The next generation of technology users will utilize touch, gesture and speech more than QWERTY and left clicks.
This new era of human and computer interaction is called Natural User Interface (NUI) and it's already moved beyond the realm of daydreams and the Starship Enterprise Flight Deck.
The speech component of NUI is being evolved by the Microsoft Tellme team. While experts at Microsoft offices in Beijing, Redmond and Silicon Valley are all working together seamlessly on this major project, the heart and soul of Tellme is at Microsoft Silicon Valley (MSV).
Tellme was originally developed in the Valley. Larry Heck, the Chief Scientist at MSV says, "Microsoft has done an excellent job of preserving Tellme's ambitious startup mentality, while building a world-class team around it."
Of the three components of NUI, speech is the most adaptable to a variety of products and devices. The Tellme team's innovations will go into a broad range of key Microsoft products from Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) to this fall's Xbox Kinect update to Bing Mobile iPhone/iPad apps to the future of Bing search across devices.
Tellme General Manager Zig Serafin explains, "We give people the ability to use their natural voice to help them get things done - whether in business, finding flight information or simply choosing a movie. But it will not be voice by itself. The magic comes from the combination of voice, touch and gesture; much like normal human communication."
Heck continues, "Speech has arrived. And Microsoft is really behind it. Steve Ballmer even singled it out at this year's Company Meeting. We have really accelerated efforts and investment in a way not done before."
The fact that much of Tellme's essential work is driven at MSV gives the team a unique culture and helps them to keep an eye on developments in NUI and the tech industry.
Serafin argues "We are able to attract diverse talent with fantastic tech backgrounds in the Valley. This helps create great team chemistry and sets us up for many new breakthroughs. Our culture also makes for a dynamic and aspirational environment."
Heck agrees, "Living and working in the Valley, I have a lot of friends, neighbors and associates who work at Google, Apple and the other companies that are making a big push in speech. Being part of Silicon Valley culture keeps us on our toes and very aware of what else is happening in the industry."
Next year, Tellme will be combining offices with the Bing team in Silicon Valley. This cohabitation is bound to create amazing inspiration for future innovations.
Serafin puts it like this. "Bottom line: we are on the forefront of some of the most important technology in NUI, spanning the Cloud, interconnected devices and more. This is clearly going to have a HUGE impact for people over the coming years."