Bytes of wisdom

The tech world is one of the toughest places to talk the talk. But still, it will definitely get everyone thinking. Alvin R. Cabral ponders



By Alvin R. Cabral/staff Reporter

Published: Fri 12 Jun 2015, 1:22 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 2:53 PM

While on the seemingly endless queue outside the huge hall inside the China National Convention Centre, you would have had the impression that what was about to happen inside was a concert rather than what was officially advertised. Music blared and it was a total party atmosphere.

It was a perfect intro, because once Lenovo Tech World got underway, the attention was still 100 per cent.

The first-ever edition of this event from the world’s No.1 PC vendor raised not a few eyebrows as a result of a mixed bag of emotions not only because of the products revealed, but also because of what was discussed.

It was no small feat; while it wasn’t as resounding like the more established Mobile World Congress or the Consumer Electronics Show, the line-up was formidable: the CEOs of Microsoft, Intel and Baidu — Satya Nadella, Brian Krzanich and Robin Li — joined their Lenovo counterpart Yang Yuanqing to unveil some of their latest and neatest technological stuff to a rabid crowd predominantly made up of Chinese tech wackos.

All these men said all the right things. But while actions — product offerings, in this case — speak louder than words, sometimes what comes out of the mouth can make you ponder and wonder more what is next.

Being a first-hand witness at the event, a number of things stood out.

 ‘Definitely’

Yang — “YY”, as he prefers to be called — said the word “definitely” about a zillion times during his briefing with the Press. He answered every question with a smile, but you know that definitely — there’s that word again — he means business.

“I think in this world — in this industry [especially] — nobody can dominate innovation,” he starts off a lengthy answer to a question.

“There are a lot of direction in innovation and development; this company can focus on this, we can focus on that… but we already have a clear vision of where we want to go: the innovative direction.”

While those words were strong, he admitted one thing: there’s a lot of work to be done when it comes to the brand’s recognition and reputation. While Lenovo is tops in the PC world, it’s a distant third — with a very slim lead on the No.4 — in the smartphone race during the first quarter of 2015, according to the International Data Corporation. YY summed it up: “We have good technology and products, [but] we need a stronger brand.”

 

‘Everyone’

Having the tag of heir to the throne once held by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer may be overwhelming, but Nadella is unfazed. At all.

“It’s a fantastic time to be in tech and to use tech,” he boldly proclaimed during his keynote at Tech World.

One “idea” drives Microsoft, he proclaims: “That notion of empowerment and impact is what 40 years ago got Bill and [co-founder] Paul [Allen] to start Microsoft with the very first Basic [Beginner’s All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code] interpreter.” (Does anyone out there still remember Basic? I do.)

That, Nadella continued, is the “same mission of empowering every person and organisation on the planet to achieve more” that is driving the technology giant forward.

He promised that the upcoming Windows 10 is not just another release of the platform, but rather the “beginning of a new journey and era” for it.

Nadella wants everyone involved — every person, every device; you name it — in Microsoft’s vision going forward. In fact, “everyone” was to him like “definitely” was to YY.

It’s great to imagine the connected and mobile world Microsoft is touting. Getting there is altogether a different thought, as it involves a lot. A lot.

But, in Nadella’s words, he is — once again — unfazed.

“We of course live in a world that is mobile-first and cloud-first, and the reason why I think about and describe the world with both of these concurrently because it’s not about the mobility of the device — it’s about the mobility of the human experience across all of the ubiquitous computing that is with us every day.”

“In this world of ubiquitous computing and abundance, what is scarce is human attention.”

Interesting thought, isn’t it?

“We want to reinvent our activities so we can get more out of every moment in our life.”

Different persons have different perspectives. Though there will always be at the very least one common denominator that can be agreed upon.

It was hard to judge how the audience took the words of these industry leaders as the event came to a close.

But one thing was certain: IT got them thinking and expecting. Although it’s unsure which of these two rang a louder bell than the other. -— alvin@khaleejtimes.com


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