Microsoft is building a touch- and speech-enabled business intelligence tool

Microsoft is building a touch- and speech-enabled business intelligence tool

Summary: Microsoft is turning from incubation to reality a touch- and speech-enabled business intelligence product, currently known as InfoNavigator.


It's no secret Microsoft is looking for ways to bring touch and speech input into more of its products as part of its natural-user-interface (NUI) push. But it's not as well-known how these technologies will manifest in new products from Redmond.


Microsoft's SQL Server Business Intelligence unit does have a concrete plan to bring touch and speech input to a still-unannounced product. That product is known as InfoNavigator.

InfoNavigator, according to a Microsoft job posting for a software development engineer in test, was an incubation project funded by Chairman Bill Gates' office, which is now "transforming into a reality."

Here's how the job posting describes the coming InfoNavigator product:

"Imagine a product that combines the lightning-fast performance of the VertiPaq analytics engine, the amazing data visualizations of PowerView, and the next generation of user experiences powered by natural language, touch and speech to enable a rich information navigation experience that is seamlessly integrated with our customer’s existing enterprise assets."

For those less-than-conversant with Microsoft's business-intelligence (BI) offerings, here's a decoder:

VertiPaq was the name for the SQL Server Analytics Services (SSAS) engine available to PowerPivot, either as part of Excel or Sharepoint 2010, which originally shipped along with SQL Server 2008 R2. VeriPaq was renamed “the xVelocity in-memory analytics engine," or “xVelocity," for short. It's now also referred to as the column store index feature in SQL Server 2012 that was codenamed "Apollo."

Power View is Microsoft's ad-hoc visualization experience in SQL Server Reporting Services. It enables data visualization, as well as collaboration and sharing of insights from that data via SharePoint. (If you really want to know all about Power View, check out this slide deck from my ZDNet colleague Andrew Brust.)

The coming InfoNavigator tool fits in with Microsoft's big-data analysis focus inside the Server and Tools organization, as it (at least in theory) will help users to analyze vast quantities of data, gain business insights from it and consumer these insights using rich visualizations. The job post touts "(W)e are right now in the Golden Age of Microsoft BI."

It's hard to tell how far along work on InfoNavigor is at this point. But the job posting calls for someone to join "a startup team" to help work on "early design and execution of our game-changing V1 release."

Topics: Business Intelligence, Big Data, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • hot air!

    playing catch up with FOSS here folks.
    LlNUX Geek
    • LlNUX Geek...Loverock Davidson said it works like a charm

      Loverock said its a nother victory for Microsoft just Like Surfacce has turned out to be..................
      Over and Out
    • where i can find these magical FOSS solutions?

      i am looking for a fast and flexible BI solution. the cheaper the better so FOSS would fit right in.

      So far i can't find anything that comes even close to SQL Server in terms of price, performance, and versatility. There are solutions that are faster in some limited scenarios and there are cheaper ones that are pain in the ass to deal with.

      I would like something that can be configured and given to the end users who have no Idea about SQL, MDX, dimensions so that they can explore available data on their own by dragging things around the screen.

      So, please don't hold your knowledge to yourself, please share some links here... I'm just afraid that all you can offer is a strong believe that there must be something out there that is free and open and light years ahead of anything pesky MS has ever made.
  • www.Google.MEL7.CoM

    If you think Jesus`s story is flabbergasting..., last month my auntie's boy friend also earned $7591 sitting there ninteen hours a week from their apartment and their friend's aunt`s neighbour did this for 7-months and made over $7591 in there spare time on there pc. apply the steps from this web-site...Above
  • I Wonder Which Speech Team... actually involved in this project.
    Microsoft has been very quiet on the speech front lately.
  • BI needs a refresh

    Very cool, BI has been a long-neglected space and really needs to modernize with respect to user experiences.
    • There is innovation

      Tableau Software has really been innovating UI and visualization in this space.
  • Ther you have it

    The convergence of B Gates vision, MSF R&D & Intel's Haswell tech. There have been announcements about Mercedes Benz and their new MSF comm platform incorporating voice, touch, motion controls which will also be part of future Xbox development and here we have the official announcements. Yes we can say that Microsoft is no longer part of the big 3 and is doomed to fail but if you are in tune with reality then you see the opposite. MSF is #1 and then there is everyone else. All of present Surface action is just that, Surface is just foreplay and delay tactics until Haswell comes into play.