This week I really got the chance to embrace that inner geek that’s just dying to break out of my pinstripe suit. On Tuesday I had the chance to visit the Microsoft Research TechFest 2012, and celebrate twenty years of Microsoft Research (Shout out to my host Juliane Carlson). Then on Wednesday I attended the GeekWire Summit and got to hear and meet all kinds of interesting people doing all kinds of interesting things. Here are some highlights and potential implications on the intersection of leadership, advice and technology in financial services:
Today: Microsoft Research TechFest2012
“The unanticipated results are often as important as the anticipated ones.”
– Peter Lee, Microsoft Research
- Multilingual text-to-speech (TTS) conversion. The demo was oriented around an American using GPS to navigate around Beijing, but imagine being able to serve non-English speaking clients in situations where multilingual employees might not be available or practical.
- Lots of projects involving Big Data, including FetchClimate, a massive mash-up of global historical climatic data made instantly accessible. Easily useful as-is to assist in assessing branch locations, client real estate projects, etc.
- Another Big Data project is ChronoZoom, which is a “…dynamic cloud based data visualization tool where educators, researchers and students can easily consume, compare and understand the history of the cosmos, earth, life and humanity. Where they can easily consume rich media sets like: audio, video, text, pdfs, charts, graphs and articles in one place and discover new possibilities.” Imagine a financial markets version of this product with every price and correlation of every financial instrument for the past 80+ years.
- IllumiShare is desk lamp with camera that allows people to share physical or digital objects across the internet. Imagine a client who has questions on their trust document (or paper statement from your luddite competitor, because of course your institution has a secure digital document exchange with e-statments…). They could flip this on from the kitchen table of their beach house and you can see it all on your screen, even mark it up or highlight key areas.
- Multitouch is still evolving, and the Wearable Multitouch Projector can turn virtually any surface into a touchscreen, including the palm of your own hand. The current prototype looks a little bit like first generation home camcorders with a shoulder bag processor and a shoulder mounted projector, but it will undoubtedly evolve. No touch is evolving too, building on the Kinect interface, including potential touchless interaction in surgery.
Tomorrow: The GeekWire Summit