Charles Schwab on Surface at IMPACT 2010

conference applicationIn Boston this week, Charles Schwab is making an IMPACT. Their annual conference is an opportunity for Schwab clients and partners to get the latest in techniques and technologies to help them keep ahead of an ever-changing curve. This year, Schwab will be using Microsoft Surface and applications created by our Microsoft Surface strategic partner Infusion to both inform attendees about the conference and showcase Schwab’s new report generation tool.

We recently chatted with Tim Heier, Charles Schwab vice president of Enterprise Architecture, about how Surface is being used at IMPACT.

Why did you choose to utilize Surface? What experience were you trying to achieve?

[Tim Heier] We wanted to change the interaction model explore new ways for our clients to see and work with financial data. Microsoft Surface provides an interface that draws users into the content and makes their data the interface. The environment is highly interactive and "what if…" scenarios are easily explored when users can see and interact with data.

Can you give us a brief summary of the applications you are using and the need they meet in your organization?

[Tim Heier] Surface is being used at our annual IMPACT® conference for independent investment advisors; two applications, developed by Infusion, were built for this event, taking place in Boston this week. The first is what we're calling our "conference application" that contains up-to-date information about the conference sessions, marketing content, conference photos and a real-time Twitter feed about the conference. It's a highly interactive application inviting users to explore maps of the surrounding area, flip through conference photos, read the latest conference news, etc. The second application is a touch-based simulation of our new report generation tool, something truly innovative which uses the interactivity of Surface to showcase how clients can dynamically build financial reports in our PortfolioCenter® portfolio management software. Users interact with a highly graphical report building tool, using touch and gestures to build complex reports quickly. It's a very engaging experience and one we hope draws attention to the new PortfolioCenter release!

Have you seen any positive business results come from your Surface deployment?

[Tim Heier] Our work with Surface is still in the early stages and we have not yet made it broadly available to clients. The applications we developed for IMPACT will enable us to gain feedback from our clients about possible future projects.

What types of reactions have you seen to customers using Surface?

[Tim Heier] The immediate response is fascination. I have seen users instantly engage and dive into the experience. Surface is a relatively new platform to us and one that many people have not seen but once they get their hands on it (literally), they really enjoy exploring it.

Thank you Tim for sharing your experiences with us!
    - Eric (follow Surface on Twitter and Facebook)

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