Samer Abu-Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf
Microsoft’s view of the new wave of innovation was part of the 2nd Abu Dhabi Innovation Forum organized by Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, TRA & Abu Dhabi University which concluded yesterday. This view included several key technology trends - including Cloud computing, social computing, and the increase in computing power & network of sensors - across a wide range of disciplines.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Samer Abu-Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf, said: “With an R&D budget of more than $9 Billion and thousands of scientists and researchers working in labs around the world, Microsoft is focused on advancing state-of-the art technology in computing through a combination of basic and applied research. Internally, we are constantly looking over the horizon and beyond today’s products to imagine what might come next”.
“We see a bright future for Abu Dhabi given the enormous potential and progress the Emirate is making in harnessing technology and innovation,” said Dr. Nabil Ibrahim, Chancellor of Abu Dhabi University. Our partnership with companies like Microsoft who truly embody the spirit of innovation will enable Abu Dhabi to react rapidly to trends and developments so that we can enhance our progress and development with technology advances and the emergence of new ideas.”
Talking about the natural interaction with computers and devices, Mr. Abu-Ltaif said, “we will soon go beyond the limits of today’s computing devices that force us to adapt to the procedures and input methods that technology requires. We will increasingly find more natural ways to interact with technology through touch, voice, vision and gestures. This means that for the first time, computing will adapt to us. Increasingly, these natural interfaces will also have awareness of the environments we are in and the context of our actions.”
The advance of cloud computing is also fundamentally transforming the technology landscape with the ability to deliver virtually infinite resources. The cloud provides the storage capacity and processing power to contain virtually the sum of human knowledge through massive datacenters. Elaborating on this aspect, Mr. Abu-Ltaif said that the cloud will become a hub for all data and information by facilitating the capture, storage, indexing and recall of people’s day-to-day lives depending on how much they choose to share. It will also provide a platform for orchestrating the flow of information and technology across people’s lives so that they always have instant access to the tools and information they need.
Dr. Zaki Khoury, Business Manager, Microsoft Gulf also shared his views later in the Forum on the impact of Social Computing. Dr. Khoury commented on how the technology has already changed the way people create and maintain their connections with others. However, there are challenges given the highly fragmented nature of social computing. He stated that “the lack of integration creates frustrating disconnects when people are forced to switch between services and applications to stay up to date. Social computing will in the future undergo a dramatic transformation as technological advances make it possible to weave social lives more deeply and more seamlessly into every aspect of people‘s digital lives so that information from social network can provide insights to guide people in the real world and online”.
With computing power and storage expanding exponentially, Dr. Khoury also highlighted the potential for computing that has vastly greater intelligence as it conducts deep analysis of immense amounts of information to understand and anticipate how the physical world actually works. Finally, he concluded by mentioning that “whatever comes next, the one thing we can say for certain is even our biggest dreams are probably not large enough to encompass the exciting changes to come. We are thrilled to play a role in turning things that can only be imagined today into products that will improve the lives of millions of people in the region tomorrow”.
Microsoft also used the forum as an opportunity to showcase two innovative products to attendees. These included the Kinect for Xbox controller free gaming technology and its potential use in gaming and edutainment. Visitors to the Microsoft stand also got the opportunity to view Windows Phone 7, Microsoft’s latest smartphone operating system which has broken the current smartphone convention to help people quickly and easily find and consume data, information and services from the Web and applications.
Such digital technologies are increasingly fueling and generating an incredible transformation in the workplace and people’s life style, delivering ever-more powerful tools that have increased productivity, streamlined communications, and improved the ability to entertain, find, use, and create new information.