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HP Labs Releases 2010 Annual Research Report

Paper-like, flexible video displays.  Immersive, real-time 3-D experiences.  Zero-energy, sustainable data centers.  Low-power, high-speed nonvolatile memory.

 

What do these things have in common?  They’re all projects being developed by talented teams of researchers at HP Labs.

 

HP Labs is comprised of distinguished scientists, award-winning technologists and passionate researchers who are driven to redefine what it means to be innovative.  The newly-released HP Labs 2010 Annual Research Report showcases the organization’s commitment to “purposeful innovation,” finding solutions to the most complex challenges facing HP’s customers and society, and, as a result, creating a strong link between Labs research and HP’s business goals.

 

The report highlights the best of more than 120 technologies that HP Labs transferred to HP businesses during the 2010 fiscal year, whether it’s delivering a cloud-based analytics solution to help government agencies detect sophisticated cyber attacks, or creating seismic data solutions using wireless sensor networks for more efficient land-based oil and gas exploration.

 

You can read about advancements in these areas and many more in the report, which provides a comprehensive look at the projects and people that contributed to another fruitful year of R&D within HP’s esteemed research group.

 

Click here to download the full report.

 

“The Biggest Tech Platform In History": HP mobility guru Jon Rubinstein on the future of wireless

A full house Tuesday night at San Jose’s Churchill Club got to hear HP mobility exec Jon Rubinstein and Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs pondering the future of wireless computing, a technology the event billed as “the biggest tech platform in history."

 

So what is next for wireless, event moderator and AllThingsD co-founder Kara Swisher  wanted to know.  

 

Resisting Swisher's legendary ability to wring out information, Rubinstein was cagy about product details.  But he argued that the hit mobile products and services of the future will only result from offering a first-rate user experience and from moving fully into the cloud.

 

“What enables breakthroughs,” said Rubinstein, “is the convergence of technology, product vision and software.” HP and Palm, he suggested, are well positioned to integrate across that entire spectrum, unlike some other players in the mobile space that account for individual elements of the user experience.

 

Qualcomm’s Jacobs predicted that before too long we’ll see smartphones able to sense much more than their locations, that will be remote controls for manipulating the environment around us and that will offer us new ways to share.  We’ll point phones at signs in a foreign language and get an instant translation, he suggested.  And we’ll be using sensors attached to phones to remotely diagnose health problems, especially in nations where heath care is the least developed.

 

When Swisher pushed for some for really futuristic predictions, Rubinstein imagined that we’ll one day sleep with mobile devices in our ears.  Our pillows, he said, might then “recharge the electronics in your head."

 

What could hold wireless back? Both execs agreed that power (i.e. battery life) and the limited availability of cellular bandwidth present the two biggest technical challenges right now. 

 

How about market fragmentation, asked Swisher?  Is it a problem to have seven different mobile OSs to choose from?  “We’re only at the very beginning of this,” Rubinstein replied, a point born out by news yesterday that Apple’s share of the mobile OS market has slipped from 51.9% to 33% in the last year. Data released yesterday morning by Neilsen further suggests that the smartphone battle is only just starting to heat up.  

 

Some barriers to wireless growth will be more social than technical. Both Jacobs and Rubinstein argued that before we can exploit all that wireless has to offer we’ve got habits that need to be unlearned and fears that need to be overcome.

 

Rubinstein said he has a ready reply when people worry about sharing data with cloud-based services.  “Where do you keep your money?” he asks.  For most, of course, it’s in a bank.  “See,” says Rubinstein, “it’s already in the cloud.”

 

That comment was much retweeted by members of last night's tech-heavy audience, many of whom offered real-time event commentary under the #Churchillclub hashtag -- a reminder that whatever cool stuff is on the horizon, the biggest tech platform in history has already seriously reshaped our world.

 

Labels: Innovation

Sean Parker, HP, and Mitch Landrieu on "Rebooting America" through disruptive innovation

Last week, we had an opportunity to head down to New Orleans, Louisiana, to hear from some of the world’s most innovative business people, social entrepreneurs, journalists, and economists talk about innovation in practice at The Daily Beast’s “Reboot America!” Innovator’s Summit.

 

(If you’re not familiar, The Daily Beast is relatively new media venture founded by Tina Brown, the distinguished former editor of The New Yorker and Vanity Fair.)

 

The conversations were wide ranging but two themes popped up again and again: innovation in cities like Braddock, Pennsylvania and New Orleans, and the potency of small businesses as engines of economic progress.

 

Changing the equation at city scale

The event kicked off with New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who argued compellingly that his city should be looked at as “a laboratory for innovation and change in education, health care, transportation, [and] technology transfer”:

 

 

One organization in Mayor Landrieu’s lab is non-profit The Idea Village, a local group of businesspeople that support NOLA entrepreneurs with a blend of consulting and financial capital.  The companies in The Idea Village’s portfolio generate more than $87 million in annual revenue, creating 1,000 jobs for the community.

 

HP CMO Michael Mendenhall announced that HP would provide a $100,000 grant to The Idea Village during the conference.  In making the announcement, he remarked that entrepreneurs are the innovation “backbone” of the business world, a comment that echoed his conversation a day earlier with Napster co-founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker.

 

mendenhall_panel.jpg

(above: Sean Parker [far left] and Mendenhall [second from right])


Sean Parker and “business nightmares”

On Friday, author Ken Auletta moderated a panel on digital media that featured Parker and Mendenhall along with two other executives from the advertising and television businesses.

 

Answering a question from Auletta about what each panelist’s “business nightmare” was, Mendenhall said that democratized access to technology has expanded the definition of “potential threat” for HP, and that the company “can’t just look at other big companies” because brands can be made overnight on the Web.  To help address this issue, he added that it was critical to have the capability to scan the Internet for emerging issues.

 

Sean Parker jumped in and took the perspective of the disruptor, underscoring Mendenhall’s view on asymmetric competition by saying that he is constantly looking at incumbents in existing industries and asking himself, “Where are the weaknesses I can exploit?”

 

Parker famously answered that question for the music business in 1999 with Napster, which turned the existing distribution and discovery model on its head.  In the clip below, Sean discusses some of his goal to “fix what I broke” via another music service, Spotify:

 



 

Next steps

The summit featured more than a few other insights into topics like education and the media business from serial innovators like Barry Diller, HP’s Shane Robison, and Vinod Khosla; stay tuned for more later this week here on Data Central.

 

To learn more about HP's vision for "City 2.0", read this interview with HP Labs sustainability expert Chandrakant Patel.

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