“HP’s innovation engine is alive and well,” declared CEO Meg Whitman at the 2012 HP Discover expo in Las Vegas last week.
As proof, she could point to the new technologies being featured at the event’s HP Labs Pavilion. In the research group’s first major presence at the annual meeting of HP partners, customers, and employees from throughout the Americas, HP Labs researchers showcased some of their most recent projects.
Interim Labs director and HP Senior Fellow Chandrakant Patel, meanwhile, addressed the Discover CIO Summit and held meetings with key HP partners.
“I was thrilled at the excitement I saw at Discover,” reports Patel. “I was very happy to be able to interact with CIOs throughout the day of the Summit, and so get to know them on a personal level. That meant I could direct them back to our booth where our researchers could share their research in depth.”
Over a dozen HP Labs projects were showcased in the HP Labs Pavilion, representing work from across HP Labs’ seven international sites and eight major research groups, aligned with Discover 2012’s four major themes:
• Converged Cloud
• Information Optimization
• Security and Risk
• Create, Consume, Share
“We had a lot of people, especially at the senior executive level, who had come by planning to spend ten or fifteen minutes with us and an hour later they were still there,” says John Sontag, Director of Strategic Innovation and event co-producer for HP Labs.
“What was great was that they weren’t just interested in the technology, but they were finding they were having compelling conversations with our researchers,” he recalls.
“Even though our booth comprised a small part of a big show floor, people found us, and there was a constant flow of traffic,” adds Jaap Suermondt, who spearheads HP Labs’ healthcare research. “Even when the show floor closed after four days, people would not leave our booth and wanted to see one last demo.”
Most of the projects on display were aligned with specific HP Business units, and in many cases employees from those groups were on hand to discuss their collaborations with HP Labs. “It made it very clear to our customers that there really is a pipeline of innovation here,” Sontag suggests. “Most of the time we could even point to booths nearby where earlier iterations of the research were already being deployed by the businesses.”
It wasn’t only customers who had the chance to talk with Labs engineers in more depth than usual, notes researcher Henry Sang, who led the team showcasing HP Labs’ Photon Engine project. “We also got to talk with our business organizations at a very different level than we normally do,” he says. “I think we opened a lot of people’s eyes, and got them pretty excited about what we’ve been doing.”