The presentation started out with Robert Youngjohns from Microsoft US Sales and Marketing leading a panel discussion with IT and business profesionals from Sheraton, Intel, Ford and Continental Airlines.
The big themes of what businesses are looking for in this econcomic environment are:
- efficiency and getting the most of what they have including choosing the right amount of resources to maintain existing infrastructure while being sure to make strategic investments for the future
- cost savings through things like power efficiency and virtualization
- using technology in innovative ways to improve user experiences
Hoyt from Sheraton gave examples of using technology in ways that directly touches customers like allowing them to record video postcards and send them to their family and co-workers. They're also rolling out Windows 7 based HP TouchSmart systems in their hotels (like the one used in the demo of building touch enabled apps with Delphi 2010).
Eric from Continental Airlines gave good examples of how incorporating social media like chat helps support their large staff of work-at-home reservation employees. He also described technology initiatives focused on making the entire process from finding tickets to boarding passes as simple and efficient as possible for travelers. He also gave his opinion that we won't see widespread web access on planes for at least several more years due to the current limits in the number of providers, available bandwidth/number of satellites, and geographic coverage.
Diane Bryant from Intel gave some good insight into supporting a very mobile workforce where all embployees have a notebook computer and they have the goal of having them all have a mobile phone/device when needed too. Their big initiatives are mobility, connectivity and access to info when and where they need it.
Nick from Ford talked about the Sync functionality as a sales driver for their vehicles and things like data center consolidation to increase efficiency.