Future Home: Microsoft’s Vision of 2019
by Dean Evans at Tuesday 3rd March, 2009 at 1:30 pm [3 comments]
Microsoft could never be criticised for lacking a vision (it has one of the biggest R&D budgets in the technology industry). This video made by Microsoft Office Labs offers a teasing glimpse into the sorts of futuristic products we could be using in 10 years from now.
Much of the imagineering in the video is heavily touchscreen-orientated. Microsoft has already demonstrated a multi-touch capable coffee table device in the form of Surface, while Windows 7 and forthcoming versions of Windows Mobile will both heavily incorporate touch into the UI.
The ‘Touch Wall’
In this Microsoft-powered future, screens are entire walls. School kids doodle with their fingertips on giant, glass walls; businessmen cluster around a virtual wall, stickered with digital Post-It notes.
The idea of touch walls isn’t new. Panasonic has demonstrated something similar with its LifeWall technology. But it’s a compelling vision, evolving the the workflow/computing interface so it’s larger and more visual. It’s basically a giant desktop, controlled via a touch- or gesture-sensitive interface that’s right out of Minority Report.
Extraordinarily thin, super-smart screens dominate this Microsoft future. A frequent-flyer businesswoman uses touch to scroll through data, expand and minimise windows on a tablet computer.
Microsoft’s mobile phone concept, meanwhile, boasts twin screens. The two displays can be separated/detached to offer the sort of multi-monitor setup that many PC users find more efficient. This future still features mobile video calling, even though we have the technology to do that now and nobody seems that bothered.
There’s a nod to Microsoft’s Surface technology, showing how everyday work surfaces could evolve into computers in their own right. And electronic paper gets another outing in the form of a traditional broadsheet with touch-and-click headlines.
This touchy-feely futurama wouldn’t be complete without a glimpse at the home of the future. Here, the Microsoft smart home will have a connected monitoring system, house-wide Internet connectivity and effortless wireless networking.
“Over the last year we’ve worked closely with partners, customers and R&D groups across Microsoft,” says Ian Sands at Microsoft Office Labs.
“Imagine a future where creating a document with a colleague will be as easy as having a conversation. Making connections with people and your content will be secure and seamless. Relevant insight and information will be delivered proactively and in context to the task at hand.
“Mobile devices will be more powerful than desktop computers of today. Technology will connect you with the information you need, when and where you need it, whether it be your local coffee shop, an airport, or a roof top in Hong Kong. Software will be there to make getting things done as efficiently as possible in new ways that are more natural.”
And not a Windows logo in sight…
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