Steve Clayton, a storyteller from Microsoft, showed 7 tech trends Microsoft is currently developing at the Phare Conference. I’m not sure what ‘storyteller’ really means, I guess it is a sort of geek-in-disguise market preparing function. Anyway, Steve showed some great working prototypes by Bill Gates’ 1975 start-up.
This is the list of 7:
- pervasive displays
- computing power & storage
- cloud computing
- natural user interfaces
- ubiquitous connectivity
- location sensing
- social networks
Steve zoomed in on ‘natural user interfaces‘ and sometimes you need to take that literally. Like with Skinput (more info) when your screen is projected on your hand palm or arm, turning your body into your iPhone err… windows phone. (sorry guys from Microsoft who track this)
Steve Clayton very much believes in ‘the right interface for the right moment‘. Kinect is in this way a great tool enhancing the Xbox gaming experience. It recognises 42 points on your body, including your facial expression. Really phenomenal. Now imagine what Kinect could do in customer service, recognising emotions of customers and hence enriching the information for CS reps.
On the other hand, try controlling your car with a Kinect interface. May sound funny? So will our car trajectories be if we’d install a Kinect. Voice control is the far better option for staying on the road and controlling your in-car entertainment system for example. That is exactly what Ford and Microsoft will bring to Europe in the next months: the NUI interface. 3 million American drivers are already using it. Now Ford will install NUI in their European cars. So, Microsoft predicts that there will be more, different interfaces at different moments of use.
You have already heard about Microsoft’s interactive, multitouch table. Now MS has taking that to the next level with Surface 2.0: a multitouch screen that can scan and for example read what you’ve just written on a paper. Check out the Surface developer’s blog for some cool videos.
Steve Clayton also talked about the search engine Bing that brings more intelligent search, combining cloud or browser history data to better guess what you’re looking for. Could also lead to more painful situations, I guess.
And I cannot not mention Project Emporia, a personalized news interface. Looks pretty cool too, and you can login using your Facebook account. I haven’t checked it out yet. If you have, please let me know in the comments what you think.
On a concluding note: according to Microsoft computers will be more natural, invisible, working on our behalf and anticipating. They are creating our future right now. Or someone else will <smiley>.
Thanks to Steve for the inspiring talk and to Ghent Web Valley, the organisers of Phare Conference, for bringing Steve Clayton to Belgium.