Microsoft Unveils Updated Center for Information Work Showcasing Innovations for Ultimate Office of the Future

REDMOND, Wash. — May 10, 2006 — In a very short period of time, innovations such as videoconferencing and instant messaging have changed from futuristic possibilities to accepted parts of the daily work routine. So what is next? Microsoft Corp.’s updated Center for Information Work (CIW) showcases the company’s evolving vision for the future of information work along with the innovative productivity software advances that will make this vision real for people and organizations.

Located at Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Wash., the CIW features emerging technology innovations that solve real customer problems and improve productivity for information workers. It also gives customers and partners a unique opportunity to provide feedback that can directly influence future Microsoft® products.

“Anyone walking into the CIW will get a powerful experience of Microsoft’s ‘People-Ready’ vision for business: that an organization’s people, when equipped with the right software, are the key to driving business success,” said Jeff Raikes, president of the Microsoft Business Division at Microsoft. “The innovative concepts and evolving technologies on display come from throughout Microsoft, but every one is focused on empowering information workers to deliver greater value to their organizations.”

A recent example of a technology incubated in the CIW that has moved on from the prototype stage to a product group for development and commercialization is the Microsoft RoundTable™ collaboration and communication device, which is a collaboration tool with a 360-degree camera designed to deliver an immersive conferencing experience that extends the meeting room across multiple locations.

Microsoft’s Unified Communications Group will continue to develop RoundTable and is scheduled to bring the technology to market in 2007. RoundTable aligns with Microsoft’s vision for unified communications, which is focused on simplifying communication and giving people more control over how, where and when they communicate.

The first tour of the updated CIW, which took place today, showcased the potential for RoundTable and many other emerging software technologies to enrich the office of the future.

“To help our customers boost their individual and corporate productivity, we must continually increase our understanding of the demands facing information workers today as well as the trends shaping the new world of work,” said Tom Gruver, group product manager for the CIW at Microsoft. “The newly expanded CIW is our companywide think tank for cultivating that knowledge and applying it to the next generation of software-based productivity tools.”

The 3,500-square-foot CIW features experimental technologies that Microsoft envisions reaching the market in the next five to seven years. Tours of the facility showcase these technologies in the context of day-to-day business challenges facing employees at a fictional company. Against this backdrop, the CIW highlights Microsoft’s next-generation information worker tools spanning four key areas:

  • Enhancing individual productivity with technologies that shield users from information fatigue, support rich presence awareness, unify various modes of communication, make information universally available across different applications and devices, and make information easier to find and share

  • Spotting trends in business intelligence through tools that support advanced visualization and modeling of information, smarter integration of metadata, and more sophisticated pattern recognition.

  • Enabling collaboration for better team outcomes with software that makes distributed meetings easy and inexpensive, promotes richer interactions among widely dispersed team members, and streamlines all stages of shared document assembly. This helps enable people, teams and organizations to communicate across locations, networks, applications and devices.

  • Using insights to optimize workflows through software that automatically routes approvals, alerts and exceptions; delivers ongoing business intelligence updates; automates common tasks to free workers’ time; and helps ensure compliance across standards, documentation, reporting and security requirements.

More than 25,000 people have visited the CIW since 2002, and another 10,000 visitors are expected in the coming year. Microsoft will continue to update scenarios in the CIW to reflect new software-based productivity concepts and feedback from customers who tour the center.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft and RoundTable are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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