Software guru Bill Gates gave a keynote welcome via a holographic video on day one of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Kuala Lumpur. To an audience of almost 3,000 international delegates, he spoke of the benefits of access to education through the Internet as one of the key drivers to innovation and growth.
Gates said, In some ways, we are only at the beginning of changes. Now, one billion people currently have access to the Internet, and there are still five billion to go. As a company we are committed to expanding access to all.
He then introduced Microsofts corporate vice president, Dr Ya-Qin Zhang, who leads research into innovations that would drive a sustainable economy.
Speaking on stage at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Dr Zhang opened by detailing some of his early findings attained through his involvement with the International Advisory Panel (IAP), which took place earlier in the week. He said he was impressed by the calibre of Malaysias e-government services and infrastructure development.
Dr Zhang shared some key technology and industry trends, two of which were, the emergence of mobile communications and software as a service.
Over the last the last 50 years, research and development has taken computer from mainframe to mid-frame to the PC in the mid 80s. However, it is the Internet that has brought a new major change to form factor, said Zhang.
He said that we are now moving toward a web-centric model, where the PC will continue to play a part in the communication and entertainment process.
However, the definition of PC is stretched to mobile wallets, mobile phones and full computing devices, using a change in the model from client-to server to cloud-to-client computing. Real computing takes place in data centres, Zhang said.
In a connected world, he explained, software is not so much a product but a service. The licence form may disappear while software plus will emerge.
This will impact, in the next five to 10 years, how we conduct business, he said. There are certain megatrends. These include the following: performance of hardware, ubiquitous broadband, mobility & new services, unlimited storage, high definition displays and natural user interfacing.
Communication and access is becoming more affordable and storage is now becoming a commodity, he said.
An interesting change is in human interfacing; in the past humans adapted to the computer. Now, the computer is starting to adapt to the human, according to Dr Zhang.
This has led to an intuitive interactive approach, surface computing using touch, called Microsoft Surface. He demonstrated the new process that uses a coffee table format, which allows a flick of the wrist to move information around.
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