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It’s a small world after all

Staying connected on business travel in Australia

Yesterday morning I arrived in Brisbane, Australia. After a 14 hour direct flight from LA, I was more than ready to get a little exercise before heading full speed into this year’s multi-city business tour in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. That will be followed next week with stops in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand. At each stop along the way I will be meeting with clinicians, healthcare executives, software developers, and government leaders. In fact, in just a few hours I’ll be having lunch with the AMA. That’s probably not the AMA you are thinking of if you’re from America. It is the Australian Medical Association. They are keen to deploy more contemporary, digital solutions to better serve, communicate and collaborate with their members.

As soon as I had checked into my hotel in Brisbane yesterday morning, I headed for the City Botanic Gardens. On previous trips to the area I have always enjoyed the Gardens. They are located adjacent to the hotel where I like to stay and are a welcome respite from the noise and heat of the city streets.

Brisbane is a beautiful and very progressive city. Although the downtown business district suffered serious flooding two years ago, it has completely recovered with nary a sign of the flood’s devastation. The Botanic Gardens are as gorgeous as ever. There is a wide variety of flora and fauna to enjoy. People of all ages can be seen strolling along the river bank. Joggers and bikers take advantage of wide, paved paths that meander throughout the park. It’s not uncommon to see small groups of people practicing yoga or individuals working out with a personal trainer in the shade beneath a large tree. My impression is that Brisbane is not only a beautiful place. A lot of its citizens are doing their best to stay healthy and fit.

In the City Botanic Gardens I was reminded of Brisbane’s focus on development and technology. Visitors are greeted by signs notifying them that the Brisbane City Council provides free Wi-Fi throughout the park. Just turn on the wireless on your mobile device and seek out the City Park signal. You are now connected to the world.

After a very long walk to shake off the effects of air travel, I exited the park. On my journey back to the hotel I came across a sighting that made me feel even more welcome in Brisbane. Right there on the side of a city bus was a very large banner forMicrosoft Surface. Having left home on Saturday, I missed a lot of the activities associated with the launch of the Surface Pro model. I did however stop by my local Microsoft store in Bellevue right before leaving town. I was pleased to see a line of people outside the Microsoft Store waiting to purchase a Surface Pro. It must have stretched at least three city blocks inside the mall. I wish I had had time to grab one myself before heading to Australia. However, I did bring along my Surface RT. It came in handy this morning when one of my Microsoft colleagues noticed I was on-line and started to IM me. Right from my Surface RT we quickly escalated our chat to a voice call usingLync. The clarity of the “call” coming over my Surface RT made it sound like my colleague was in the next room, not half a world away. The only thing separating us was time. It was 6 AM Brisbane time when he reached out. Good thing I’m an early riser.

I’ll be sending more reports on my activities here in Australia and later in New Zealand over the next two weeks.

Bill Crounse, MD Senior Director
Worldwide Health, Microsoft