Posted by Paul Cotton
Partner Group Manager
Roughly 10 years ago, a handful of hardware and software vendors met to discuss the concept of Web services interoperability. Outside of e-mail, the internet had yet to be adopted into mainstream use, but the industry recognized its potential as a vehicle for relaying data between different software programs or operating platforms – such as a Windows PC and an IBM mainframe.
This need for the free flow of information across different platforms and programs motivated Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, SAP, HP and a handful of other vendors to form the Web Services Interoperability Organization (WS-I). Their goal was to codify the requirements to achieve interoperability, by creating a series of blue prints – or profiles - that developers and engineers could follow whenever they write a software program.
Posted by Pamela PassmanCorporate Vice President, Global Corporate Affairs
Beijing is in many respects an ancient city, but this week we were privileged to help organize an event that brought US and Chinese participants together for a look at the future: the Fourth U.S.-China Internet Industry Forum (“USCIIF”). Microsoft and the Internet Society of China have convened this Forum since 2007, and we’re very pleased to have discovered a structure and rhythm for productive discussions on Internet policy and business topics. The Forum involves a set of public keynotes, as well as private, off-the-record discussions, and informal networking among senior U.S. and Chinese business leaders, government officials, academics and civil society representatives.
Our dialogue this year, as in years past, covered many topics and noted the importance of transparency and international cooperation on Internet policy matters. The Forum featured candid and open exchanges on sensitive topics including freedom of expression and basic rights to privacy. But we noted two topics in particular: the impact of cloud computing on the Internet, business and society, and the role that trust plays in allowing societies to realize the potential of cloud computing.
Fostering trust has been a discussion point since the first of our gatherings. E-commerce has always depended on user confidence in privacy, security and safety. So have online communications, from email to newer social networking and gaming services. The architecture of the Internet itself relies on trust – confidence that ISPs will pass packets along to their intended destination in a trustworthy manner.
Posted by Tony HeyCorporate Vice President, Microsoft External Research, a division of Microsoft Research
Technology can do many wonderful things, from making businesses more productive to providing entertainment, but above all, technology can help solve challenges that are critical to society. Providing adequate healthcare to people in developing countries is one such challenge, and it's a challenge Microsoft Research has been engaged in for many years - through sponsorship of studies with partners to develop mobile healthcare solutions that can be applied widely and cost effectively, regardless of economic conditions.
This is a passion Microsoft Research shares with numerous partners and institutions, including such organizations as the Gates Foundation and the National Institutes of Health. It’s why we are serving as a sponsor of the mHealth Summit again this year—and why we are thrilled that our colleague Kristin Tolle, director of Natural User Interactions at Microsoft Research, will be interviewing Bill Gates during a keynote this afternoon.
The 2010 mHealth Summit, being held Nov. 8-10 at the Washington (D.C.) Convention Center, will bring together hundreds of experts focused on exploring the use of mobile technologies to transform health care in the United States and the developing world.
Posted by Piotr MarczukGovernmental Affairs Manager, WSG RG Poland
(Cross-posted from Microsoft.eu)
Global dimensions are changing. To name a few: the shift to a low carbon economy, globalization, technological change, accessible education and an ageing population have all sparked a change in the skills, knowledge base and competencies that the labour market demands.
We have seen youth embracing some of these exciting new trends during the inspirational 2010 Microsoft Imagine Cup Finals. Indeed, the world’s annual largest entrepreneurial competition in technology took place this year in Poland and brought to the spotlight some of the most innovative ideas that are set to spark job creation and develop human capital in new areas of business. We heard some interesting predictions directly from the young entrepreneurs themselves in the European Parliament earlier this month at the event ‘’Pushing the boundaries of Innovation’’. The students told us what skills will change the structure of the EU labour market and therefore what competencies EU employees, both present and future, should be embracing:
Finalist Adrien Cayrac, France- bronze medal in the Game Design category:“First and foremost, I believe that in the future, businesses will require their employees to lean more towards collaborative work (according to U.S studies, this could represent approximately 50% of the efficiency within a company). According to me, it is also important for tomorrow’s jobs to ask for more transversal skills. Why would that be? Two major advantages: one would be that the employee would work better with colleagues whose jobs are different from his. The other advantage would be that if the employee wants to change his career path, he’d be able to do so more easily. I also believe that it is important to instill a certain balance of human, scientific and technological culture through teaching and training. Technology helps us work differently, thanks to new devices and software.
Workstations with which we work are no longer limited to a sole computer but now include Tablet PCs, videoconferencing cameras (roundtable), smartphones (WP7), interactive whiteboards, mini-PCs… If these tools are interconnected within a single solution, they constitute unified collaborative communication and foster collective intelligence. We can then exchange information whilst ignoring constraints of location, content, time, media, or availability of one or the other. What better way to improve your skills than through constant learning? None.”
Posted by Rob BernardChief Environmental Strategist
As the head of environmental sustainability at Microsoft, I lead a team that thinks about issues around energy use and the implications that a move to the cloud will have on both worldwide energy use and carbon emissions. Some of the questions that we are looking at include: what is the benefit of consolidating IT services in the cloud? Would those cloud-based services consume more or less energy than they do on-premise? And would carbon emissions output from the IT industry, which is currently on par with the airline industry, go up or down? We decided to jumpstart this discussion with a new study that can help us and the market better understand the true costs and efficiencies of moving more services to the cloud. To get a better sense of the energy and carbon emissions differences between on-premise and hosted services, our partners Accenture and WSP Energy & Environment compared three commonly-used business applications: Microsoft Exchange, SharePoint and our Microsoft Dynamics CRM products. They looked at cloud deployment of these services versus on-premise deployments for small (100 users), medium (1,000 users) and large (10,000 users) companies. They found that when organizations move these services to a hosted Microsoft cloud, they are able to reduce the energy use and carbon footprint per user by at least 30% for large organizations, and in the case of small business, this result was even more dramatic, with potential savings of up to 90%.