R&D hub in Barcelona

According to its official press release, Microsoft made a decision to choose Spain for its new R&D hub. The new facility specializes in the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies to improve user experience (UX) on the web.

In fact, it will be one of eight research centers worldwide and part of Microsoft’s WebXT (Web Experiences Team) division. WebXT is an organization of more than 5,000 people. What’s more, it focuses on the development of advanced UX that leverages AI and deep learning technologies.

Thanks to its location in Barcelona, the hub will be able to attract talent from all European countries. It is also part of the Search & AI team. This team that specializes in AI applications is the largest group in WebXT. In addition, it contributes to the development of multiple Microsoft products including Windows, Azure and, of course, Bing.

What is WebTX?

The WebXT organization operates as a start-up environment. It means that it encourages its team members to take on challenges. As a result, they can create high impact web experiences to consumers such as Microsoft Bing, Edge, and MS News. At the same time, they collaborate with other Microsoft product groups including Azure, Windows and Office and among others. The hub in Spain will start with teams from Search & AI, which is part of WebXT. It will focus on four main areas and one of them is Bing Local Search.

Bing Local Search is responsible for delivering distinct local search experiences and recommendations to Bing users. Now, they are more than 500 million all over the world. Thus, the team has a huge responsibility to improve UX. To achieve this goal, it deals with data-mining optimization to extract content from the Internet.

Locality is important

As we see the other article, Microsoft has enhance its AI capabilities organizationally and personally. Therefore, we can say that establishing the new hub is also one way to expand its AI capability. The question here is probably why is the hub in Barcelona, Spain?

First of all, the cost of living in Barcelona is relatively cheaper than that in London or Paris. In fact, the US tech giant has already created its Search & AI hubs in London, Paris and Munich. What’s more, people can enjoy sunny weather, world heritages, mountain, delicious cuisines and beautiful beaches in Barcelona. Thus, the city can attract talented people all over European countries.

Also, in Barcelona, there are many prestigious universities and famous business schools. It means that good talents have already been there. That is why other companies also establish digital hub in Barcelona. The Swiss food giant, Nestle, opened its Global IT Hub in Barcelona and this is a good example.

In the other aspect, locality is also important for analysis of search. This is because people use different search engine, different words and phrases and different device in each country. In this sense, the company has its Search & AI Hubs in different countries (cities). Therefore, these locations give more opportunities and advantages to the US company.

However, how many companies in the world can open its Research center in four countries in Europe? Of course, small and medium companies cannot. Therefore, it might better for them to come up with other ways to compete or collaborate with those big companies. To make use of business intelligence media like us is also one possibility.