From Portugal, we at Microsoft have this very cute video of a young boy demonstrating Windows 8 to people at a store. The video caught our eye for three reasons.

First, it’s cute. The reactions of people to the demonstration – given by a 8 or 9-year-old boy – are fun to watch. It’s obvious they are enjoying the speed and ease with which he moves through the touch screens on the Surface enabled Sony computer. They are also amazed at how this young kid knows so much and can show them new worlds of fun computing opportunity.image

Second, it really capsulizes a point we’ve been making for a long while now, that the best of the next generation of prospective utility employees will expect their employer to have the latest, greatest technology available to them. Around the world, people under 35 or so have been raised with technology applications and hardware that only get better with each passing year. As they come into the workforce and take over the jobs from all the folks who are retiring, they will have skills that the older generation does not have.  And they will have expectations about how they will want to work, with ultra-books, tablets or hybrids – in hand at every meeting, at every possible worksite.

The utility industry has been, and will continue, competing with other industries that make the workplace familiar to this younger generation. Intuitive, familiar touch-based computing – no matter the job role within a utility – will be the standard.

Third, the ease with which people can flip through screens and applications is clearly on display in this video. Think of the modern utility worker who must be familiar with all the many different workflow, work process software apps now available to them no matter whether they are a line worker or customer service rep. They will ultimately be the beneficiary of this new computing paradigm. This trend will continue as Microsoft’s partners move forward with adapting their applications to the new visually oriented computing environment, much of it hosted in the cloud. It will be interesting to see whether the productivity gains that were the hallmark of the 1990s will begin again at the same pace in the next 10 years. It’s my bet this is a very good possibility as we re-imagine the way people work with Windows 8.  Happy Holidays! – Jon C. Arnold