Microsoft’s gamble on its Surface line of tablets is beginning to bear some impressive fruit for the company. Recently, the prestigious watch group of Aurum adopted Microsoft's 2-in-1 Surface tablet computer as its go-to device for its brand.
According to Microsoft’s sales excellence lead of enterprise services Matt Chapman, adoption momentum of Surface business customers has been particularly noteworthy for the company, so much so that a separate Surface Enterprise Initiative was established. The intent behind the Surface Enterprise Initiative is to enable Microsoft to deliver world-class services and support to enterprise customers along with Surface.”
Via Microsoft's new Surface Enterprise initiative, one of the UK’s most prestigious watch groups come on board using the 10.8 inch Surface 3 as mobile POS terminal for its various employees. The Aurum Group represent some of the UK’s most celebrated retail brands in the industry, which include Goldsmiths, Watches of Switzerland, and Mappin & Webb.
With such a seemingly tall order, it’s a wonder why the Aurum Group settled on the ‘lighter weight’ solution of the Surface 3 versus the Surface Pro 3 or 4. British designer and Aurum Group member Paul Smith explained why Microsoft’s 2-in-1 offer was chosen to represent the brands technological interface for its employees:
We have been experimenting in our retail stores for several years to find a way to bring ‘a transaction to a customer,' rather than take ‘the customer to the transaction.' Before the Microsoft Surface, we have trialed a number of different mobile devices to help achieve this goal. Our initial attempts were using small laptop devices; these did give us the mobility we required, but no matter how small the laptop they were neither as portable as a tablet nor as performant as a fix till point. These devices also suffered from limited battery life; our sales consultants need battery powered devices that can last an entire day’s trading – without running flat when helping that important client. We have found other devices to be well designed in terms of size, mobility, battery life, however we have over 25 years of software technology we use in store which has been built for a Microsoft platform, so the practicality of porting or redesigning this software to another operating systems is both undesirable and extremely costly.”
As to why the Surface 3 was specifically chosen, Smith explains that the choice came down to the maturity of the device. “The Surface had advanced to where it exceeded other tablets in terms of the hardware, but for us had a huge advantage in supporting our full suite of Microsoft applications out of the box.” While, most of the tech industry rushes towards the bleeding edge, Smith and others find that maturity and compatibility are often more important than grabbing on to the latest and greatest.
Perhaps, more importantly, design focused Smith touches on how Microsoft’s magnesium machine molded tablet fits with the Aurum Groups luxury oriented brand.
The build quality and the look of the Surface was extremely important to us. Being a retailer for both luxury and fashion product, it was important to have hardware that maintained these high standards. Within our luxury stores, we typically hide all IT hardware until it is required, with the Surface we find that this is less of an issue as its sleek design works wells even within our most luxurious stores.
Our boutique fashion stores take a slightly different approach, we use the Surface as a mobile tablet throughout the whole store, the design is cutting edge, and the high standard of build quality means the device can withstand less gentle handling.”
Beyond the physical admiration of the Surface 3, Smith reveals Aurum Group's development of a Universal Windows app for the platform. The app acts as a container for their e-commerce site, presumably using a form of the web-app porting bridge codenamed Project Westminster. Couple with a specific Windows 10 kiosk mode, the Aurum Group uses its UWP app and the Surface 3 as an end-to-end mobile solution for customers that delivers on productivity and scale.
We reported a while back on the merits of the Surface 3 when compared to ‘Pro’ products and how versatile of a device it has evolved into. The Surface 3, in many regards, is just as Pro as any other device, and for less money in some areas.