• Dean Anthony Gratton

Going Back to the Future with Skype

Sometimes things just fall into place at exactly the right moment for seemingly no reason whatsoever, but more than often there needs to be a perfect storm to create them. For me, technological evolution can so often start with the whimsy of a daydream or a childhood tale, from which the spark of what might just be theoretically possible transcends into reality.

Lightning strikes!

It’s part of the excitement of working in the industry that I’m so honored to be a part of and part of what makes broadcasting technology an on-going journey of sometimes awe-inspiring discovery. The wife and I were watching one of our all-time favorite movies the other day, Back to the Future and, just as lighting struck the clock tower, a realization struck me too.

“Great Scott, it all makes sense!” I exclaimed, sounding more than a little Doc Brown-ish in my exuberance but, having been immersed in the characters on screen, I felt suddenly inspired.


My wife was intrigued and, for the first time that day, let go of her grip on the remote control. I glanced back at my monitor and keyboard in the corner of the room with a knowing smile – I had found the story for my next Skype in Media column.


From George to Doc

But first, some background banter: you see I was once very much like the BTTF character George McFly, continually being told by his teachers that “No McFly (or, in my case Gratton) will ever amount to anything” in the classroom. Ah yes, those memories always come flooding back at that point in the movie. Somehow though, through a combination of hard work and sheer determination over the years, I developed a Marty-like confidence and, from there, steadily evolved into the, some might say, eccentric Doc I am today.


Skype and I have a lot in common it seems. I remember those early days when it too was a shy, misunderstood and sometimes bullied fledgling technology – oh stop it, I’m welling up here! But despite the early knocks, it held on to that good old Doc Brown philosophy of “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!” And just look where it is today: a top connecting technology that, in partnership with Microsoft, has blown us away with its ever-evolving Skype TX, Translate andHoloLens.


Flux capacitor, be damned!

Ah yes, Skype has well and truly made its mark on the way that broadcasting is spreading its digital wings. Flux Capacitor be dammed! Skype transcends time zones in milliseconds, without the need of a Delorean I might add, and is doing so in style. With this, the 30th anniversary of the day Marty travelled to the future being celebrated around the globe, it’s no wonder that Skype is the engine of many a BTTF party, not to mention the technology that is fuelling many of the global festivities.


“Get another bottle darling” yells my wife as I walk to the kitchen, my head still buzzing with the thrill of all that is yet to come. “You may have to go down the road if we’re out” she adds as I approach the now empty wine rack – damn! The familiar Skype melody sounds from my Surface Pro on the counter and another rush of excitement seizes me as I reply with a grin “Darling, where we’re going we don’t need roads”.

Until next time…

Yes, well it seems it’s a perfect mantra of “Drama, drama, drama” this month with BTTF celebrating its 30th anniversary. And, as a Windows Insider, I have been privy to the latest Windows 10 Build 10565. Yep, Skype is now fully integrated into the Operating System (OS) – for me, this is a natural evolutionary step for Skype and I am looking forward to the next formal release of the OS next month!


So, for now, this is where an impatient Dr G signs off.



Originally published in Skype in Media.

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