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Focus Please

May 7, 2008
HP Labs realigns research agenda to more quickly drive breakthrough technology to customers.

Fewer projects with greater focus. That's the new direction at HP's advanced research group, HP Labs. The company says the goal of the research group's new approach is to "balance exploratory research with an entrepreneurial approach" so breakthrough technology can be transferred more quickly into commercial applications for customers.

The new HP Labs consists of 23 labs across seven worldwide locations, led by Prith Banerjee. The research group will pursue 20 to 30 large research projects rather than the 150 smaller projects it had in the past. "In the past, HP Labs took the approach of 'let 1,000 flowers bloom'," Banerjee says on the HP Web site. "The trouble with that approach is that not enough resources were allocated to any particular research area." Open innovation will play a greater role as well, as input from universities, partners, customers and venture capitalists gains greater significance.

A review board composed of HP technologists and business executives will provide guidance to lab researchers, identifying the most promising discoveries to turn into commercials offerings and building business plans early in the research lifecycles.

HP Labs director Prith Banerjee outlines the new blueprint for corporate R&D.Initially, HP Labs' refocused research will address five areas:
  • Information explosion: Acquiring, analyzing and delivering the right information to individuals and businesses so they can act on it.
  • Dynamic cloud services: Developing web platforms and cloud services that are dynamically personalized based on an individual's location, preferences, calendar and communities.
  • Content transformation: Enabling the fluid transformation of content from analog to digital, from device to device, and from digital content to physical products.
    Intelligent infrastructure: Designing smarter, more secure devices, networks and scalable architectures that work together to connect individuals and businesses to rich, dynamic content and services.
  • Sustainability: Creating technologies, IT infrastructure and new business models for the lower carbon economy.

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