The European Microsoft Innovation Centre (EMIC), in Aachen, Germany, opened five years ago. Since then, it has created an impressive track record in collaborative applied technology research and product development in several interesting domains. There are indeed many reasons for saying ‘Congratulations EMIC!'
Success in research is serendipity – and as the late Roger Needham, former General Manager of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, UK, described it, “serendipity is looking for a needle in a haystack and finding the farmer's daughter.”
From its foundation, EMIC's goal is to contribute to research programmes of the European Commission and the German government. Today, EMIC is working with some 100 European partners and serving as a bridge between them and Microsoft's world-wide technology development efforts, targeting the creation of advanced technologies which could be in the market within three to six years.
The team of the European Microsoft Innovation Centre (EMIC)
From the outset, EMIC has participated in research projects under the European Commission's Framework Programme 6 and in 2007 EMIC successfully secured a new wave of partnerships within the FP7 research framework: Active, Aragorn, PrimeLife, MyMedia, Consequence, partnering with some of the best researchers, both academic and industrial, from across Europe. EMIC is coordinating the MyMedia and Consequence projects.
Using sponsored external collaboration with academia and industry the European Microsoft Innovation Center creates tangible, innovative assets to enable people and businesses to realise their full potential. EMIC contributes knowledge to the European technology base by participating with universities, research institutes and companies in collaborative research projects. Hence, Microsoft through EMIC learns from European areas of excellence and expertise and transfers the results to society through products and technologies.
EMIC focuses on technology areas where Europe has a leadership position and unique approaches:
Enterprise: service level agreements, dynamic service composition
Mobility: network awareness, service oriented sensor applications and peer-to-peer networks
Home: personalised recommender for multimedia, home networks and services
Security: dynamic authorisation and context-aware rights management Software verification: ensuring software code fulfils its specification
Partly funded by the European Commission, the MyMedia research project is researching solutions that jump beyond traditional recommender systems which are based on a single multimedia source. MyMedia provides recommendations to you that are integrated from many sources. You personalise the system by simply indicating you like a particular video or audio cast and it will find similar content. It will even learn what you like on its own. The more you use it the more it knows your preferences. Personalised recommender technologies have the potential to become the central experience for how users access multimedia content. For more information please visit www.microsoft.com/emic/mymedia.mspx
Consequence (Context-aware data-centric information sharing)
Efficient, fast and seamless data exchange is vital for today's society. But such data exchange should not violate the confidentiality or privacy of either the data owners, or those referred to in it. To deliver a technology that can effectively meet this goal is an important technological as well as societal challenge. The Consequence project – partly funded by the European Commission - will deliver a data-centric information protection framework based on datasharing agreements. The Consequence Framework will help to fill the gap between today's business requirements in the area of controlled data sharing and currently available technology offerings. It will provide technological enforcement of policies that are defined in legally binding data sharing agreements. To do this it will combine technologies for access control with those for digital rights management by applying recent computer science research advances in policy based security (www.microsoft.com/emic/consequence.mspx).