On the 4th of October Microsoft held a worldwide, design-focused event called Expression Around the Clock. Partially it was an opportunity to expose people from the design community to the Expression suite of tools. More importantly it was the beginning of an effort by the company to engage with the creative community much more closely by exposing them to designers at Microsoft, and talking to them about changes in the digital design business that they care about.
The event took place at 10 locations around the world, beginning with Aukland, New Zealand and rolling throughout the day to end at Mexico City. At each event a member of the Microsoft user experience community was asked to give a keynote address on a subject of their choosing. The rest of the day was a mix of presentations by partners, panels and so on. You can see many of the presentations by going to the event web site and clicking on the WebCasts link.
I was lucky enough to be asked to speak at the event in Milan which took place at the Enterprise Hotel. My talk dealt partially with what we do on the Socio-Digital Systems team in Cambridge, and pulled some key technology trends from my Trends blog that I feel will change the way in which digital designers think about their work. My bit starts (in English) about 8 minutes in after an introduction (in Italian) by Riccardo Sponza, Evangelism Manager for Microsoft Italy. There’s also a quick, two question interview with me which was a little odd to do since the questions were asked in Italian and I gave my answers in English. Finally, there’s a 3 minute video that gives you a sense of the atmosphere at the event.
Some other keynotes that I’ve had time to watch include Bill Buxton‘s talk entitled Above And Below the Surface, giving his perspective on the history and future of interaction models with technology, August de los Reyes‘ talk on his PhD topic, entitled SuperEmotion: making Emotions Work For You and Manuel Clement’s talk on using wireframes for rapid prototyping. Also, Steve Ballmer gave the keynote in Zurich on Designing the Next Era of Software.
Thanks to the Italian team for a very well organized event.
For those that are interested, Microsoft is hosting a one day, worldwide event focused on user experience design, called Expression around the Clock. It’s less of a technology pitch then some of the Expression events have deliberately been in the past, and more of a chance for some open discussion of different design issues (sprinkled with a small amount of Expression stuff).
The events are happening in Mexico City, San Paulo, Toronto, Zurich, Milan, Cairo, Moscow, Bangalore, Seoul and Aukland. So all over the place. It’s good to see something like this going on that is less US-centric. Steve Balmer will be keynoting the Zurich event, but the rest of the locations will have talks from real Microsoft designers, like Bill Buxton, Manuel Clement and, oddly, me. I’m lucky enough to be doing the one in Milan.
My talk will focus on the changing nature of devices in the home, with examples from the work we’re doing in Cambridge and interesting things I see on my Trends blog. Hope to see you there.
A few weeks ago I spoke at the International Energy Agency in Paris at a workshop on energy efficiencies in digital networks. It was an odd event to participate in, since the topic sounds so technical and that’s just not me. Much. Plus I’d been asked to do a 30 minute ‘vision’ talk on the future of electronics (which I took to mean CONSUMER electronics) in 2027. 20 years is an impossibly long time to think ahead.
I ended up assembling a presentation which is part overview of what we do in Cambridge, and how my team thinks about people and their experiences with technology; part overview of big technology areas that are likely to have an impact on how consumer experiences evolve, with examples pulled from my Trends blog; and some comment and observations on people’s experiences and needs from energy efficient systems. I ended up being reasonably happy with the result, and it seemed to be positively received.
Some really good speakers at the event, too, like Ronald Tol from Philips who talked about lighting networks, and Armin Anders from Enocean who talked about their really interesting work developing self-powered switches and sensors, that get their energy from the kinetic action of switching a switch, or from solar energy. They’re also working on thermally powered sensors that get their energy from the difference in temperature between the sensor itself and a finger. Very cool.
The workshop really ended up broadening my concept of networks to include building infrastructure more generally, and really made me realize how valuable the human perspective is in even the most technically-seeming topics.