Its been quite a few years since Microsoft last showed off their vision for work, and instead of releasing a new video this year, they showed journalists around their 7,000-square-foot Envisioning Center in Redmond, Washington instead.

Because less CGI is used the technology demonstrated is a lot more realistic. While there were still massive screens and augmented reality headsets, much of the innovation was based on software, in this case mainly the Fluid Framework.

Fluid Framework breaks documents into modular components which can then be recombined in various ways. This, for example, allowed Microsoft to create a home screen with your recent documents and other information into a data feed and combine components via drag and drop. Multiple users could collaborate at the same time and Microsoft imagines AI fusing the text, photos and videos into a single style.

“The underlying architecture can whole handle any kind of data,” explains Mike Morton, a program manager for Fluid Framework at Microsoft. “We haven’t shown audio or video… but I’ll say there’s absolutely the underlying technology to sort of support that.”

The technology would be open and would integrate with the web, meaning it could reach well beyond Microsoft.

To support this vision Microsoft is also looking at hardware, like the Surface Hub 2 of course, but also a Surface Hub Wall, that combines projection technology with 100-point Surface hub sensors to transform walls into smart surfaces that support touch, stylus, and voice input.

Microsoft also imagines horizontal Surface Hub desk-style devices, which would be a fusion of the Surface Hub and Surface Studio, where workers could generate, combine and manipulate documents and component of the Fluid Framework.  Microsoft also envisions Cortana lending a helping hand, setting up, running and transcribing meetings, suggesting relevant documents and generally acting as your digital secretary.

“The world that we work in is undergoing really dramatic changes at a really rapid pace,” says Anton Andrews, who runs the Envisioning Center.

Screenshot and source: The Verge