Microsoft Customers’ Technology Innovations to Become Part of Smithsonian’s Permanent Research Collection

REDMOND, Wash., June 1, 2000 — On June 5, the winners of this year’s Computerworld Smithsonian Award (CWSA) will be announced at a gala in Washington, D.C. Among the finalists vying for these prestigious awards are three customers nominated by Microsoft: Nasdaq in the finance, insurance and real estate category; Partners HealthCare in the medicine category; and AmericaOne in the manufacturing category. Using Microsoft technology, these organizations have implemented solutions that make them standouts in their respective fields.

Established in 1989, the CWSA program seeks, in its own words, to
“document the progress of the information technology revolution as it unfolds.”
Each year, information about nominees, finalists and winners is presented to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. There, it becomes part of the permanent research collection, providing future generations
“a vital snapshot of a global revolution-in-progress; a revolution defined in terms of the astounding varieties of achievement of the men and women who are leading it.”

“Nasdaq, Partners Healthcare and AmericaOne were nominated for these awards because of their incredibly innovative work with technology,” said Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates. “Microsoft’s vision is to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device. Nothing demonstrates the power of our vision more clearly than the creative solutions our customers can achieve when they have the right tools.”

Gates is one of 100 technology industry leaders invited by the CWSA program to submit nominations in 10 industry-focused categories such as science, manufacturing, and government and non-profit organizations. The finalists, five in each category, are selected by a panel of neutral industry experts from a large and intensely competitive field of the world’s best technology solutions, using the following criteria: impact on society, innovation, difficulty, originality and success.

Windows Delivers Mission-Critical Functionality

Nasdaq has been nominated for its Surveillance Delivery Real-Time (SDR) System. The Nasdaq stock market is the world’s first electronic market and has become the model for developing exchanges worldwide. Nearly 5,000 companies trade their securities on Nasdaq. The SDR System is a mission-critical software application based on Windows NT Server that tracks stock market events and issues alerts at the possibility of any abnormal market activity.

“Nasdaq’s SDR system is an alert detection and presentation system that is unmatched in its speed and ability by any other financial market in the world,”
said Gregor S. Bailar, executive vice president and chief information officer of the National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD), the parent of the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Nasdaq’s MarketWatch department was created to facilitate regulatory oversight of the Nasdaq Stock Market. MarketWatch analysts examine what appear to be unusual activities and determine whether intervention — which can take the form of correcting an erroneous financial figure, or even halting trading for a particular stock — is necessary. To do their jobs, these analysts require real-time data that includes accurate, relevant and current information, as well as access to historical information that puts the current information into perspective.

Before the development of SDR, MarketWatch used an application that, while providing valid detection processes, also required additional manual processes. The MarketWatch department then determined what improvements were needed: additional automated alerts that would help monitor market integrity in a more efficient and timely manner; the integration of data into one comprehensive tracking system; and a redesign of the alert generation process that would be more flexible to changing standards, rules and market conditions.

Using these criteria, Nasdaq developed a Request For Proposal (RFP) for a mission-critical software application running in a PC environment. The RFP requested an open platform solution utilizing the Windows or UNIX platform and delivering reliability to a minimum level of 99.97 percent (or just under one hour of operational downtime per year).

A Windows-based solution was chosen for its reliability, interoperability, scalability and flexibility. SDR, running in a Windows NT 4.0 and Intel environment, delivers:

  • Real-Time Information: Examines more than two million transactions during each trading day (over 2,000 transactions per second), filters for criteria that flags alerts, and delivers alerts to analysts within two seconds.

  • Reliability: Provides 99.97 percent uptime, and extensive failover procedures.

  • Scalability: To take advantage of multiple processors, the design features eliminate the need to rewrite code when larger than four-way processors are introduced to the system. This scalability has been proven on a Unisys QS/2 10-processor test system. Now in production, SDR has easily passed benchmark tests that more than tripled the current level of transaction activity.

  • Flexibility: Accommodates changes in logic, filters, rules, and other programmed elements without the need to re-engineer the software.

  • Security: Protects the system with a closed environment.

“After thorough testing, we have created a state-of-the-art system that will help to maintain a level playing field for shareholders and protect the integrity of the marketplace for all participants,”
Bailar said.

Telemedicine — Healthcare for the Future

Partners HealthCare System, Inc., an integrated health-care delivery system in eastern Massachusetts founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, has been nominated for its
applications, which use Microsoft technologies to support remote consultation, remote education, remote triage and home-based healthcare.

Partners sees telemedicine as a way to provide cost-effective care, independent of time and geography. It allows specialists to be concentrated at large centers, with the costs shared over a broad area. Through this concentration, specialists become even more highly skilled and experienced in their areas of expertise, and more patients get the benefit of prompt, expert treatment.

“With Microsoft tools, we are enabling patients, wherever they are, to access this expertise,”
explained Joseph Kvedar, MD, director of telemedicine at Partners.
“We’re also raising the standard of care everywhere by sharing the standards at our academic centers with colleagues. We thus improve and extend care to many more people.”

Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 is the foundation of Partners’ telemedicine applications. Databases contain information on physicians, patients, diseases, physician instruction tracking, drug interactions and invoicing, providing an invaluable resource for physicians and healthcare professionals. A remote consultation application enables physicians to capture information as it is happening, consider it, decide on a course of action and apply it to other situations.

“Microsoft has been great at helping us achieve our goals and also in transferring knowledge to our staff,”
Kvedar said.
“We’ve built a robust database using SQL Server 7.0 to handle our telemedicine transactions; now we’re ready to scale it. The medical field has to change how it does things. We have some wonderful tools available to us, tools that will make hospitals more efficient and patient care more thorough.”

Microsoft NetMeeting conferencing software enables physicians to perform medical triage for emergencies such as stroke — any time and anywhere. It is critical for stroke victims to receive treatment immediately after an occurrence — within three to six hours — but stroke specialists may be located at a distant hospital, too far away. Using NetMeeting 3.0, hospitals can treat these patients by
the experts right to the victim’s bedside. A similar procedure can be used for breast cancer patients, who can go home after surgery much sooner, rather than endure a prolonged hospital stay.

In addition, Partners is using Windows Media Technologies within a Windows 2000 network to educate clinicians who are unable to attend lectures and seminars, as well as to provide continuing education to physicians about the latest treatments, the latest medications and new insights into treating difficult cases. Physicians are able to post presentations created with PowerPoint and to deliver audio and video presentations.

“The infrastructure that supports telemedicine must be very reliable, highly supportable and have great agility to respond to changes in business or technology. It must be able to integrate with a wide variety of technologies. And last but not least, it needs to be potent, which means it must be fast and have plenty of bandwidth,”
Kvedar said.
“Microsoft technology fills these requirements and forms the foundation of what we’re doing in telemedicine, and also in a wide variety of clinical systems.”

Building A Winning Boat

AmericaOne, a finalist for the CWSA award in manufacturing, recently contended in the America’s Cup, the world’s most prestigious boating event. The sailing team used cutting-edge technologies from Microsoft Certified Solution Provider Autodesk, Inc. to create its racing yacht, one of the world’s fastest sailing boats.

“An exceptional sailor in a slow boat will rarely beat an average sailor in a fast boat,”
said Bob Billingham, chief operating officer of the AmericaOne team.
“There’s no question that the fastest boat wins this race, and we are talking in time differences of seconds between teams. So, for many contenders, the real race against time will be in the planning and building of a winning boat.”

The AmericaOne design team, comprised of 40 naval architects, fluid engineers and sail boat designers located worldwide, turned to Autodesk’s AutoCAD, which provides an adaptable 2D/3D design environment and toolset for creating, modifying and sharing accurate information-rich drawings. The program is supported by the Windows NT Workstation’s productivity and ease of use. This combination provides a state-of-the-art virtual design studio linking AmericaOne engineers around the world.

“It’s the universality of the Windows NT platform and AutoCAD that’s so valuable,”
said Bob Smith, a consulting naval architect who is responsible for amalgamating the building plans for the boat.
“Virtually no part of the boat gets conceptualized and understood without first being constructed with Autodesk software and modeled on Windows NT Workstation.”

AmericaOne’s Windows NT-based workstations running AutoCAD files are also used to communicate between the design team, boat construction team and their vendors: sail makers, custom fabricators and boating hardware companies.

Each boat costs approximately $2 million to build. The AmericaOne team spends another $7 million in attracting the best engineers, crew and support personnel for its full-time staff. Other engineers donate their time, which can mean 80-hour workweeks and round-the-clock brainstorming sessions that cross borders and time zones.

Microsoft is proud to have three of its nominees become finalists in the bid for the CWSA. Win or lose on June 5, all three organizations have combined their own creativity and energy with Microsoft software to change the world in ways that the Smithsonian Institution has now captured for posterity.

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