Toronto, Canada, July 8, 1998 — More than 1,300 Canadian information technology enthusiasts filed into the John Bassett Theatre at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto this morning to hear Bob Herbold, Microsoft’s chief operating officer and executive vice president, talk about the effect technology is having on businesses, education and consumers. In his keynote speech at COMDEX Canada ’98/Windows World, Herbold showcased solutions developed on the Windows platform — ranging from consumer devices to the high-end cluster server — and highlighted simplicity, integration, and scalability.
Herbold’s keynote, titled “Empowering People via Windows,” focused on the uses Canadians are finding for a wide range of products Microsoft offers in the Windows family. Joining Herbold on stage for several real-world demonstrations were Charlotte Burke, vice president of Bell Mobility; Mark Miller, an English teacher at Compagnon de Cartier, St. Foy, Quebec; Vish Canaran, president, Mediaserv; and Neil Froggatt, Windows product manager, Microsoft Canada.
Bell Mobility uses an end-to-end Microsoft solution, from BackOffice to Windows NT through to the hand-held Windows CE. The company demonstrated the capabilities of recent co-development work, announced in Toronto on Monday, to deliver applications for people on the go. Bell Mobility is working with Microsoft to make it easy for users to build wireless applications that take advantage of Bell Mobility’s wireless network and Microsoft’s application software based on Windows CE. The PCS phone they showed, which runs Windows CE to deliver and receive wireless email, clearly demonstrated the power of this technology for helping to make people’s lives easier.
Businesses also are benefiting from the integration built into Windows. Focusing on the business mantra of quicker application deployment and integration, Herbold used an example directly from Microsoft to reveal how his company uses Microsoft tools to end up with SAP reports available on what he called “an incredibly friendly intranet.”
Mediaserv, a Canadian solution developer, showcased its browser-based solution, which is currently being used by a division of Newcourt, the Canadian financial services company with more than 5,000 employees in 24 countries. This solution automates distribution of leasing applications, allows users to view their portfolios online and helps agents service clients. Newcourt has used this solution to increase its ability to do business. The entire solution was designed and rolled out in 90 days – a dramatic example of the power of Microsoft’s Distributed Network Architecture (DNA) and the standardized Windows platform.
The effects of technology are felt far beyond the business world. To highlight that a schoolteacher from Compagnon de Cartier in St. Foy, Quebec, joined Herbold to demonstrate his school’s innovative use of technology in education. Acknowledging that the main benefit of technology is to provide teachers with a powerful tool, they demonstrated how a PC running Microsoft Office on Windows 95 is complementing traditional coursework. Using new technology to extend education beyond the classroom, teachers are using laptop PCs for project-based curriculum that provides students with access to learning – anytime, anywhere.
Herbold concluded with a look to future. While the cost-to-power ratio has put more robust PCs running more powerful software in the hands of more computer users, the Windows platform must continue to evolve to make functionality even simpler. For businesses, this means more streamlined management and TCO functionality, and for all PCs it means faster start up, more intuitive and discoverable features, and a more “human” interface. Herbold reiterated the company’s focus on continuous R & D development, highlighting the current proliferation of non-PC devices, such as the AutoPC, as one benefit of this research.