Eager for the world to see its digs in Times Square, Microsoft recently invited me over for a visit to its New York technology center.
Equal parts showroom, demo ground, and cloud services hub, this is one of several locations the company maintains around the world to let enterprise clientele check out its technology.
Keith Milone, real estate portfolio manager with Microsoft, said the company relocated the tech center from the Avenue of the Americas. The company signed a lease in 2013 for more than 200,000 square feet on six floors at 11 Times Square.
Sales, technical, and service staff work out of the technology center, but Milone said about 60 percent of the space is devoted to interacting with customers. “So many of our people are mobile these days,” he said.
In addition to workspace, there are gadget bars covered with tablets and other devices, as well as rooms where Microsoft personnel demo technology for folks on site. They also hold remote training sessions. Deeper inside, there is a data center that hosts cloud-based software for customers.
Scattered around the office are 55-inch and 82-inch screens built with multi-touch technology from Perceptive Pixel, a New York startup that Microsoft acquired in 2012. “It’s basically a big tablet,” Milone said.
The next generation of these giant multi-touch screens, at 84 inches, is expected to be out in a few months, he said.
After customers get a bit of exposure to Microsoft’s software and devices, they can get hands-on in a room that includes an Xbox One connected to a video wall. Even though there is a big plush couch, it is not about goofing off. “We show it to them, not to just play games,” Milone said. “We show them the Live Tiles platform [for apps] is on every device.”
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