Ballmer Calls for a Fifth Revolution at Cebit

By Mike Vizard

Speaking at the Opening of the Cebit Conference, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer said the industry is on the cusp of what amounts to a fifth revolution in computing that will drive a new wave on innovation.

Ballmer said the catalyst for this revolution will be the increase of processing power in the small handheld devices, the expansion of storage, widespread availability of wireless networks and forthcoming advances in natural user interface and display technology.

The end result of all the adoption of these technology innovations will create the ability to call up any document, photo, or media file created on any devices and saved anywhere on the Internet. People will also be able to instantly communicate with anyone on the globe using voice, video and text. But before all this can happen the industry needs to foster the development of a single digital identity for all communications. Once that is established, all any user will need to know to contact anyone in the world is the name of the person, he said.

Ballmer went on to predict that in the future software will learn the habits and preferences of the end user. As such it will book, for example, the flights you like to take based on your schedule, while also automatically making available any and all documents related to a particular meeting. In addition, Ballmer noted that virtual online environments will also advance to the point where three-dimensional avatars representing users will take part in virtual meetings that will define a new era of collaboration.

Ultimately, Ballmer said these advances will change everything from the way we interact with our families to the way we participate in the political process that elects today's world leaders. In addition, he said these advances will fundamentally change the way we think about education, healthcare and even the way we mange climate change by making our homes and business more energy efficient.

To accomplish all these changes, Ballmer called for a new level of cooperation across the public and private sectors in order to drive what he called a revolutionary change to all social interactions by 2015