Originally published on the Microsoft CIO Network. Join today.
Who hasn’t dreamed of a house that you can interact with just by speaking its name? Or a kitchen that helps you prepare a meal? Or a child’s bedroom with walls that come alive with sound and music?
There is such a place. It’s the Microsoft Home, and it resides in the Executive Briefing Center at the company’s Redmond WA headquarters. It’s an amazing space that demonstrates what the future could be. It shows what life may be like when you can interact with computers in more natural ways, where displays are integrated into the environment, and where the physical and digital worlds come together to provide new experiences.
In a former role, I was part of an account team in the Media & Entertainment Group. I had the opportunity to visit the Microsoft Home with my customers on multiple occasions. Seeing the various incarnations of the Home was invigorating, but what really delighted me were the reactions of the customers. In every case, they were simply wowed.
Jonathan Cluts is director of the Microsoft Home and Strategic Prototyping under Craig Mundie (Chief Research and Strategy Officer). He begins the tours by explaining that the Home is forward-looking and seeks to explore technology five to ten years out. He is always careful to point out that they are not attempting to predict the future, although some of the things you see there may one day come to the market.
What’s great about the Home is that it gives customers a chance to think about how they can become a part of this possible future.
Demonstrations are designed around usage scenarios in areas such as energy, entertainment, education, healthcare, retail and communication, and also touch on the potential ramifications for privacy and security. You won’t see present-day Microsoft products promoted or marketed. Scenarios may reference a currently shipping product like Microsoft HealthVault, and show it in a future-looking prototype scenario and explore how it could evolve. In essence, the Home is a space designed to allow visitors dream for an hour.
How about a kitchen that you can talk to and helps you prepare a meal based on ingredients you currently have on hand?
Or a teenager’s bedroom where the walls become dynamic, interactive displays?
Or a living room that allows you to visit a favorite art gallery virtually and even pick up and examine the display pieces?
And if you happen to be visiting Disneyland in Southern California, be sure to check out the Innoventions Dream Home in Tomorrowland. This exhibit incorporates some of the ideas from the Microsoft Home and is open to all park visitors.
The opinions and views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily state or reflect those of Microsoft.