What We’re Most Thankful for

In the U.S., November is a time that many of us take pause to consider what we are most thankful for throughout the year. The past year has been an important one for SMART, and we are grateful.

I’m personally thankful to be a part of SMART during these transformational times. SMART has been making interactive, collaborative solutions for nearly 30 years. When the company first started, the world was a very different place. It was dominated by paper, pencils, pens, chalkboards, flip charts, Post-It Notes – all used to gather ideas, organize thoughts. The very notion of remote work, flexible work, or collaborating with a teammate or fellow student on the other side of the world – at the same time – was either too complicated or downright unimaginable. I visited Epcot when I was 10 where one of the technologies of the future was the equivalent of what Skype is today. It blew our minds to think we could use our TVs to see and hear friends and family around the world. And the mobile phone didn’t even enter the Imagineers’ imaginations!

Looking around the world, classrooms, meeting rooms, board rooms, and home offices have become a thing of marvel. People work from beaches in Thailand, from open floorplans where hot-desking has become the norm, 33,000 feet in the air, or in a nearby coffee shop. The very nature of where and how we work is changing before our eyes. Work isn’t based on where we are, it’s based on what we can do. Technology has made this possible, and for this, I’m also thankful.

The technology we use in schools, at home and for work is remarkable: the Internet, smartphones, video conferencing and tablets. Our expectations of our technology – how it performs, its speed, its features – shifts in the blink of an eye. The connectivity and speed are jaw dropping. What once amazed us from a technology standpoint has morphed into the expected. When it doesn’t work, what once amazed us now annoys us. And what’s possible now is both endless and inspiring. Gone are the days of wires and analog communications. Here to stay is the mobile and digital age.

As I look back, I realize we shipped the first SMART Board in the early 1990s. Now, there are more three million SMART displays installed in businesses and schools around the world with tremendous potential ahead. We’re thrilled to be a part of people’s ease in collaborating and connecting with each other. We love that there are millions of children who have grown up with SMART Boards in their classrooms. I love how peoples’ eyes light up when I tell them I work at company that created the SMART Board.

The very fact that we’ve been a part of this changing world – and helping to change how technology works for the better for all of us – is something our entire team is honored to be a part of. We’re thrilled each time someone installs and uses our solutions to help them collaborate, innovate and create amazing things. It’s something we can’t wait to keep pushing, exploring, and discovering along with you, our customers.

And so this November, I’d like to say thank you to all of you – our customers, partners, employees and other stakeholders – everyone who has been on this journey with us. Thank you for your feedback, your support and for helping SMART create collaborative tools that work and learn in ways that are natural and intuitive to you. We wouldn’t be here without you.

Warren Barkley
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About Warren Barkley

Warren Barkley is SMART's Chief Technology Officer. He brings over 19 years of technology experience and leadership. Over the last two years at SMART he has built a world class technology team, created a new product category with SMART kapp, and award winning education SAAS SMART amp. Prior to his current role, he served as General Manager in the Microsoft Lync/Skype division. Barkley held several key positions in Microsoft over his tenure and was instrumental in the development of Microsoft Lync as the communication and collaboration software of choice for Fortune 500 companies. At Microsoft he also played a central role in establishing WiFi as a worldwide standard. Barkley holds over 60 worldwide patents in networking, wireless and communications. Mr. Barkley has degrees from University of British Columbia and University of Victoria. Before his technology career Warren was a teacher and musician.