Innovation @ HP Labs
Insights on research, innovation, and emerging technology from HP Labs researchers around the world.

The attention economy

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A daunting consequence of the ubiquity of digital media is that information, which used to be scarce and therefore valuable, is now so common as to be almost devoid of monetary value.


Today, search engines, billions of websites, social networking, and micro-blogging provide us with myriad ways of taking care of our most complex informational and entertainment needs. What is now scarce, and therefore valuable, is our attention, which explains the intense efforts being made to obtain it through focused advertising, pop-ups, short videos embedded in news portals and, most disheartening, spam.


As most commercial enterprises make websites their main point of connection with customers, their ability to draw our attention to their most valuable and important products can trump even price advantage (since there’s no value in having added features or discounts if a product or service is not noticed). As a result, their success typically requires our noticing their products while experiencing a simple, aesthetically pleasing and useful interaction with the website.

Labels: Analytics

HP Labs and HP IT launch Trafodion, an open source transactional database, built on Hadoop



Declaring it “by far and away the coolest project at Discover,” HP CTO and Director of HP Labs Martin Fink recently announced the public beta release of Trafodion, an open source SQL-on-HBase data management engine that enables real-time transactional processing  on a massive scale.


Speaking at Discover 2014 in Las Vegas, Fink predicted Trafodion will redefine data processing. “If you are building a new application that focuses on Big Data, the odds are you are also going to need transactions as part of that application,” he said. “We’re giving you the tool to have an enterprise-grade, at-scale transaction system.”  

Labels: Analytics Labs

HP Labs and Swansea University to jointly develop a situationally-aware, sustainable campus


From left to right, David L Morgan, HP Wales; Dr Amit Mehta, College of Engineering, Swansea University; Dr Amip Shah, who leads IoT research at HP Labs; Professor Richard B Davies, Vice-Chancellor, Swansea University; Professor Javier Bonet, Head of the College of Engineering, Swansea University; Mateen Greenway, HP Fellow and CTO, HP Future Cities.


HP Labs and Swansea University’s College of Engineering have announced an exclusive three year joint research program aimed at fostering innovation in intelligent communications, data analytics, green sensors, and cyber security.


The project initially establishes a new research testbed for exploring technologies that lower energy consumption and support the production of clean energy. A second phase will install and evaluate instantiations of these technologies on the Welsh university’s new £450m ($800m) Science and Innovation Campus, one of the top five knowledge economy-based projects currently under development in Europe.


“Developing an intelligent, secure, situationally-aware, and power-saving campus aligns directly with HP’s vision of future cities,” says Amip Shah, who leads Internet of Things research at HP Labs. “It’s wonderful to be able to expand our testbed capabilities and it will be exciting to see the ideas we jointly develop explored in a real-world setting.”

The Machine – HP Labs launches a bold new research initiative to transform the future of computing


HP CTO and Director of HP Labs Martin Fink delivering his keynote presentation at HP Discover 2014


It was the major research announcement at HP Discover this year and is HP Labs’ largest ever research project: what the company is dubbing The Machine.


The Machine is a multi-year, multi-faceted program to fundamentally redesign computing to handle the enormous data flows of the future. It aims to reinvent computer architecture from the ground up, enabling a quantum leap in performance and efficiency while lowering costs and improving security. Over half of HP Labs’ engineers are now dedicated to making its various components a reality.


“This changes everything,” said HP CEO Meg Whitman in introducing the Machine in her HP Discover 2014 keynote in Las Vegas. “We’ve been talking about many of the component technologies for some time,” she noted. “Now we’re bringing them together in a single project to make a revolutionary compute architecture available by the end of the decade.”

HP Discover 2014 – visit the Discover Zone for demos of numerous HP Labs innovations

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At the heart of HP Discover 2014 is the Discover Zone – hundreds of thousands of square feet of themed pavilions showcasing HP’s latest technology and solutions. Many pavilions also feature demos of HP products that originated as HP Labs projects, technologies and innovations.


Here are just a few of the Labs projects being shared – download our handy map of the Discover Zone to see the whole list.

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About the Author(s)
  • Managing Editor, Innovation @ HP Labs blog, Strategic Planning manager at HP Labs
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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