Posted by Dominic Carr
Director, Microsoft News Center

For many people Las Vegas is glamorous and exciting year round. No matter what you think of Vegas there is no denying the energy and sense of optimism that permeates the city. There is always something new and usually it’s on a grand scale. Everyone seems to be asking: “Wow, how can we top that? What’s next?”

It seems appropriate, therefore, that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) descends upon Las Vegas at the start of every year. For the first week of January Las Vegas becomes the capital of “what’s next” for consumer technology and is filled with excitement and optimism about the future of technology. It’s the time of year when everyone’s inner geek can run free, so those of us who are pretty geeky year round will be glued to the news coming out of CES for the next few days.

Our CEO, Steve Ballmer, is famous for being passionate about many things, and the impact of technology is one of them. In a blog post over on the Huffington Post this morning, Steve takes a step back and looks at the broader role that technology plays, and perhaps more importantly conveys his optimism about the role technology can play, in helping to tackle three of the biggest challenges the world faces today: providing affordable healthcare, taking care of the planet, and educating our children.

Steve talks about how moving medical records online can reduce costs, improve quality of care and empower patients. He highlights how new technology can help people manage power consumption at home and on the move. And Steve is particularly passionate about the way technology can transform education and help prepare our children for what Thomas Friedman calls “a lifetime of employability.”

Steve isn’t the only one focused on these issues. Microsoft has teams and individuals working on each of these challenges. Here are a couple of places where you can find out more, and join the discussion:

Steve will be kicking off CES with a keynote speech at 6:30 p.m. PST tonight. Along with Robbie Bach, he’ll be showing off some cool new technology and talking about our vision for where technology is headed. You can watch Steve and Robbie’s keynote live and see all things CES on the Microsoft News Center at www.microsoft.com/ces.

Enjoy the show. For once, what happens in Vegas is unlikely to stay there.