Greenhouse Seeds BI Projects

Microsoft team at work on 2 initiatives.

Microsoft is incubating two new business- intelligence-focused projects inside its Information Worker Greenhouse.

The Greenhouse, which Microsoft launched in 2003, acts like an internal venture capital arm. The Greenhouse team builds prototypes of potential applications and technologies and then seeks wider, corporate backing and financing for these initiatives. Those that arent seen as viable are dropped.

The Greenhouse has produced a handful of projects to date. Of these, RingCam is probably the best known. Microsoft has shown off RingCam, a videoconferencing device that enables multiple parties to communicate over VOIP (voice over IP) in a variety of public forums, but the technology has yet to be commercialized. The Greenhouse also has helped shepherd search and various Office and Internet Explorer extensions.

The Greenhouse team is working on two new projects, according to internal company sources. The first project, known as News to Me, "is an adaptive and dynamic system which analyzes your documents, interactions and activities to automatically deliver timely and relevant information to you," according to a description of the project posted to a Microsoft blog.

Earlier this month, Microsoft removed the blog posting describing the two new IW projects.

"Because this is something [that the Greenhouse team is] currently working on, they are not ready to comment on this at this time," said a Microsoft spokesperson.

The News to Me project is designed to help determine credibility of the growing number of BI sources, defined by the group as blogs, audio casts, RSS feeds and news of all kinds.

The other project, Business Context Sniffer, "allows the user to grab a mail [message] or an object within the mail, drag it over a sniffer pane and sniff the relevant business context," said the aforementioned blog posting.

The sniffer is designed to solve a very particular problem. "Business Decision Makers are faced with the problem of managing their business efficiently while living in Outlook," the blog posting said. "These BDMs spend large parts of their day sorting through uncorrelated ad hoc communications in their in-box. They face the obstacle of quickly finding relevant context in order to act upon them appropriately. Their requests for more relevant context over email generates email replies that exacerbate their in-box workload."

Business Context Sniffer components include a task pane, various sniffer panes that allow users to get dynamic context on incoming e-mails, and preset and dynamically assigned metadata and keywords.

Whats been incubating in the IW Greenhouse?

  • RingCam videoconferencing device
  • Search and other extensions to Office and Internet Explorer
  • News to Me and Business Context Sniffer BI tools

Source: Microsoft Watch

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