ARCast.TV - CERA Smile...

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    ARCast.TV - CERA smile...

    Announcer: It's Wednesday, June 20, 2007 and you are watching ARCast TV.
    Ron Jacobs: Hey, have you ever heard anybody say, "Oh, I know! Let's create a website! That's what the world needs. Just one more website." You know, I'm telling you, if I see another website I think I'm going to scream.

    Everybody's making a website about something or other. There are lots of opinions out there. There's lots of information, probably more than you will ever need. In fact, many people are making websites and nobody is looking, nobody is reading it.

    But what if you had some information that it was vital for your purpose and for the requirements of your project that people get this information and not only that they get it but also that they act on it? Is there a way that you could develop an architecture that is more about proactively, aggressively getting information out there to people who need it and who need to act on it?

    Well that's really the point of what we are going to talk about today with this very interesting architecture reference we call CERA.

    Hey, welcome back to ARCast. This is your host Ron Jacobs and today I am joined by Dennis Schmuland and Moin Moinuddin. Did I say that right Moin?
    Moin Moinuddin: You said it pretty well. You're improving!
    Ron: Yay! I ought to know Moin because we're wearing the same shirt. We are actually on the Architecture Strategy Team here at Microsoft.

    Dennis, tell me about yourself. What do you do?
    Dennis Schmuland: Yeah, I am the Industry Solutions Director for the health insurance industry at Microsoft. So our focus is really to provide the solutions and the architecture for the top insurance plans in the US. That would be like Aetna and CIGNA, HealthCare, WellPoint and all the Blues plans.
    Ron: OK, so you have some experience in the medical field. You are an M.D.
    Dennis: That's right.
    Ron: OK, so I've got to ask. How does a doctor find their way into Microsoft? How did that happen for you?
    Dennis: well, I have always had a passion to connect people and information together to make better decisions. In healthcare that is where the need is the greatest. I practiced medicine for 13 years. Then I did a startup company, which interconnected doctors and hospitals and health plans called Pointshare. After five years in that I sold that company to Siemens and then joined Microsoft.

    It was at Microsoft where I realized that we really didn't have much of a focus in the health insurance industry and really needed to make up for lost time. So I took on that book of business for Microsoft.
    Ron: Oh, OK. So guys, we are here to talk today about this project on which you have been collaborating that is affectionately known as CERA. [laughs] So Dennis, what does CERA stand for?
    Dennis: CERA stands for the Consumer Engagement Reference Architecture.
    Ron: Oh, OK. All right. So it's pretty generic. That could mean anything, right? But we are talking about something that is specifically focused in the area of health care and how you guys engage consumers in healthcare, not just choosing a doctor but really more in the context of insurance, right?
    Dennis: Sure. Sure. And it might include choosing a doctor as well. But it might also be making a decision about what type of care is most appropriate or what type of procedure and where that procedure might or should be done.
    Ron: OK, so let's think about the context of this problem here for a minute. You know, I think most big companies have some kind of healthcare portal page you can go to. At least maybe it tells you about your insurance plan or something like that. I know we have one at Microsoft.

    Why do companies even bother with this? I mean do people even look at those?
    Dennis: To some extent, but the adoption and uptake, Ron, is really quite low. I think overall about 40 percent of people even go on the website maybe once a year and use that member portal.

    But from industry perspective, let's talk about the higher-level issues, the business issues.
    Ron: OK.
    Dennis: I think health plans are really under enormous pressure to reduce the cost of care, to improve the quality of health care and improve the customer experience. One of the best ways that health plans can really have an impact on reducing costs is actually enabling consumers to take better care of themselves and to self manage their own conditions, to improve their health habits and to make what we call value-based decisions.

    Like you were referring to, "Which doctor do I go see? What's the quality rating of this physician? Is this the right procedure even though it is being recommended? Is that really the best thing? Or is it better for me to self manage my condition or wait it out?" Oftentimes that's the case.

    So empowering consumers to understand and make those decisions turns out to be one of the single most impactful ways health plans can really help control the rising cost in health care.
    Ron: You know, that's pretty interesting isn't it because I think the traditional view has been like, "You don't know what you need. I'm the doctor. I'll tell you what you need and you are just going to get what you get."


    And we just go, "OK. The doctor said this is what I should do."
    Dennis: That's right.
    Ron: So now we are kind of saying well maybe people ought to know more themselves.
    Dennis: Yeah, yeah, that's right. And even like in the case that you talked about with respect to portals, we've been kind of passive about that, expecting the consumers would really log onto those portals. But, really, health plans have realized that they have got to apply new incentives to encourage consumers to use some of the tools and the information, the insights and the guidance that they are putting on those portals.

    So what's CERA really is going to do is enable health plans to now go where consumers go and intermingle the trusted guidance, the information, those tools to help consumers make better decisions and self manage their conditions and weave those tools and insights into the consumers' digital lifestyle.
    Ron: You know, I think across the world everybody's recognizing that there is this crisis in health care, right? The costs are rising at this dramatic rate and companies are saying, "Wow, you know, we can't keep upping this bill every year like we are doing, you know. We just can't keep it up."

    I imagine this has put a lot of pressure on the healthcare insurance providers to find a better way just to make sure that they can be competitive. Is that the business driver that is pushing them this way?
    Dennis: That's very insightful. Right. The rising cost of medical care are really rooted in two things. One is the demographics of our society. We are all maturing.
    Ron: OK.

    Ron: That's a nice way to say we are getting old. OK, yeah.
    Dennis: And a growing average age of the population raises the prevalence of chronic diseases. So it's chronic diseases like diabetes, like congestive heart failure, like being overweight, like having asthma and other conditions like that, even depression is considered a chronic disease in mental illness or mental health problems.

    So that's a significant contributor. But also health behaviors, in addition to the demographics, health behaviors really account for a lot of that rise in disease prevalence. It's our unhealthy behaviors like not going to see the doctor and getting the surveillance test that we need, not taking the medications as prescribed because a lot of times patients hardly take their medications half the time. It's not getting the right amount of exercise. It's not getting your five servings of vegetables a day. It's smoking. It's misusing alcohol.

    Those unhealthy behaviors contribute significantly to the rising prevalence or percentage of chronic disease. And chronic disease accounts for 75 percent of what we spend in healthcare.
    Ron: Wow!
    Dennis: So if you can attack the root cause - you know we can't do much about the demographics and the aging population, but we can do a significant amount in enabling consumers to take better care of themselves, self manage their conditions and to be much more informed consumers about their choices.

    That seems to be the opportunity to really contain health-care costs.
    Ron: You know, that's really interesting because I think your average person they say, "Well, you know, I do what I do. I get sick and I go see a doctor. They give me a pill that makes it all better."

    You know, like you said, there are conditions that you get into because of the choices you make - your lifestyle and your health choices - that are going to cost the company a lot of money. You know, it cost that insurer a lot of money. It's going to make your life lousy as well, right? So I mean everybody wins if you could get the people to make more responsible health decisions about themselves.
    Dennis: Yeah, and it's not just the impact of the bottom line for the company now. Increasingly, it's the consumer. Because most people are now realizing that we may actually outlive our health benefits.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Dennis: So who knows how long Medicare is going to last and how much of the benefit is going to provide. Most experts believe that it's going to come short and consumers are going to have to begin to bridge that gap and that gaps can become increasingly large. So, it really adds some new incentive for consumers to really improve on health habits because whatever they do now to self-manage their conditions, improve their health habits, it's actually going to reduce the cost of care throughout their lifetime.
    Ron: You know, it's... I can just hear all the people in other countries; this is a world-wide audience broadcast.
    Dennis: Absolutely, yup.
    Ron: They are laughing about, "Oh yeah, well, in our country, we're covered."

    Ron: But in the US of A, I don't think so. You know, it's funny when you think about, I was just thinking how right now there's a kind of rising consciousness about taking care of the planet. You know, where people are concerned about global warming, green house gases, you know, toxic wastes, or like, they're going to take care of those kind and yet the same people might be kind of trashing their body day-in or day-out. Don't think they are two things about it.

    Dennis: Yeah.
    Ron: But it's still something that we have to take care of. Or we pay the price.
    Moin: We pay the price, absolutely.
    Dennis: And really, this is a problem that is a world-wide issue. We may be a few years ahead of other countries but other countries are finding the same issue, and that is, the consumption or rise in medical costs is outpacing their GDP by two to three percent every year, which means there's less and less funds to invest to become and maintain competitiveness on a world-wide basis. So, we're all on the same train or boat, I think, if you think about it.
    Ron: OK. OK. So, if I were to state it then, really the business driver behind this is the need to control costs by convincing the end-consumers of this healthcare plans to do the right thing in terms of taking care of themselves and in better engaging with their medical providers and following up on the care that's been recommended for them, whatever it is. And to do that, you got to get information out there. But not just out there but actually, in their brain.
    Dennis: And you might even say, Ron, that it's not just turning information into action but it's turning intent to results. You may intend to make a change in your health habits but how can the health insurance companies now provide you with tools to help you self-manage and take charge of those, those behaviors and make day-by-day changes that are into direction of better health.
    Ron: Well, you know, I have to say that, you know, my own personal story, a lot of people may not know this, but three years ago, I took advantage of the program that Microsoft offered here to in place, to lose some weight because, you know, being overweight is one of the key indicators of hypertension and then, diabetes and all kinds of problems like that. And so, let's just say, I was a few pounds over.


    And, so, I took advantage of a program that Microsoft provided in place was able to engage in that, and lost 50 pounds, got myself in it.
    Dennis: That's fantastic.
    Ron: I'm not, you know, as light as I should be but a heck better than I was. That's right [laughs]. And so, so, you know, but I saw this was the case where I had to take that intent. Like I always thought, you know, gee, I should probably lose some weight but I don't know what to do, how to do it, you know.

    So they had actually a trainer that taught me to exercise, a dietitian that taught me the right way to eat. And, you know, I just kind of have to put this changes in place and I'm quite sure that it paid of from Microsoft in the end. And that, I'm much more healthy than I was and the health habits that I developed from this, mean is, most likely in the long term that I'm in it. Be a very expensive chronic illness for them.
    Dennis: That's right. I think you described one of those important elements in helping consumers change their behavior, and that is the involvement of the coach of some sort. So your experience had to do with lifestyle changes.

    Other coaching interactions involved people that already have chronic disease like diabetes or congestive heart failure and teaching them how to monitor their condition on a daily basis and look out for signals that might indicate that they need to be treated or make some adjustments and learning basically how to keep themselves out of trouble; how to keep themselves ending up in the emergency room or the hospital.

    But that really is at the root of, one of things that CERA addresses, and that is, this health management programs or this lifestyle management programs or care management programs if their for chronic diseases are not very scalable.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Dennis: They are very labor intense because, you had a coach here, that experience worked. Somebody was always there.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Dennis: And that's actually what made it work. You had somebody you trusted, there was an esprit d'corps there, encouragement, and yet it was almost all analog. It was all face-to-face or interactive, may be some phone calls, but a lot of it was showing up and being there, both of you together.
    Ron: Yeah. One-to-one.
    Dennis: And that's not very scalable. We have the same problem, for a lot of these people with chronic diseases, where we have care management staff that are on the phones in some corporate headquarters, talking to people in their homes by the phone.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Dennis: And that's not very scalable. So CERA, really, enables health plans to be into scale and extend those coaching programs into the home, into the different channels that are much more familiar to the consumer, and what's much more natural to the consumer. So it could be, in the home environment, certainly, could be on the home PC and interacting through that via email or instant messaging; but you can think about other media like entertainment, and their Xbox and even their digital device, or their phone...
    Ron: ... or maybe even a podcast!

    Dennis: There you go. So you carry it on your Zune, and listen to it and...
    Moin: Watch it.
    Dennis: ... or watch it. Absolutely.
    Ron: OK. I love talking about this health stuff. I'm really a big, big believer in healthy lifestyles, but that's not the point of ARCast. So let's shift gears a little bit and talk a little bit about the business context and some of the drivers - key drivers here.

    So, Moin, a lot of people would say, "Oh, look. Developing a portal, that's a no-brainer. You can do that in any language, technical environment you want." Slap... We've been slapping our portals for a long time now.
    Moin: Yes.
    Ron: You've developed the CERA Reference Architecture, as a guide. How do you use Office business applications in this kind of context? Tell me a little bit more about that.
    Moin: So as Dennis, very, very elegantly described, the challenge is to really engage with the consumer. What we are focused on is the collaboration aspect. How do we develop? I don't want to limit to a portal, because portal kind of puts boundaries around and people envision it just one screen. This is much beyond that. How do you create something, where people can collaborate? Consumers can collaborate with coach, yet that solution scales, because the key thing is to scale.

    What we have done is - there are two aspects to it. One, for the coach or the backend part of it, Office Business Application platform, we have used that to develop:

    A) a coaching portal, I do want to say, where coaches can sign up and maintain and collaborate with their members. We call them members, the consumers. Then not only that. That particular application also integrates with backend applications such as -- they may have a lab results application, they may have insurance claims application, or billing, what ever the third party applications maybe.

    Because of Office's ability to surface data from backend applications, we could pull data in and provide one view to the coach. That's number one.

    Second is on the consumer side, consumers need collaboration with the coach. So, when you use Office platform, one of the key elements of Office platform is, "collaboration and communication", or "communication and collaboration". That's a key capability that is brought in by Office. So they can use instant messaging, email. They can use their mobile devices. They can use their media centers. All of those aspects, and yet have the same experience when talking to the coach. Right?

    What we've done is, we've used something called WSA - WindowsLive Service Agents. These are automated bots, that a member, when he is in his portal, can log in and say, "Hey! Just click on the bot." Bot starts talking to the member and says, "Hello Ron." If you log in, it knows who you are.
    Ron: OK.
    Moin: It says "How are you?" And you say, "I'm doing good. I need to log my daily activity." That could be number of steps I walked, number of meters I've swam, whatever it may be.
    Ron: Yeah.
    Moin: Then it says, "OK, I've recorded your information." Then you say, "I have more questions." If it can answer, it will answer it, or it will forward that conversation to the coach, and coach can take up and complete the conversation.
    Ron: Wow. You know, that's pretty interesting. In fact, it makes me wonder if in a similar situation, different context -- a lot of times when you need product support on something, a lot of companies now direct you to a chat, and a chat environment. It comes on and it says, "Hi, I'm so and so. I'll be assisting you today. What's your problem?" You type it in. It goes, "We're so sorry you're having this problem. We're looking, working out a solution for you."

    I had always assumed I was chatting with a real person, but chances are that maybe at least part of that conversation, I was chatting with a bot agent.
    Moin: So, it is a bot agent. In fact, Microsoft has bought this company called, I think, Colloquis. It's now part of Windows Live Platform. It comes with integration with SDK and all of that. The good thing is it uses an NLP, as opposed to a simple Q&A. It uses natural language processing. So, you could ask the same question 20 different ways. It knows how to interpret it, it knows how to answer.

    So what it does is one of the key things is scalability. With the user bot, the simple questions, the simple activity loggings, those things can be done by a bot. It doesn't require a live coach to sit there and handle that.

    If there is actually a good question the bot cannot handle, then it escalates the contextual conversation into the coach, and then the coach can take up and finish that conversation.
    Ron: Well, that's a fantastic idea because, yeah, anybody who's ever worked in product support -- I did this once years ago -- you know that you get the same questions over, and over, and over again. So, if you could have a bot that could recognize that question, and give you a nice answer and maybe a link to, "Here's a whole bunch more information about that," then that way it's kind of like you said, it's actively engaging.

    So, a web page is kind of passive. It's like it's there if somebody might happen to find it in search the right way. But this way we're kind of actively engaging them.
    Dennis: The great thing about the bot is it really has a human element to it. It's conversational.
    Moin: Exactly right.
    Dennis: It is much more personal. You can think of it as an extension of your coach. We think that the fact that you could... that the consumer could initiate a conversation with a bot, or a bot could initiate a conversation politely with the consumer is very powerful, and a great way to scale those people driven processes in coaching that are otherwise not very scalable.
    Ron: So a bot initiating a conversation is another fascinating one, right? Because you'd probably do that over email. But let's imagine that I have a chronic condition, and my doctor says, "Look. Weekly, you've got to do X, Y, and Z."

    A coach might think, "Whoa, I've got to remember to check with Ron next Friday to make sure he did that." That's very time intensive, but we could just schedule a bot to send me an email. "Hey, Ron. How's it going? Hope your things are doing well. Have you done X, Y, and Z. Click here if you want to chat about this, or tell me the results."
    Moin: We actually want to go a step further. What it the bot does is it sees that you're online. Then it starts the conversation, and says, "Hi, Ron. How are you today? Have you taken your pills, or have you done your exercises?" So you think that the coach is talking to you, but it's the bot that's starting the conversation.
    Ron: So, it could be a nag bot.
    Moin: Exactly.
    Ron: It's going to nag me into...
    Dennis: We prefer to call it nudges.
    Ron: I love that idea, though, because it's encouraging me to do the things that I ought to be doing, and it's doing it in a way that doesn't max out a human resource very quickly. I know that when I was doing - I'm remembering my days in product support -- I was in a premiere support role, where I was a dedicated resource for a small number of companies. The ideas was it would be very high touch. It would be proactively managing their support cases, and so I'd be calling them and saying, "Here's what's happening on this." Proactively managing.

    They said, "The most you're ever going to have is twelve customers. That's it. The most." Yeah, right. You know what happened eventually? I got to where I had 53 customers, and I was supposed to have a conference call with each of them once a month. I recognized that if I did all the conference calls I was supposed to do, I'd spend 60 percent of my time just doing conference calls, and not doing any other work.

    So, that kind of model was never going to scale. To what it needed to.
    Moin: Absolutely. This is not a simple FAQ. That's the key thing there. It's just not a simple FAQ where you say, "Here are the questions people will ask, and here are the answers you have to give."

    No. It's contextual, and it's based on what is the theme you have. When the bot pings you, you can say, "I have a question. Hey, I did this walking but I probably hurt myself." Then the bot tries to pull in information to say what you should be doing, or it might say, "Hold on, let me get the coach for you, because this is beyond my limit."

    So, it's very much contextual as opposed to just a Q&A. That's very, very important.
    Ron: So, I'm wondering, one of the big trends on the Web today as part of what people call Web 2, is the idea of user generated content. You know?
    Moin: Sure.
    Ron: So maybe, my coach has advice like, "Yes, you ought to walk and here's some tips for you." But maybe, there's somebody else out in the community, who is kind of saying, "Oh yeah. I had the same problem and I got this brand of shoes and it really helped me." Or something like that, you know.
    Moin: That's a great idea.
    Ron: And so Office has tools for helping that sort of thing, as well.
    Moin: Absolutely. Yeah. You can create wikis, right. You can create blogs around that. It can link to them, so that when you're complaining about shoes, it might say, "Hey, do you want to check out what other members have done in this aspect?
    Ron: Yeah. Yeah.
    Moin: It can even point to a wiki somebody wrote about knee problem and these good shoes. Or somebody has blogged to say, "I had the same problem. I went then started using this shoes which kind of helped me alleviate that problem." So, absolutely right, Office has those key capabilities.

    Another thing I want to point out is the mobility aspect of that.
    Ron: OK.
    Moin: You could be, for example, driving, and a coach sends you an email saying, "Hey Ron, here is a document that I want you to read. It's about how sleeping seven hours a day reduces your blood pressure." Or something like that.

    Then I can click on it and it plays back to me. So while I'm driving, I'm listening to this document about somebody has done research. So the key thing is, now the coach is engaging with me wherever I am, as opposed to trying to pull me into this one desktop where are the portals.

    So that is the key aspect to reach people where they are, yet help them, engage with them, to become healthy, and how Office and technology is helping do that. So that's what this whole CERA tries to demonstrate.
    Ron: See, what I like about this is something I often drill in when I talk to people on this -- I do this whole seminar about how do you become an architect, or what's the role of an architect -- one of the things I always drill on people is that, a solution is not realized in value because it's done. It only realizes value when it actually accomplishes its purpose.
    Moin: Purpose. That's a good point.
    Ron: If we said, "Look, we're going to build this cool portal that will have papers about stuff and tell people what they ought to do." And then we go, "Well, turns out 40 percent of our people come here once a year and mostly that's just to read the differences between benefit plan A and B."
    Moin: [laughs]
    Ron: So all that money we spent on this portal means nothing. It's not accomplishing any useful purpose.
    Moin: Right. Right.
    Ron: It's too often we don't even think about measuring business value in that sense. But I like the fact that what you're doing. You're saying, we have to aggressively engage people through multiple channels...
    Moin: Absolutely.
    Ron: And this is a reference architecture that shows you how you can do that with pretty much off-the-shelf technology. This isn't a lot of custom building stuff.
    Moin: Custom building stuff. Exactly right. Yeah. The SharePoint platform that we use - there are a lot of building blocks that help you quickly assemble this. That is the key aspect of it.

    For example, we use BDC, Business Data Catalog, to surface information from back-end systems.
    Ron: Right.
    Moin: And then we use its own built-in communicator, to do the live communication and things like that.
    Ron: You know what's great about that? I'm just thinking about how I engage with our portal that we have from Microsoft Health. One of the prime reasons I get on there is because I have a question about a claim. Like I get the explanation of benefits in the mail and I look at something and I'm like, "What is that about or how did that work that way?" Well, if you lose those dumb little papers, you know...
    Moin: [laughs] There's no way. Yeah.
    Ron: [laughs] It's like, forget about it. Then you're getting on the phone and you're making something that's very expensive, that very resource intensive call. But our portal allows me to go on there, and query anything about any claims I had, and the questions that I have about them.

    The only thing I wish it would do is allow me take the next step and go, "Well, I see what happened but I still don't understand why. If I could just convert to a chat from mere progress... "
    Moin: Right from there, using that context, you're right. Yeah. That's a great example.
    Ron: Yeah. Well, in fact I think it would... Look, everybody's about trying to reduce the cost here. So for me to have a voice conversation with a human being on the other end to answer that question gets expensive. We try to minimize that if we could. If we could move it through some other steps that would be, maybe not "calf of the mouth, " would be a great thing.
    Moin: Absolutely. Yeah.
    Ron: OK. So you were saying though about Office -- SharePoint is part of this -- and tell me about the connection to the Live Communications Server?
    Moin: So, what happens is there are two different ways. One is a... You could have corporate customers that have Office and Sharepoint and the whole live communications server installed. Then that, you could use LCS, because it integrates with Sharepoint to show presence information, to start communication.

    Let's say you don't have that. You have someone who doesn't have a corporate LCS. Live communication server. There, in that case, you use what we call MSN Live Messenger. So, those are the two different ways to engage with the customers and yet provide very similar experiences.

    So, what we have done for that, is to get integrated with Windows Live ID. So, member use Windows Live ID to log into their portal, and coaches also use Windows Live ID, and that helps them see each other when they're present. That could start conversation. That could start email exchanges. That could start appointment set up, and all of those things.
    Ron: It's interesting that you moved on to the concept identity in this architecture, because one of the big concerns in health care is privacy. My wife is a nurse, and she's always talking to me about all the things they go through in hospitals and health care to ensure privacy. There's regulations in the United States, and every other country has very, very serious regulations around privacy.

    So, I can just hear people going like, "Whoa! All these chats! I'm not sure we can secure that! How would we comply with the regulations?" Have you considered those things in this architecture?
    Moin: Of course we have considered. Because this is a demo only kind of build, we haven't gone to the full extent. There are ways to do secure communication. There are ways to do secure document sharing. You do it through EFS, encrypted file sharing system, or you can use encrypted email and things like that.

    We haven't fully demoed in this area, because our intent is not to develop the full product, but to show the guidance. So, we do talk about it in the paper, but we haven't built it, per se, in the bits to showcase that.

    Another aspect is we definitely don't want to take this to the level where people are sharing their Social Security numbers, anything too private. This is more to help you in the coaching level, not at the level of looking at your account history, looking at your medical records deeply. This is to really help to say, "Have you done these four steps yet?"

    So, there is one more aspect of it, which is called HRA validation. Health Risk Assessment validation, where we tap it in person. So, I use this portal, I use this method to establish an appointment, but I show up in person. That's where I exchange deeper medical history. That's another way to protect in terms of privacy.
    Ron: So, Dennis, I'm just curious about where the boundaries lie here, in respect to this kind of information. So, for example, HIV is a serious problem for people. That's a chronic condition. It has to be managed. Yet, it's very sensitive information. People might not want to know... Don't want other people to know that that's a condition they have. I'm wondering if I'm on chatting with my coach about managing HIV, if that information got out, I'd feel very compromised about privacy. Is that part of it?
    Dennis: It's part of any implementation that involves protected health information for a health insurer, and one of the characteristics that we built into this model is the idea that the consumer can really opt into the channel that they prefer.

    If all they want to do is use the phone, that's OK. If they want to extend this with email, for example, we would maybe add protections. Either use encrypted documents, use information rights management, or maybe exchange hosted encryption. That becomes an option, as well.

    Those are all valid issues. There's also a way of inviting somebody to link back to a secured site. You can always send clear text saying you have information available, or you need to log on and add some additional credentials to safeguard that information.

    There are always a certain level of steps that can be additional protections in these scenarios.
    Ron: OK, yeah, because I think part of the challenge would be even to educate people about how secure the environment they're in is, really is. I think a lot of people assume email to be kind of a very secure thing, and they go "Well, I've got all my email and nobody else in my family can see it" o whatever.

    But we all know that practically that is not true. So I think you might have to teach people that if you're really concerned about the privacy of this information, do this instead of that, and that sort of thing, right?
    Moin: Right, right, absolutely right, yeah.
    Ron: OK. Wow, so you've developed this kind of reference, I take it includes some documentation and maybe some sample code as well.
    Moin: Yeah, so what we have is -- we will publish all of this on MSDN in the next couple of days - what you will see is a whitepaper that walks you through the whole business idea of this whole thing, and the technology that we use to develop it.

    And there are a couple of PowerPoint presentations. One is focused on the technical decision makers, one is focused on the business decision makers.

    Then, lastly, you will have actually downloadable MSIs, that you can download, install, and open it up, and see the code behind it, to help you understand how do you surface information from backing applications, how do you integrate with Live ID, how do you integrate with WSA, so it shows all those different integration points, all of that will be available on MSDN.
    Ron: Well I think the cool thing about all of this is that if you opted into this kind of route, that supporting something that's kind of new like CardSpace, or InfoCard, or whatever it is we're calling it now.
    Moin: CardSpace, no it's CardSpace.
    Ron: CardSpace, that's right, I had a momentary lapse there. That will kind of come very easily to people who are supporting this.
    Moin: In fact we probably will do a next version some day of CERA, where we can show CardSpace integration as well, absolutely.
    Dennis: I think that's a good point, I think this we intend to really be version one. And we see other technologies in our pipeline, including some of those technologies from our health solutions group, being incorporated into this reference architecture over the next several quarters. So what we're really presenting here is a vision of what we believe will be the next generation of the member portal, that will really meet consumers where they are, rather than expecting consumers to come to those portals.

    And we think that this is just the beginning.
    Ron: Oh, yeah. Well you know that's so important, this is the kind of thing that... This is really good information that people need to get, and not only get but act on it. So I like the way that we're pushing out being very active in pursuing them.

    So I guess the right way for people to think about this is that this is an example starting point, it's not the finished... Like download it, slap it up, you're done, it's a starting point.
    Moin: They should really take it as a guidance on how do you use Office platform to develop something more for collaboration for engaging with consumers. So truly I want to limit it to guidance site, and sample bits. So this should not be taken and deployed in production, it's not that quality.

    It's really to help partners, developers, who are interested in doing something in space to say "How do I get started?" "Where do I start?" "Hey, here is what there is available for you for free, that you can take it and put it out there, start looking at it, and develop something on your own."
    Dennis: And it's free!
    Moin: It's free! [laughter]
    Ron: You've got to love that, wow! So we're going to have a link for your page on MSDN right here with this episode, so if people are like "Where can I download it?" We're going to have that for you.
    Moin: Absolutely.

    [music starts]
    Ron: And so when you guys put this out and get your next version ready we'll come back and you can tell me about what you added to it, so I'd love to hear more.
    Moin: We'll do that.
    Ron: Thanks you guys so much for joining me today on ARCast.
    Moin: Thank you Ron.
    Dennis: Thank you.

    Ron: Moin Moinuddin and Dennis Schmuland, ladies and gentleman, with CERA. Yeah, I have to think that there's a lot of power in the concept of aggressively applying information, but it's a fine line, how do you be aggressive without being annoying, that's a tricky one, you have to figure it out. I guess it might get annoying to have a little bot notice that I'm online and start chatting with me about "Have you taken you pills?" "Have you done you exercises?"

    It might kind of nag you too much. So interesting challenges around how we're going to figure this out. But it's always good to think, and that's what we're all about here on ARCast TV.
    Announcer: ARCast TV is a production of the Microsoft Architecture Strategy Team,

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