VR Boost from Microsoft Garage in Hyderabad
Microsoft on Monday announced the formal opening of the ‘Microsoft Garage’, an experimentation and incubation hub, in Hyderabad. Addressing the gathering K. Taraka Rama Rao, Minister for IT, Govt of Telangana, who inaugurated The Garage noted,
When Bill Gates and Paul Allen started Microsoft out of a garage in 1975, I don’t think they envisioned that the ‘Garage’ would take this form, and Microsoft would have multiple ‘Garages’ across the world.
The Garage is essentially a resource for Microsoft employees (and interns), that supports experimentation and encourages problem-solving in new and innovative ways to ultimately fulfill the company’s mission of empowering people and organizations to achieve more.
The Garage at the Microsoft India Development Center in Hyderabad is the eighth of its kind and the second largest in the world. The largest is at Microsoft’s Headquarters in Redmond.
The need for The Garage?
Microsoft is a leading platform and productivity company for the ‘mobile-first, cloud first’ world. The company set up its India operations in 1990 and has over 8,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research and development, and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities.
The company dominated the personal computing era in the 1990s and had a monopoly. However, it was unable to cash in on the mobile wave, even as companies like Apple and Google tasted success.
The latest tech-war is on Artificial Intelligence, virtual reality, and mixed reality, and there is no clear winner yet.
Jeff Ramos, Partner Director, Microsoft Garage, noted that this a way to help Microsoft in the democratization of innovation. He noted that Microsoft believes in enabling its employees to utilize their knowledge, capabilities and innovative acumen to build solutions for the rapidly-changing technology landscape. He said,
The Microsoft Garage serves as a hub to engage our workforce, with facilities and programmes optimised for hacking, ideation, and collaboration. Microsoft Garage’s engagement with the innovation ecosystems in our GDC locations helps create the right kind of partnerships to accelerate experimentation and innovation in the local context.
Reena Dayal, Director, The Garage, Microsoft India, noted that because of the company’s flexible hours, employees were free to work on their projects anytime they wished, as long as they were getting their core work done.
With the help of a Venn diagram, she explained how this was the employees, ecosystems, and experiments coming together. The Garage has been operating at the Hyderabad center informally for several months, and Reena described how it had leveraged learnings from the other Microsoft Garages across the world.
Jeff noted he was happy to see the kind of innovation and projects arising out of India, and how Microsoft takes team members of successful projects to meet with Managers and even CEO Satya Nadella at its headquarters in Redmond.
Microsoft noted that the Hyderabad Garage, which is spread over 8000 sq ft, has been equipped with state of the art and modern facilities to support teams from across the company for various projects. It has three dedicated lab sections
-A Hub for hackathons and workshops,
-Makerspace and Advanced Makerspace with electronic Workbench, 30 Printers, Laser Cutter, PCB milling machine for creating prototypes;
-A Reality Room dedicated to working in the space of Augmented Reality (AR) Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality applications and dedicated space and equipment for doing work on Deep Learning.