This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with leading professionals. In this series of blogs, I have an exclusive interview with Barb Bowman. Barb is an internationally acknowledged home networking and device authority; Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) – Windows Networking and Windows XP Media Center.
“Technology enhances the quality of life through the ability to share, store and access data, and in particular in how it allows us to communicate with friends and family.”
Technology-savvy baby boomer Barb Bowman was one of the first people to become an expert in wireless technologies. Her job with a national cable company allows her to stay on top of the latest technologies in the broadband industry and as a consumer of varied technologies, she subscribes to RSS feeds that keep her tuned in and on top of developments in multiple fields. She shares her expertise voluntarily for two to three hours daily online. She advises consumers and industry experts on Windows® networking and Windows XP Media Center.
She provides insight into connected home technologies, devices and products on blogs, in articles published on the Microsoft Corp. Web site and in Microsoft® chat rooms. In addition to having participated in beta testing Windows Vista™, Bowman presents webcasts on the Windows Vista hardware ecosystem on the Windows Vista community site, as a companion piece building on a Windows Vista Community Column.
Bowman recognizes that her involvement with the international technical community will prove to be valuable in the future. She gained insight into what’s next in wireless trends at the 2007 Microsoft MVP Global Summit and she is already planning for the next products she can beta test.
Opening Comment: Barb, you are well known internationally for making continuing and many significant contributions to the industry and profession over a sustained career of considerable achievement. Your schedule is particularly tight due to the high demand for your widely acknowledged elite expertise. We thank you for taking the time to share your talent, deep insights, and experiences with our audience.
Barb: My pleasure. Our connected world has certainly changed rapidly, especially in the past 5 years. Staying on top of emerging technology in the WiFi Connected Home space has been both exciting and rewarding.
Stephen: From the more than 3500 ICT professionals worldwide nominated and selected for their outstanding technology/community contributions as Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals (MVPs) from 90+ countries and in more than 90 technologies, five MVPs were specially chosen to be profiled with Chairman Gates, VP Kaplan, and GM O’Driscoll in the MVP virtual pressroom, for the invitation-only 2007 MVP Global Summit in March 2007 (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/events/mvpsummit/default.mspx). You are quite unique amongst this group of five. Congratulations on this honour!
Barb: Thanks. My vision is a broad one of technology transparently and seamlessly enabling consumers to communicate, share, and enjoy the benefits of a networked world in a safe and secure connected environment. Starting with the basic wired/wireless home network is only the beginning. Keeping it safe and secure is something the industry has only just begun to address in the residential space and I am hopeful that my knowledge and evangelism (directed at the manufacturers of residential networking hardware) in this arena has had an impact. With a secure and safe home network, adding computers and consumer electronics components, gaming consoles, televisions, digital picture frames, wireless media players and many other devices has allowed me to enjoy cross competencies within Microsoft’s MVP program and no doubt was the reason I was selected. In a sense, I’ve established relationships within Microsoft groups on both the hardware partner side and of course the end user side. I’ve been fortunate to have been involved in the pre-release cycles of some pretty exciting hardware and software for several years.
Stephen: How did you originally get involved in technology?
Barb: As a young 5th grader I started becoming interested in math, science, and technology. My parents saw to it that I had science kits and challenges. I’m sure that my upbringing and environment contributed greatly. My father owned a radio station and I was interested in some of the engineering aspects.
After college, I spent some time working for a winter recreation/engineering consulting company. The president of the company ordered an IBM “Mag Card” typewriter and I became interested in the technology. I ended up sitting down with some folks from IBM and working out some advanced ideas. Also I became involved with one of the first trials of fax machines (the old cylindrical slow equipment).
Fast forward to a 13+ year career in a design related industry where I was partially responsible for getting the US and UK wallpaper industry to adopt fax technology as well as the Customs Brokers and U.S. Customs office in Boston. Fast forward to the mid-80’s when I bought my first computer and was immediately hooked.