Microsoft Unveils the Center for Information Work

Prototype Technologies Set in Workplace Scenarios Illustrate Vision For a More Productive Tomorrow

REDMOND, Wash. -- Sept. 26, 2002 -- Microsoft Corp. today announced the opening of the Center for Information Work (CIW), an immersive setting that allows Microsoft to explore how productivity could be improved in the future. The CIW highlights advancements in prototype software, creating an evolving model for a highly productive working environment.

Located on Microsoft's Redmond campus, the CIW represents a companywide effort to build a prototype of one view of what productivity technology could look like five years out. It uses familiar workplace situations to demonstrate concepts for improving how tomorrow's workers will manage information overload, access important data to make decisions, and stay connected when away from the office. Sony Electronics Inc. Business Solutions and Systems Co., Intel Corp. and Acer Inc. have worked with CIW to create one look at how future technologies will work together to make information workers more efficient and productive.

"Over the course of the last century, we've seen a dramatic shift in the formation of the global work force. The changes have been fueled in large part by improvements in technology and changes in business processes," said Jeff Raikes, group vice president at Microsoft. "To help our customers remain competitive in the face of such changes, we continue to advance software in ways that will help them boost employee productivity and broaden options for mobility. Some of these innovations are represented as prototypes in the Center for Information Work."

Engaging Customers

Approximately 1,000 customers are expected to tour the CIW each month. The tours provide customers with the opportunity to interact with technologies currently being examined by Microsoft and its CIW technology participants. Microsoft encourages feedback on the prototypes because it will help guide which technologies will move toward reality and which will need refining to better address real business problems customers face.

"Employees today use enterprise data to drive business strategy, integrate and create business processes, and collaborate with co-workers and partners," said Thomas Gruver, group marketing manager for the Center for Information Work at Microsoft. "At the Center for Information Work, customers can see the kind of active thinking we are putting into productivity solutions and tools and how those solutions address the need for more productive, mobile and efficient business processes."

Industry Collaboration

Acer, Intel and Sony Electronics' Business Solutions and Systems participate in presenting Microsoft's vision for creating better productivity tools for information workers. Microsoft focuses on the software, while Acer, Intel and Sony Electronics' Business Solutions and Systems offer the hardware and processing power that bring the software to life. The Tablet PCs prominently used throughout the CIW were provided by Acer; Sony Electronics' Business Solutions and Systems provided the LCD flat-screen monitors and projection screens for collaboration; and Intel provided prototype high-end P4 machines for the processing power.

"Our business solutions are helping Microsoft project a future path for the way employees could conduct business and manage information using the CIW model," said Tom Mykietyn, senior national marketing manager for Sony Electronics' Business Solutions and Systems. "At the center, Sony is demonstrating how our forward-looking network projectors and plasma monitors, and flat-panel computer monitors, offered today, can play a vital role in this vision, even five years out, to improve workflow and productivity."

"Acer is pleased to be able to play a role in the Center for Information Work," said Arif Maskatia, vice president and chief technology officer at Acer America. "Microsoft has not only created a work environment that fosters increased productivity, but also provides the uninterrupted connectivity needed by the mobile information worker. It truly is the office of the future."

Tools of the Future

In addition to the Tablet PCs that travel through the scenarios, prototype technologies from Microsoft® Research are highlighted in the CIW. These include RingCam, an omnidirectional video camera that can record a 360-degree view of a room, and BroadBench, a display so wide it partially wraps around the user. RingCam could one day significantly affect how professionals participate in and archive meetings while away from the office. BroadBench increases information workers' productivity by giving them simultaneous access to multiple applications, helping them better manage the flow of information on their desktop.

Product Availability

With the exception of the Tablet PC, which will be available later this fall, the technologies featured are prototypes and do not represent specific products being created now. As customer feedback is gathered and innovations continue, the ideas represented in the CIW will be refined, and over time the CIW will be updated to represent new innovations.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.

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