Tag Archives : kinect

Kinect is Just Over 1 Year Old

I’m a big fan of the Kinect technology.  I’ve written before that I think there is more business use to Kinect than entertainment and the release of a non commercial use SDK by Microsoft has resulted in a number of interesting concepts being developed.  Microsoft promise a commercial SDK early next year.

We are still very early into this technology life cycle.  I anticipate MS will attempt to embed Kinect into some of their products slated for a 2012 release such as Office, Sharepoint, Lync, Windows8 and Exchange but these are likely to be further early stage concepts rather than deeply embedded features within the product.

I would anticipate incremental development with Windows8 and a major push to embed Kinect into their post 2012 release of Office products which would be around 2014/2015.  This should give enough time for three important factors to mature which are not available today:

  • The sensor technology must improve (and I’m sure it will).  At the moment we all put up with the limitations because we are excited by the potential.  Mass adoption will not be so forgiving.  The technology must work first time, especially if it is to be deployed to business
  • A wider developer base will be available so business can exploit Kinect’s potential by hiring developers and service providers to deploy into their specific business environment
  • The camera must be smaller and built into laptops/slates.
I believe all three of the above will combine over the next 3 – 4 years.  In the meantime it gives us all time to understand how this technology can be applied in the real world and change for the better.

Kinect Showcase

Kinect is a technology that seems ahead of its time.  While the below video looks great for people who love technology I must admit an immediate use case doesn’t come to mind.  However I guarantee that if we can get this type of technology into real users hands and make it easy for them to utilise I’m certain new ways of working will be created.

3D Avatars and Kinect

It’s clear that Microsoft would like to implement their Kinect technology into the enterprise and here is another research project that is developing technology to inject live speech within an interactive 3D avatar. I’m sure a company like Proton Media (who already work closely with Microsoft) would be interested in implementing this type of technology within their 3D worlds.

I’m convinced that Microsoft’s Wave 15 will start to incorporate many elements of the Kinect and Research projects and if they do manage to execute correctly it could bring an entirely new dimension (forgive the pun) to their Office, Desktop and Collaboration value proposition.

Take a look at the avatar project here

Microsoft Research UI 1

Below is a video of the latest prototype of a future User Interface from Microsoft.  While the consumer interface will continue to evolve I’m more interested in the Enterprise application.  Today there is no single UI that brings together all the activity that information workers require to be effective.  Email is the current least worst option but as we have seen over the past several months there is a growing acceptance that email can not meet the requirements of an information worker.

Email will continue to be around for many years to come but we need to find a way of presenting many more streams of activity and work flow within a single interface.  Whichever software company can answer the challenge will be well set for the next generation of computing that is just around the corner.

Windows News Day

Interesting day within the Windows world.  Windows 8 builds, Phone 7 updates and a possible official Kinect SDK wraps up a busy day of unofficial news.  Why are these three elements important?  Because together they help form the picture of Microsoft’s next Enterprise (Wave 15) assault in 2012.

I have no data to back this next statement up but I suspect the Wave 14 releases (Windows 7, Office 2010, Sharepoint and Exchange 2010) have been a relative (I stress the word relative) sales disappointment to Microsoft.  This could well be due to the general financial climate but I also believe the Wave 14 products did not quite form a collective whole.  Each product was clearly an improvement over previous versions but CIOs need more reasons to invest.  They have questions that Wave 14 can’t quite answer:

  • How does my on premise and cloud investment dove tail together?
  • How do I plan continuous improvement without the need for fork lift upgrades?
  • Can I buy a solution that includes Desktop OS/Mobile/Cloud/Productivity Software and Service within a single consistent contract?
  • How do I show innovation and immediate business impact?
  • How does consumer IT and enterprise IT converge?

We’ll have to wait and see but Wave 15 could be the answer to many of these challenges and if it isn’t then Google and Apple will be more than happy to enter into Microsoft’s enterprise market.  No wonder Steve Balmer says that Windows 8 is Microsoft’s biggest gamble.

MIT Send Holograms with Kinect

Here’s a video from the Object Based Media Group at MIT highlighting how standard consumer technology can be used to transmit Holographic images over the internet.  Although the images are limited we have certainly come a long way in a very short period of time.  The CNN Holograms from the 2008 Election coverage was reputed to have cost over $1million per location.  I would assume that for a fraction of that in the coming years organisartions and inviduals will be able to reproduce a similar capability.

Take a look at the wired article here

The red hologram is jerkier and has much lower resolution than the one in Star Wars that sparked the public fascination with 3-D holograms in the 1970s. In fact, it kind of looks like a red blob on a staticky TV. But it’s 30 times faster than a telepresence device created in 2010 by University of Arizona researchers (SN Online: 12/4/10).

“I think it’s an important milestone because they were able to get to 15 frames per second, which is almost real time,” says physicist Nasser Peyghambarian, who led the Arizona research. “The quality is not as high, but hopefully it will get better in the future.”

Kinect for the PC? 1

The BBC’s Click interview with Microsoft’s CEO Steve Balmer is creating some buzz this week with the hint from Balmer that Kinect will eventually move across from Xbox to the PC.  Given that the drivers have been made available, speculation of camera technology built into Windows 8 and the trend for Microsoft to collapse their Live, Xbox and Enterprise offers together I’d be very surprised if Microsoft did not announce Kinect for PC in 2011.

Another hint of this direction was provided during the Lync launch back in November when the launch team demonstrated Lync and Xbox Kinect integration (see 34 minutes in from the Lync launch). Lync Launch

I’ve used Kinect at home and I can see why people have bought it for entertainment but the scope feels slightly limited for video games. Just this week a major game publisher questioned that we wouldn’t be pointing fingers at the screen and using our couch as a barricade.

The potential for business application however as I’ve stated a couple of time is huge.  If Microsoft can move Kinect across from the home to work in a user friendly manner and integrate into their Office suite they could have a hit.

ps for anyone wanting confirmation of Microsoft’s desire to broaden their client range and support other operating systems such as iOS and Mac OS the section in the Lync launch video at around 37 minutes should confirm that they are moving in that direction.