hendrick Motorsports

Hendrick selected the Microsoft Azure cloud to analyze large amounts of structured and unstructured data. Cortana Intelligence Suite, a feature of Azure Machine Learning, allows Hendrick to automate data flow. Teams can collect data from the car and timing and scoring feeds from NASCAR, push it up to the cloud for analysis, and then pull back information that’s valuable. With our cloud-based services, Hendrick does not have to invest in costly server infrastructure and instead can pay by the minute for only the computing power the team needs. For instance, on race day, the team can bring a cluster of virtual machines online, and then take it offline as soon as the event is over.

“We have high-performance computing power with Azure that we can scale up only when we need it compared to building a $200,000 infrastructure and keeping it running 24 hours a day, there’s really no question.”

— David Hood, Engineer and Data Scientist at Hendricks Motorsports

Adopting high octane productivity tools

Hendrick Motorsports Gains Competitive Advantage On the Race Track

Hendrick also wanted to standardize on communication, collaboration, and productivity applications companywide, so it deployed Microsoft Office 365 alongside Windows 10. Since the Hendrick racing team supports four different cars, it’s essential that data gets shared among all team members. Employees were quick to start using OneNote to share notes and Skype for Business Online for videoconferencing and messaging teammates during practices and races, when engineers, coaches, and other staff are out on the track in a noisy environment.

“We use OneNote to share information from the racetrack back to our home campus. We have a lot of data throughput and a lot of iteration going on, and it’s paramount for us to be able to share that information among the four teams,” says Hood. “It’s a more collaborative effort now, and as an organization as a whole we’re much stronger because of that.”

The combination of Windows 10, Microsoft Azure, and Office 365—all accessible through a single sign-in on a wide variety of devices—is what makes their experience so powerful. From the IT side, moving to the cloud has reduced an IT maintenance and support burden, and staff is able to spend time more effectively.

Racing toward success

Hendrick Motorsports is keeping its eye on the prize: and by delivering a seamless experience that allows its teams to be inventive, consistent, and collaborative in their decision making is giving them a competitive edge.

“A season is a marathon of 39 races. When you’re successful, it’s the challenges you win that you remember, not necessarily the champagne at the end,” says Doug Duchardt, General Manager at Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re using Windows 10, Microsoft Cloud and Office 365 to work together and get better every day—just as we do across all our race teams.”

I couldn’t agree more!

Jason

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Surface and partners: Creating next generation services and support

Last September, we launched the Surface Enterprise Initiative – to help the world’s biggest businesses get the most out of Surface devices with strategic partnerships designed to provide unmatched services and support, industry specific application and solutions development, and flexible purchase and deployment methods.

Microsoft Surface

We kicked off the Surface Enterprise Initiative with Dell providing Surface customers with global procurement capabilities and the power of Dell’s services and support offering. In July, we added specific application and solutions development partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton. In one short year, we grew our purchasing and deployment partner footprint from 200 to more than 10,000 partners worldwide in the channel; created a Multi-National Purchasing Program with resellers like CDW, Insight, SHI and Zones; and created an entirely unique model for purchasing and deploying our devices with Surface as a Service.

Today, we are proud to share what’s next for the Surface Enterprise Initiative in services and support while sharing the remarkable progress we are seeing with Surface as a Service.

Expansion of Services and Support Capabilities

Over the past 12 months our customers have told us they love Surface devices. They value the flexibility, choice and control we offer them from a purchasing perspective and have asked that a similar flexibility be applied to support capabilities. And, like we have with hardware, they want Surface to help anticipate their future services and support needs while pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, since devices are a catalyst of the transformation they are driving in their businesses.

With that in mind, we are excited to expand the Surface Enterprise Initiative to enable partners, worldwide, to create and provide services and support capabilities for Surface. We will invest in the following fundamental services and support areas:

Surface and Partners: Creating Next Generation Services and Support

  1. Configuration and Deployment Services – such as imaging, asset management, provisioning and integration services.
  2. Enhanced Replacement and Exchange Services – such as next business day, advanced exchange and onsite replacement services.
  3. Logistics and Warehousing Services – such as custom shipping, order consolidation and kitting services.
  4. Next Generation Services and Support – working alongside IT decision makers, partners and the broader Surface ecosystem to conceive and create solutions, that will provide tools for businesses worldwide to enable change in their organizations and use devices as a key component in that change.

Surface has a history of pushing the envelope and setting new standards for how devices transform businesses and lives. While field serviceability is important today, as businesses embark on their digital transformation journeys, their support needs are evolving. Surface will evolve with them, to not only change and create lasting and meaningful employee engagement, but to also enable IT and Business Decision Makers.

There is fertile ground to be explored in this area, and we are excited to work with and through partners worldwide to create the next generation services and support capabilities. For the partners interested in joining us on this journey, please visit the website Surface Drumbeat: drumbeat.surface.com.

Surface as a Service Partner Momentum

We created Surface as a Service to provide enterprise customers who love Surface greater flexibility and choice in their deployment and purchasing decision making process, as many look to move from CAPEX to OPEX. Surface as a Service provides flexibility of solutions, enables faster device refresh, and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best of Windows and Office.

We’re extremely pleased by the momentum we’ve seen in the past two months since we introduced Surface as a Service. Some of the largest distribution and reseller partners have joined us, including: ALSO, Tech Data, Ingram Micro, Inc., Acrodex and others, with market coverage across the US, Canada, UK and Western Europe. Based on the customer demand and partner interest, we anticipate additional markets coming online in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia soon.

Our first partner to offer Surface as a Service was, in Germany. ALSO has been extremely successful in recruiting partners, already 300 resellers since July, by creating compelling customer offerings and delivering powerful tools for resellers such as pricing and offer configurators, easy and simple billing, hence accelerating the buying process.

 “Surface as a Service is a great model for ALSO to reach customers that want choice, flexibility and control. Our customers love Surface not only for its flexibility, but also for the unique way it takes advantage of this buying model.”

— Malte Wigger, head of Workplace as a Service, ALSO

One of ALSO’s premier resellers, Infoteq, agrees that Surface as a Service has the potential to significantly impact their engagement with customers.

“We are absolutely confident that this new model – Surface as a Service – is a highly attractive solution for SMB customers. It’s great that we can support customers with an easy and flexible solution with this end-to-end approach.”

— Franz Martin, Managing Director, Infoteq

In addition, Tech Data, a global leader in distribution of technology, services and solutions, has joined Surface as a Service with their program: Surface Advantage.

“We are seeing an increased interest from our partners and their customers to provide innovative ways to deliver Microsoft Surface. Our Surface Advantage program combines the power and mobility of Microsoft Surface with the productivity and security of Windows 10 and Office 365. We are proud to partner with Microsoft to address the building demand for Device-as-a-Service solutions.”

— Brian Davis, senior vice president, U.S. Marketing at Tech Data

We’re proud to highlight that Ingram Micro is launching its Surface as a Subscription offering in October, which allows a monthly payment for the use of Surface during the subscription period versus buying the devices. Under the new program, Ingram Micro uses end-of-term residuals to lower monthly payment plans and create more ongoing refresh and sales opportunities for channel partners. Available in the U.S., the Ingram Micro offering expects up to provide 20 percent cost savings over a two-year term, with options for extended terms.

“Surface-as-a-Subscription is a simple and sales-friendly solution that benefits both the channel partner and their customer. We’re excited to build awareness and generate demand for Surface-as-a-Subscription and see tremendous business value and potential growth in the ‘as a subscription’ service model.”

— Mike Erwin, senior director, Ingram Micro, Inc.

Acrodex (a PCM Company), one of Canada’s largest IT solution providers, has achieved great success with their offering that leverages the benefits of Surface as a Service. The solution, Evolve, is designed to enable and empower end users with the five pillars of productivity: Microsoft Surface, Office 365, End-User Coaching, On-Call Support, and an online license Management Portal. The solution starts at $89.95 per user per month.

“Evolve is designed to remove productivity obstacles for our customers. We want to provide a smart-bundle that truly empowers end users with the right device, software, and services. The Microsoft Surface is integral to our Evolve solution, providing clients with a device that is truly unique among the competition – much like our bundled solution.”

— Phil Soper, President PCM Canada

We’ve made it our mission to partner with the best in the industry to create the Surface ecosystem together. We continue to look for partners who want to be a part of the greater Surface ecosystem. Those who are interested in taking advantage of our next-generation services and support or procuring their devices via Surface as a Service should go to drumbeat.surface.com – our one-stop shop for partner guidance and resources. Together we will do great things.

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New Windows 10 and Office 365 features for the secure productive enterprise

Today I am pleased to join Scott Guthrie and Satya Nadella at Ignite, the largest IT conference in the industry with more than 20,000 attendees. It’s an exciting time to be in IT, with the modern workplace creating a major shift in the way people work. Information is abundant, experiences and data must easily move across multiple devices, and collaboration is critical as the workforce becomes more mobile and more global. At the same time, security has never been more challenging as attacks have become more advanced and targeted, with the average data breach costing $12 million and costing an estimated $3 trillion in lost productivity by 2020.

To help businesses take advantage of the modern workplace while protecting their greatest assets, Microsoft has invested in enabling the digital transformation of business – helping connect employees and optimize operations with enhanced productivity in secure environments. To aid their digital transformation, starting on October 1 businesses can get the Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE), with Windows 10 Enterprise, Office 365, and Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), with the flexibility to deploy either on-premise or in the cloud.

With more than 400 million monthly active devices now running Windows 10, enterprises are moving faster than ever to the most secure Windows.

“Windows 10 is the first operating system to deliver a completely integrated mobile and cloud experience to our entire workforce. It’s the only operating system that can unlock the full potential of our employees, while still providing the security and control we require to operate our company.”

— Mike Macrie, Land O’Lakes CIO

Combined with the 70 million commercial monthly active users of Office 365 and Azure Active Directory in EMS protecting 1 billion logins each day, customers like Expedia, Goodyear, and Facebook are already taking advantage of these technologies.

Today our security offering gets even stronger, delivering even more value for SPE customers, with the introduction of Windows Defender Application Guard – which makes Microsoft Edge the most secure browser in the enterprise –  and the expansion of our Advanced Threat Protection technology across Windows 10 Enterprise and Office 365 for complete protection across endpoints and in the cloud.

“We chose Windows 10 because of the myriad of enhancements; from faster boot & login times, security offerings, and mobile friendly enrichments. Modern technologies such as BitLocker, Credential Guard, and Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection offer end-to-end security features that promote mobility while reducing worry.”

— Armand Campo, Director, IT Systems, Expedia

Announcing Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge

Since we released Microsoft Edge, we have been making continuous improvements with hundreds of new features and security enhancements to deliver the fastest and safest browser. While Microsoft Edge has the lowest number of vulnerabilities of any major browser on Windows, any vulnerability in the browser is a risk for businesses that must protect their networks and data from increasingly sophisticated and targeted threats.

Today we announced a new addition to the extensive Windows 10 security stack with a revolutionary security improvement to Microsoft Edge. Windows Defender Application Guard uses virtualization-based security technology to protect against advanced attacks coming from the Internet, helping to protect the enterprise’s devices, employees, data and even their corporate networks. This level of protection has never been more important, as the majority of attacks start in the browser.

Unlike other browsers that use software-based sandboxes, which still provide a pathway for malware and vulnerability exploits, Microsoft Edge’s use of Application Guard isolates the browser and employee activity using a hardware-based container to prevent malicious code from impacting the device and moving across the enterprise network. This robust security service helps protect enterprises from malware, viruses, vulnerabilities, and even zero-day attacks. Once enabled, enterprise administrators can configure a trusted network site list policy and distribute the group policy to any devices it wishes to protect with Application Guard. Even if an untrusted site successfully loads malware, the malware is unable to reach beyond the isolated container to steal data or permanently compromise devices or the network. Once the employee exits their Microsoft Edge browsing session, any malware is erased, preventing further attacks.

With Application Guard, Microsoft Edge becomes the browser standard for the enterprise and Windows 10 becomes the first operating system to ship this type of technology alongside a browser. It will become available to Windows Insiders in the coming months and roll out more broadly next year.

Combining Windows 10 Enterprise and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection Intelligence Graphs

We recently released Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP), a cloud-based service to help enterprises detect, investigate, and respond to advanced attacks on their networks. WDATP is powered by a combination of Windows behavioral sensors, cloud based security analytics, threat intelligence, and by tapping into the Microsoft Security Graph.

WDATP is already protecting hundreds of customers such as Emirates Airlines, Humanitas, Cellcom, Avanade, and Pella across more than 800,000 endpoints.

“The information our team is able to obtain through Windows Defender ATP is nothing short of impressive. When we need easy to read forensic data, it does a perfect job of giving us timelines at impressive speeds. It’s an invaluable tool for greater visibility into our environment.”

— Daniel Betz, IT Security Engineer, Union Bank & Trust

Today, we’re introducing threat intelligence sharing between WDATP and Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection, enabling IT to investigate and respond to security threats across Windows 10 and Office 365 more efficiently. By combining the intelligence of WDATP and Office ATP, the Microsoft Security Graph, which analyzes over 300 billion authentications processed per month, 200 billion emails for malware and phishing, and one billion Windows device updates – gets even more robust.

Now, IT can identify and follow the complete chain of an attack from an email – to across the network -with detailed timelines and analysis. This real-time access and product integration converts the time to investigate an incident from days or weeks to mere hours. And the comprehensive security intelligence from Microsoft and our industry partners, including FireEye iSight threat intelligence, puts all the information needed to investigate and respond in an easy, simplified interface with clear steps for remediation. It’s the most comprehensive and robust security solution available today.

New Windows 10 and Office 365 Features for the Secure Productive Enterprise

New Deployment Tools for Windows 10 Releasing Today

We want all of our customers to experience the most secure Windows and deploy today. Not only are Windows 10 customers seeing a 33% reduction in security issues, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high with organizations seeing many benefits – including installation reduced from 1 hour to 5 minutes.

“Windows as a service has reduced our operating system deployment time by 75%.”

— Dorothy Stephenson, Director, ITS Kimberly Clark

To help companies move even more quickly to Windows 10, today we’re releasing Windows Upgrade Analytics, a free service that helps IT easily analyze their environment and upgrade to Windows 10.

Upgrade Analytics works by gathering data about installed hardware and software across devices, analyzing the data and providing a snapshot that identifies app compatibility, device and driver readiness and suggested remediation so customers can quickly take action for faster deployments. More than 500 customers have been piloting the service, including The Daimler Group and Ryder Systems Inc.

New Windows 10 and Office 365 Features for the Secure Productive Enterprise

Additional features include Site Discovery, which lists an inventory of web sites used on an organization’s network that are running Internet Explorer 11 on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 to help prioritize web application testing prior to upgrading. The Ready for Windows web site lists software solutions that are supported on Windows 10 and by using Upgrade Analytics, IT can see adoption and vendor support status for applications in use across their enterprise.

With advanced security, all new deployment tools, and purchasing options with the Secure Productive Enterprise, it’s a great time for enterprises to deploy Windows 10. Some of the customers joining us at Ignite include Crystal Group of Companies, a leading garment manufacturer who uses Windows 10 and the Microsoft cloud to improve clothing design concepts for customers like Victoria’s Secret to rapidly increase delivery time to days, compared to months; and Hendrick Motorsports, who uses WDATP to protect their employees while mobile, some as much as 40 weeks per year.

We are excited by the momentum we’re seeing for Windows 10 and look forward to helping more businesses digitally transform.

Yusuf

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Announcing New Subscription Options for Windows 10 and Surface for Businesses

Today, I will speak to thousands of our partners at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto. WPC is our largest partner conference of the year, bringing together over 15,000 attendees from around the globe to increase partner profitability and accelerate business growth. It’s exciting to see the energy and creativity from our partners and we have several new opportunities to share with them today, including new subscription service offerings for Windows 10 and Surface.

New solutions are required as it’s a unique time for all of us. We’re in the midst of a digital revolution – overwhelmed with data, with increasing risks to the security of our information, and confined inside a 2D world of monitors and pixels as technology takes over every aspect of our business and personal lives. The digital revolution creates the opportunity for a digital transformation, with all new ways to engage customers, empower employees, optimize operations, and transform products.

We will help enable digital transformation by delivering more personal computing across Windows and our devices. With this next wave of computing, all new opportunities are available for our partners – across Windows, Surface, Surface Hub, and Microsoft HoloLens.

Introducing Windows 10 Enterprise E3 for CSP

More than 350 million active devices are running Windows 10 and our business customers are moving faster than ever before, with more than 96% of them in active pilots. And, Windows 10 customers are already experiencing improved productivity and cost savings with an average ROI of 188% with a 13-month payback.*

In most instances, organizations are moving quickly to Windows 10 due to the heightened security risks they face and the industry-leading security features in Windows 10 that can help protect them. Companies of all sizes face real security threats from sophisticated hackers and cyber-terrorists, costing an average of $12 million an incident. In the US alone there are more than 56 million small to mid-sized businesses, in critical sectors like healthcare, legal and financial services that need strong security similar to what our large enterprise customers get through volume licensing agreements.

Today, we are announcing Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP. Starting this fall, businesses can get enterprise-grade security and management capabilities at just $7 a seat per month for the first time through the Cloud Solution Provider channel.

CSP partners will be able to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service offering, which is ideal for businesses who do not have dedicated IT resources or limited IT staff, and want their licensing and IT needs managed by a trusted and experienced partner.

Partners can now offer their business customers the ‘full IT stack’ from Microsoft, including Windows 10, Office 365, Dynamics Azure and CRM as a per user, per month offering through a single channel, which businesses can scale up or down as their needs change. Key features include:

  • Increased Security: Offering the sophisticated security features of Windows 10 to help businesses secure sensitive data and identities, help ensure devices are protected from cybersecurity threats, give employees the freedom and flexibility to access sensitive data on a variety of devices, and help ensure controlled access to highly-sensitive data.
  • Simplified Licensing & Deployment: Helping businesses lower up-front costs, eliminating the need for time-consuming device counting and audits, and making it easier to stay compliant with a subscription-based, per-user licensing model. This new offering allows businesses to easily move from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 without rebooting.
  • Partner-managed IT: Configuring and managing devices by a partner experienced in Windows 10 and cloud deployments. Partners can also help businesses develop a device security and management strategy with the unique features of Windows 10. Businesses can view subscriptions and usage for Windows 10 Enterprise, and any other Microsoft cloud services purchased, in their partner portal for easier management with one contract, one user account, one support contact, and one simplified bill.

Windows 10 Enterprise continues to be available through our regular licensing programs and is part of our newly-announced suites Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 launching later this year.

Introducing the Surface as a Service Program and Additions to the Surface Enterprise Initiative

The digital revolution is changing the traditional workplace environment, making us more reliant on our peers to share knowledge and work together; while more people are working remotely and need to be productive from anywhere. And, the workforce demographic is shifting towards millennials who are more collaborative, multi-task more, and use multiple devices.

We continue to invest in our Surface family of products because we have seen how innovative devices shift people’s behavior, inspire ideas, catalyze collaboration, accelerate progress, and transform business. And in the past year, the Surface business has grown from generating $1B in revenue in a year to $1B in revenue per quarter. With our growing portfolio, we are creating not just great devices, but breakthrough categories that open up a world of new opportunities for partners to build capabilities in new areas, and to create solutions and services for customers. This year, we are investing in programs that increase partner revenue and profitability.

Today we are expanding the Surface Enterprise Initiative with a set of new partnerships and programs that will empower our customers of all sizes – from SMBs to multi-national enterprises – to transform the way their people and the organizations work.

  • Today, we announced the ability to sell Surface as a Service. Now our Cloud Solution Providers (who are also Surface Authorized Distributors) can offer Surface devices through a managed service offering to all of our resellers and customers, alongside managed cloud services, Office 365, Windows 10, and relevant ISV software. This new offering enables flexibility of solutions, faster device refresh and ensures customers can have the latest Surface devices that evolve with the best Windows and Office have to offer. We launched this program with ALSO, a leading CSP out of Europe, and look forward to working with other partners to expand this program globally
  • Today we also announced an expansion of our Surface Multi-National Purchasing Program with the addition of CDW, Insight, SHI and Zones. Now, each of these resellers can provide their enterprise customers Surface devices and accessories. As a result, enterprise customers can have added choice in how they purchase Surface devices, benefit from a streamlined path for getting Surface on company-wide standards lists, and see cross-country adoption for line of business scenarios.
  • Last year, we announced a partnership with Dell as part of our Surface Enterprise Initiative – and we’ve seen great results. Since then, our customer and partners have told us they need help creating tailored solutions that digitize workflow across core business processes.  A transformation like that requires Surface devices that are not only highly portable, powerful and versatile, but also bring the industry leading security and productivity capabilities of Windows 10. Today we announced an expansion to the Surface Enterprise Initiative with two new partnerships with IBM and Booz Allen Hamilton to deliver industry specific solutions to our shared customers. IBM will draw on their data and analytics expertise to create new industry-specific solutions for the financial services and consumer packaged goods sectors that take advantage of the unique capabilities of Surface devices. Booz Allen Hamilton will develop scalable and more secure solutions for Governments, the Public Sector and Healthcare.

“We see an immense opportunity to help our customers meet their business goals with Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP and the Surface as a service program. Now, we’ll be able to offer a complete managed service workplace solution from device to operating system to productivity with a level of scale not previously possible.”

— Gustavo Möller-Hergt, CEO, Chairman, ALSO

These new programs and partnerships, combined with our network of more than 5000 business resellers provide great opportunities for our partners and for our customers to transform their businesses to a more modern way of working.

Opportunities for Microsoft HoloLens

More personal computing is enabled by the devices of today and by the potential of all new ways of interacting. Mixed reality will enable us to connect better with each other, where people – not devices – are the center of everything, and where technology no longer gets in our way and embraces who we are. By 2020, 80 million mixed reality, virtual reality and augmented reality devices will be shipping every year. And we recently opened Windows Holographic to make it easy for our partners to build an ecosystem with us. Microsoft HoloLens is already enabling mixed reality experiences – changing the way cars are designed at companies like Volvo, redefining how medical students learn at universities like Case Western Reserve, and helping scientists explore the surface of Mars.

Our agency partners around the world are building incredible mixed reality experiences using Microsoft HoloLens. You can see some of their incredible work in this video.

Today, PGA TOUR CIO Steve Evans and Vice President of Digital Operations, Scott Gutterman, joined me to show how the PGA Tour is embracing Windows 10 and Microsoft HoloLens. Assisted by Microsoft Partner CDW, the PGA TOUR is an early adopter of Windows 10, deployed to over 60% of their devices, with a goal of 100% by the end of this summer. They’ve built custom apps on the Universal Windows Platform to enable volunteers to track scoring and statistical information for every shot on every hole, and for fans to use the Windows 10 Tournament Companion app to track tournament data in real-time to get deeper insights. Working with Taqtile, the PGA TOUR built a solution on Microsoft HoloLens for golf pros, enthusiasts and fans.

“Microsoft HoloLens is an amazing tool for golf course design and for planning major events on each course. It is an incredible opportunity for players and caddies to plan their attack on a course, visually identifying the best tee-off locations and hazards and reviewing how they played each hole after the round is complete. Finally, a shared HoloLens experience provides valuable coaching for a class of golfers to learn how to approach different courses and scenarios,”

— PGA TOUR Senior Vice President and CIO Steve Evans

Windows 10 is off to a great start and we’re excited to see business customers embracing it faster than ever before. With all new ways of selling Windows 10 and Surface, and with incredible innovation on the horizon – we’re excited to create all new opportunities for our partners. We can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

Yusuf

* Forrester Consulting on the Total Economic Impact™ (TEI) of Windows 10.

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PGA TOUR and Microsoft Build Custom Universal Windows 10 Apps to Engage Golf Fans

The PGA TOUR ® showcases one of the most elegant sports in the world with a rich history and storied tradition. What most people don’t realize is what happens behind the scenes to pull off the great TOUR golf events that so many of us enjoy watching throughout the year. The TOUR has 600 players, thousands of employees and volunteers, and is involved with more than 100 tournaments each year across three tours in the US and throughout the world, where big purses and prestigious titles are bestowed. As the world’s premier professional golf association, it is also one of the most innovative sports organizations on the planet, striving to deliver an experience for its fans that puts them right in the action. Technology plays a key role in enabling the PGA TOUR to deliver unique experiences its fans have come to expect.

Over the past several months, the TOUR has deployed Windows 10 to over 800 devices across its organization, with a goal of 1,300 by the end of the summer.

Last November, Microsoft entered into a partnership with the PGA TOUR to work together to build custom technology solutions that would make data and content easier to manage and interpret, and enhance TOUR operations and fan engagement starting with the adoption of Windows 10. Our two teams have wasted no time. Over the past several months, the TOUR has deployed Windows 10 to over 800 devices across its organization, with a goal of 1,300 by the end of the summer. They are also changing the way that they bring tournament insights to staff and golf fans everywhere. By building custom apps on top of the universal Windows 10 platform, the PGA TOUR is adopting the philosophy of ‘build it once, run it anywhere’, starting with four universal Windows 10 applications that run on Surface Pro 4 and Lumia 950 devices.

“Fans want to be able to see each drive, approach shot and putt in real-time and compare tournaments,” said Steve Evans, SVP and Chief Information Officer, PGA TOUR. “Technology plays a key role in making that a reality across any digital device, but using modern day technology doesn’t stop with us providing interesting and fun user experiences. It’s also about using technology like Windows 10 to drive PGA TOUR operations to deliver a better experience for our employees, our players and our fans around the world.”

Volunteers use Windows 10 devices and apps to track tournament data

PGA TOUR

Walking Scorer is one of three Universal Windows apps that TOUR volunteers will use to track and manage player and course information, including player scores as shown on a Microsoft Lumia.

I recently had the pleasure of joining the team at a PGA TOUR event, where I quickly learned that volunteers play a pivotal role. There are more than 300 volunteers at each TOUR event that help to drive the ShotLink Scoring System, powered by CDW. This group compiles scoring and statistical information at every shot and at every hole – adding a plethora of stats at each tournament, which are then used for scoreboards, television broadcasts and websites such as PGATOUR.com. About two-thirds of the volunteers operate lasers from towers behind each green that measure distance of approach shots and putts. Others record driving distances and some are walking scorers with each player group. In partnership with SMT and Microsoft Services, we built three apps that volunteers will be migrating to. The first app is the ‘Walking Scorer’ which runs on Microsoft’s Lumia, creating a more user friendly experience on familiar devices to track and manage player and course info, continuing to deliver instant stats to TOUR staff. The second app that volunteers will transition to is the ‘Laser Operator’ which also runs on Lumia devices and collects data from laser sensors on the greens. The third app they tested at the tournament was the ‘Grid View’, which runs on Surface Pro 4 devices and will be used by a volunteer around the green to now digitally input ball position when the laser operator has an obstructed view.

“With the Microsoft Surface Pro and Lumia devices running Windows 10, the PGA TOUR will have intuitive, secure and easy to use devices that allow our volunteers to track every shot and deliver accurate and timely data to our backend systems,” – Steve Evans, Chief Information Officer, PGA TOUR 

Universal Windows app delivers instant stats and trends to fans in new and engaging ways

Another exciting experience the PGA TOUR and Microsoft showcased was the ‘Tournament Companion’ app, which is currently being beta tested with attendees during the tournament. Fans will be able to use the app to track tournament data including: player location via a heat map, the ‘pickles’ diagram (i.e. the bird’s eye view of the course and holes), statistical game analysis, player leader boards – and they can even play live games with other attendees. While the team is first focusing on hospitality, we will build this out for fans to allow them to get deeper insights whether at the tournament or at home.

PGA TOUR

Grid View is used by volunteers to digitally input ball position when the laser operator has an obstructed view, replacing clipboard and papers on the green as shown on a Microsoft Surface Pro 4.

Additionally, Microsoft was testing a golf performance app that we built with Windows 10 and Azure. It allows instructors to record videos of their student’s swing, analyze and annotate the slow motion replay, and save all of the footage to the Microsoft Cloud. Students can access and review their swing footage after their lessons, on the go from any device.

Over the coming months, the PGA TOUR will continue to integrate Microsoft technology into its organization, including the power of the Microsoft Cloud (Azure) and Office 365 to better integrate data and video analysis for golf fans, staff, players and commentators.

As Ben Hogan once eloquently stated, “The most important shot in golf is the next one.” It’s a pretty exciting journey to be on and look forward to the next phase with the talented team at PGA TOUR.

Jeremy

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Kent School District Starts Rolling Out Windows 10 to 24,000 Devices

What if every child started out their first day at school on a level academic playing field? The Kent School District is taking steps to do just this with its ‘One Student-One Device’ program. In an effort to give students access to advanced technology and devices, they became an early adopter of Windows 10, piloting the new operating system in four of its K-12 schools over this past school year. The pilot recently ended and the district has already started distributing Windows 10 PCs to all of its elementary-school libraries. It expects to install Windows 10 on all 24,000 devices in the school district by the start of the 2016/2017 school year.

As a former teacher, one of my passions is to figure out how technology can enable students to be successful in the classroom, and help teachers do less ‘teching’ and more teaching. Kent is a great example of a district that is using technology to empower its teachers and students to be more efficient and productive so they can focus on learning. When Kent School District started its pilot it had two key goals: use technology to transform its classrooms and at the same time to streamline IT management. Following the district’s upgrade to Windows 10 and distribution of HP laptops and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 devices to students from kindergarten to sixth grade, the students became more engaged and performed better academically, helping build community support for technology in the classroom. At the same time, the district was able to reduce IT costs.

Kent School District

By upgrading to Windows 10, Kent replaced its previous process of manually refreshing each device, simplifying the demands on its IT department. They’ve also taken advantage of the free online services and productivity tools for teachers and students with Office 365 Education, which has lowered total cost of ownership. “Upgrading to Windows 10 has actually been a way to get extra life out of our devices,” said Stosh Morency, interim CIO, Kent School District. “It’s not intuitive to think you can put a newer operating system on an older computer and it will actually run better. Because of some of these benefits, we’ve extended our four-year refresh cycle to five years for some of the devices.” When we asked Stosh and his team how much savings they think they’ve seen, Morency added, “If you purchase a couple million dollars of computers in a year, and you skip a year of doing that, it adds up quickly.”

Take a look at how the Kent School District and its teachers and students are benefiting from Windows 10 and Office 365 functionality in their schools by reading their full case study here.

The Surface devices in particular have been game-changing based on functionality like pen and inking that other devices don’t offer.

The teachers and students who have been using the Windows 10 devices at the four pilot schools have found new ways to work and learn, based on their personal working styles. The Surface devices in particular have been game-changing based on functionality like pen and inking that other devices don’t offer. Some students use the Surface Pro 3 like a laptop, while others prefer the touchscreen in tablet mode. Kindergarteners use the Surface Pen and touchscreen to learn how to write letters.

Students in the fourth through sixth grades use inking and Scratch Space in Microsoft OneNote to draw out math problems and shapes for geometry lessons. Students in all grade levels in Kent now use OneNote to collaborate on team research projects, track assignments, share writing projects with teachers and get feedback in real time. They use PowerPoint Online and Sway to create visually engaging reports.

Kent School District

“In 6th grade your penmanship should be readable and I have a few students that really struggle with their hand-eye coordination and just writing something that I can even read,” shared Amanda Gallegos, Sixth Grade Teacher, Fairwood Elementary School. “It’s amazing when they were given a Surface device how much more confident they are just simply using the setting where you can use your stylus and it transforms it to typing.”

“We’ve seen tremendous gains in specific students,” says Aubrey Buerstatte, Librarian and Technology Specialist at Horizon Elementary School. “When teachers help students set up a personalized program on a Surface Pro 3 running Windows 10, we see an improved level of excitement and test scores.”

Another big hope for Kent School District is to be able to send devices home with students over the summer. Typically, the devices sit on a shelf during the summer months while they’re reimaged for the next school year, which leads to a dip in technical proficiency with the students. “With Windows as a service, the updates can continue and re-imaging won’t be a big deal because with Windows 10 we just keep the updates going and don’t have to do a reset over the summer,” said Morency. “It means students can continue improving their writing and math skills and don’t have to start over when they get back in the fall.”

The Kent School District has 28,000 K–12 students and employs 4,500 teachers, administrators and other staff at 43 campuses in the city of Kent, Washington.

The school district has maintained a longstanding relationship with Microsoft and it is both a Microsoft Showcase School and a best practice location for the National School Board Association.

It’s so motivating to see the impact Windows 10 devices can have on preparing students for the future. We’re are honored to play a supporting role in their education. Windows 10 Education is available for educators through Microsoft Volume Licensing and we welcome their ongoing feedback on how we can make Windows great for schools.

You can learn more about the new innovations for the classroom with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update here and check out this Windows Experience Blog post for additional information on education institutions around the world that are choosing to adopt Windows 10.

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