Microsoft’s vision of 2019

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Every now and then a company comes up with a video showing their vision for the future. This time it was Microsoft’s turn to step up to the plate and show how brilliant they are. But they didn’t create a single video, but a series called Microsoft’s Future Vision. Come and watch with us.

*Alert* If you are lazy and don’t want to watch all the video’s below I would recommend you to only watch this first video. It’s a compelation of the other ones.

I know you probably still haven’t watched all video’s, so it might be a bad idea to already give you my opinion… but I will do it anyway. After watching all the video’s of Microsoft I have to admit that I was quite disappointed. They are well made, but for some reason too obvious… even before watching them I could have written down 80% of the content: tables changing in screens, mobility, very unhandy gestural interfaces and ever surface multi-touchable. If everybody can come up with this stuff, why bother making movies for the 100th time? I would find it more interesting when a company like Microsoft would put their effort in more concrete answers, rather than abstracts. How do they think people will deal will privacy? What do we let computers handle for us and when do we want to stay in control?

But I still have to admit that there are some details in the movies that are still inspiring. When there was some interesting stuff in a video, I placed it underneath. If I missed stuff, let me know.

Microsoft’s Future Vision on health care

  • When a woman goes to the doctor she has to fill in a few questions on a screen on the wall. This screen actually looks like a poster. At first I thought it would be a bad idea, since it doesn’t give a good indication that it’s interactive. But on the other hand an interactive poster does look more friendly and less technical then an actual touchscreen. This could help elderly to actually start using it.
  • Another great idea in this movie is the arrow in the floor that indicates the direction in which you must walk. I don’t believe this should continue throughout the building, since it would be very chaotic. But it is a great start for your journey, helping you on the way.

Microsoft’s Future Vision on retailing

  • I didn’t really like this video, except for the interactive price tags. How much work and mistakes would it save when somebody can change the prizes of products with a single click. Would this also change the way retailer handle their prizes? Maybe they would link prizes to the stock market or make it dependant on the popularity. A cool addition to this would be the ability to check your discount price by holding your discount card against the price tag.

Microsoft’s Future Vision on manufacturing

  • I like the use of augmented reality goggles to do technically challenging jobs.
  • Integrating important UI in a regular table isn’t a good idea, actually it’s the worst idea ever. If this guy has to do this every day, his neck will fall of. I’m really surprised that they come up with this vision, since they must have SOME research data concerning the Microsoft Surface.
  • The conference screen is nice. I like it that you see the total body of the other person, but only his face is focused. The gestures controling the UI, are a bit… tiring.

Microsoft’s Future Vision: Home of the future

  • In all the other video’s everything was a highly interactive device, ranging from tables to business cards… but in your own house (of the future) things won’t be that impressive. You suddenly have a normal tv on the table and some sort of laptop you take with you everywhere, but hang in the kitchen. I really don’t understand the use of this video…

Microsoft’s Future Vision on banking

  • When you walk into the bank the person behind the screen will automatically see where you are and who you are. Even though it’s scary for a client (privacy), I still like the idea from a company perspective. With all those digital devices you could actually track this and it does help with security, but also with efficiency and being able to prepare and (thus) help your customer better.
  • If there is something I hate, it’s the waiting line. It’s a great idea to give people an indication of the time they have to wait. Personally I would not do it in seconds, since you could never give an indication this detailed. Maybe the number of people before you, combined with an average time.
  • The mobile system that helps people directly on the spot is handy.
  • From a business perspective it would be great, and possible, to show leads when a person is standing in front of you. But what Microsoft forgot is the growing honesty and openness that customers demand. Right now clients don’t want to stare at the back of a screen anymore, but expect to be involved in the actions a worker does on his screen. So publishing ‘best lead’ feels like the company is taking advantage of you. When changing this in for example ‘could be helped with’ will change the tone from a business need into a customer need.

Jeroen van Geel

Jeroen van Geel is founder/chief kahuna of Johnny Holland and the interaction director at Fabrique [brands, design & interaction], a Dutch multidisciplinary design agency. You can follow him on Twitter via @jeroenvangeel.

4 comments on this article

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  4. None of the videos seem to work anymore. . . are there updated links or another site that they can be accessed from?