Looking Ahead to the

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-05-17 Print this article Print

Next 10 Years"> Looking Ahead to the Next 10 Years To solve the problem of enterprise information access, weve made significant R&D investments. As a result, over the next 12 months we intend to roll out a wide range of new technologies that will transform the way people find, use and share information in the workplace. Products like Windows Vista and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 in the 2007 Office System will bridge the gap between information workers and the information they need to be more effective. Another new technology aimed at streamlining information access that should be available in the near future is an enhanced search tool called Knowledge Network for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. This add-on will track expertise and relationships in an organization so information workers can quickly connect to people with the right skills and knowledge. We also plan to introduce a test version of Windows Live Search, a one-stop entry point for finding information on the desktop, the intranet and the Web.
In my first CEO Summit keynote speech in 1997, I looked ahead 10 years to a time when bandwidth would be vastly improved, the majority of adults would use e-mail and the Web would be integral to the way we plan trips, make purchases and coordinate with friends. Not all of my predictions have come true yet—I also said using speech to interface with computers would be the norm by now. But that is coming soon.
The theme of this years CEO Summit is "The Next 10 Years." So where will we be 10 years from now? As I said back in 1997, theres a tendency to overestimate how much things will change in two years and underestimate how much change will occur over 10 years. But I think there are some things we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty. During the next 10 years, networks will get faster, computer processing will continue to increase in accordance with Moores Law, and data storage will continue to fall in price. Meanwhile, high-definition screens will be cheaper, lighter and more portable. Mobile phones will rival todays desktop PCs for power and storage. Most important, the software that ties it all together will become increasingly sophisticated in its ability to understand the way you work, and increasingly streamlined and intuitive in the ways you use it. During the next 10 years, the idea of "search" will give way to a notion of seamless access to knowledge as people begin to utilize tools that let them interact with their computers using plain English—or plain Spanish, French, Chinese or Russian—to instantly link to the information or people they need. In this New World of Work, repetitive, uninteresting tasks like moving data from one system to another will be automated and employees will focus much more of their time and creative energy on work that generates real value and growth. In 1997, the theme of CEO Summit was "Corporate Transformation for Friction Free Capitalism." Today, in a world where we have access to virtually unlimited information at our fingertips, global supply chains, international markets that operate 24 hours a day and communication tools that enable us to move data around the world instantly have brought us a lot closer to a world of friction free-capitalism than many people thought possible back then. As we look ahead to the next 10 years and the promise of the New World of Work, I believe we are on the verge of an idea that is even more powerful: the age of friction-free innovation. Bill Gates

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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