Technology is increasingly at the heart of training and professional development efforts at many companies worldwide, said Pat Galagan, executive editor of the American Society for Training and Development, in the keynote address at the recent ASTD 2012 China Summit. “Above any other external factor – even the economy – CEOs expect technology to drive the most change in their organizations over the next three to five years,” she said. Chris Pirie of Microsoft said the cutting-edge technologies that will be commonplace in the near future include cloud computing and natural user interface, which allow access from anywhere. Mobile technologies will also likely become a large part of training as in-person training is more expensive, he added–Microsoft, for example, spends $20 million a year to get certain employees together twice a year for training at its headquarters. Galagan agreed, noting that the number of mobile devices in use will exceed the world’s population this year. The summit was the organization’s first summit in China, and focused on showing Chinese companies the latest trends in training and development. Chinese companies are collecting a growing number of ASTD Excellence in Practice Awards, among them the China Post Group, China Telecom, and Hong Kong-based Mass Transit Railway Corp. As the country’s continues to fuel a need for talent, technology will be increasingly important for companies’ corporate training development in the near future.