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Partner Makes the Right Moves with Kinect for Windows

Every partner is feeling that nudge, perhaps even a shove -- the push to diversify business models and add revenue streams to adjust to the new realities of IT service delivery. There are valuable lessons to be learned from those partners that are already making the right moves.

InfoStrat, a triple gold competency development Microsoft partner headquartered in Washington, D.C., has a long and successful history of providing custom development services to government and commercial customers. Following the course of many development shops, InfoStrat expanded the practice, building on the SharePoint and CRM platforms and solution accelerators like Grant Manager.

Kinect for Windows became a logical progression for InfoStrat's next-generation business model after working on projects that incorporated the natural user interface technologies of the original tabletop Surface.

Crossing the line between pure project-based work to speculative application development work, InfoStrat's Advanced Technology Group focuses on new technology to improve enterprise collaboration, immersive video conferencing and data visualization. "We take emerging technologies like Kinect and apply those to real world situations," explained Josh Wall, director of the Advanced Technology Group. "We are not doing R&D work that is 10 years out. While we are doing cutting-edge work, we are thinking about how this is really going to work in the enterprise."

Practical Application of Emerging Technology
Active involvement in the Kinect development community helped InfoStrat build its status as an expert and open doors with Microsoft. Joshua Blake, InfoStrat senior consultant, earned Kinect MVP status through his commitment to sharing knowledge, including founding the OpenKinect developer resource community. But while much of the community was focused on building one-offs or hacks, the InfoStrat team stayed focused on how Kinect would fit into the enterprise.

"When a CIO says, 'Talk to us about Kinect in the enterprise,' we need to show them something that applies," Wall said. "It's about how Kinect will fit into your bigger ecosystem. There is more than just the desktop or laptop experience. You have a bigger range of devices open to you now."

In 2011, the InfoStrat team was invited to demo a voice- and touch-activated data visualization application at the Microsoft CIO Summit. Projects and additional demo invitations have followed, further establishing InfoStrat's leadership in natural interface system design.

Building on Momentum
In addition to the project work emerging from its efforts, InfoStrat has released a number of products based on Kinect technologies. Remotion 360 is an application using Kinect to measure and provide on-screen feedback for a range of motion exercises to support remote physical rehabilitation analysis. The PointStreamer 3-D video application uses Kinect technology to capture, edit and share 3-D videos that allow the viewer to change perspective for any moment in time.

The InfoStrat Advanced Technology Team continues to look for the opportunities to use Kinect to solve enterprise challenges. The team's sights are currently set on the less-than-ideal interactive experience of today's remote meetings. "We are working to build an immersive collaboration experience that creates a feeling that you are face-to-face," Wall explained. "Our vision is that we create an experience that is better than being there in person."

Thinking Past the Current Project
InfoStrat is defining a strong foundation for the future by taking its expertise and applying it beyond a current project. It has done the hard work to build a reputation as experts and -- perhaps most importantly -- always keeps its focus on real-world uses for the solutions that the company envisions. 

One interesting element of the InfoStrat story is that this is not a vertical strategy. The common directive that all partners must go vertical to find their place in the future is far too simplified. Good execution based on realistic application to a market need is a formula for success.   

Are there projects that you are working on today that could mean more to your business? It's easy to get wrapped up in the work and avoid that proactive push to a new business model. Think past the current project and make the work mean even more.

How are you thinking forward? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share your story.

Posted by Barb Levisay on February 21, 2013 at 11:58 AM


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