Charities urged to attend new Microsoft store events

There is a raft of events and activities planned to support organisations including access the latest version of augmented reality headset HoloLens as well as attend advice sessions.

Joe Lepper | 11th Jul 19
Photo Tom Pilston.

Charities are being urged to attend one of the launch events at Microsoft’s newly opened store in London – the tech giant’s first in Europe.

The store opens today (July 11) in Oxford Circus in the capital with a raft of events aimed at supporting the digital skills of charities, small businesses and gamers.

To mark the launch, Microsoft is offering a raft of free events, starting today (July 11) with a session showcasing Microsoft products and services for organisations, educators and families. This is also being run on July 13.

Also being run on July 17 is a session called ‘empower your small business with Microsoft Teams’, which offers people the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs and business specialists.

The store covers 22,000 square feet over three floors and includes access to the company’s latest version of its headset HoloLens as well as an enterprise areas on the second floor for organisations to speak to product advisers and technical experts. This area also has an area for hosting events and meeting rooms.

Augmented reality

HoloLens uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology combining voice recognition and eye tracking to offer an augmented reality experience with considerable potential to support charities working with disabled people and other disadvantaged groups.

Chris Capossela, Microsoft Chief Marketing Offier, said: “There are very few locations in the world that feature all the different parts that make up what Microsoft is. The early adoption of technology in the UK has been very impressive. That’s important when the company is thinking about what investments to make and where to make them. This flagship would not be in London if we didn’t have a very strong commercial business in this country. We thought very deeply about this.”

£1m to charites

In addition, Microsoft is marking the launch of the store by donating £1m to three charities, UK Youth, Raspberry Pi Foundation and the London Community Foundation, to help them boost the digital skills of disadvantaged young people.

Last month 11 organisations graduated from the Microsoft AI for Good accelerator, which is a four month project led by Microsoft and the Social Tech Trust to help develop ideas that use AI to improve society.

Charity Digital CEO Jonathan Chevallier added: “It’s great to see Microsoft giving back through the launch of the centre. The community space is a great facility which charities and other community groups can come in and use free of charge to learn more about digital technology.

“I was also really excited to experience the HoloLens 2 which is an amazing piece of technology which shows how it will be possible to support disabled and other disadvantaged groups with truly hands free computing technology in the future.”

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