Sramana Mitra: What are the white spaces right now?
Paul Zolfaghari: In terms of what I think people are looking for in the market that nobody is really working on, I think you’re going to see a more pronounced interaction between gesture and gesture-based interfaces and the ability to interact with analytics and analytics benchmark. I think it’s not that far down the road before you’re going to see gesture-based technologies in the way people are interacting with their proprietary environment. Is that a white space? I don’t know. Maybe somebody’s working on it.
Sramana Mitra: It’s a slightly more open question on whatever has caught your eye. When I ask this question, I get all sorts of interesting perspectives because everybody is looking at a different view of the world. Each one of us has a different vantage point. We are talking to different people. We are exposed to different technologies and we come from different backgrounds. So, how people assimilate all that and look at the innovation opportunities in the world is a very interesting viewpoint.
Paul Zolfaghari: I think what you’re going to see is a very prominent interest and desire in creating less technical and less complex ways of interacting with data – natural language, gestures, point, and touch. The manipulation of data almost like the way you manipulate an iPad or like manipulating a laptop screen to move data in and around. White space would be to make sure that the ability to interact and consume data is dramatically improved by making it more consistent with the way people interact with other devices in their life today. What do people do today? They turn dials, poke at a screen, and talk.
Sramana Mitra: Ask a natural language question and then get some data-enabled answer. That doesn’t really exist today yet.
Paul Zolfaghari: I would say if you were looking for white spaces and innovative and not out there, I’d probably point you to the ability to create mechanisms that access data that more closely resembles the way we interact with the rest of our world which is by speech, touch, and gesture. You go into a public toilet, you wave your hand and that’s how it flushes the toilet. I just think that if you think about that and that technology and if you think about accessing and interacting with data that way, that would be a substantial step forward and a trend that’s maybe white space but would be very revolutionary if it took place.
Sramana Mitra: Your pointer is in the domain of user interfaces and user experience.
Paul Zolfaghari: I think so. There’re a couple of challenges with data and data becoming ubiquitous. You have to collect the data. You have to build the access to data. There have been substantial advancements in that area in the last four to five years. I think what’s going to make data ubiquitous and a part of everybody’s everyday lives is the ability to interact with it as easy as you interact with your alarm clock and household appliance.
What’s the real world? Sit at a desktop and speak in English or whatever your language is and something gets manipulated and you say, “No, I don’t want that. I was actually looking for Wyoming data.” Up comes the Wyoming data. I think that one thing you’ll see advancement in is data becoming as easy to interact with or more consistent with the way we interact with other devices in our lives. I think you’ll see a substantial uptake in its importance and involvement.