Microsoft Office Labs Envisioning Videos

A post in Channel 9 introduces me with this series of Microsoft Office Lab Envisioning videos. The videos itself reprsents Microsoft visions on Computer Technology in the future based on technology being developed right now. Hardware Advances and Enabling Software that collaborates and enables people to be connected anywhere and anytime are the key points for those technology to work.

Here’s the link to the Microsoft Office Labs Envisioning Videos:

http://www.officelabs.com/Pages/Envisioning.aspx

Here’s a link to a blog that post the full video of ‘a glimpse ahead:

http://www.istartedsomething.com/20090228/microsoft-office-labs-vision-2019-video/

UPDATED: Here’s the full video in youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiqgmAYrd3c

As I watched the video and awed on what is possible in the future, I can’t help imagining on the technologies that is being developed right now to enable those solutions. First is the bendable screens. These screens able to display graphics and movies on a piece of flexible plastic with superb colors. You can also roll these screens to somekind of a parchment that will absolutely saves spaces. Another fantastic property of these screens is that it also can be an input device, or in other words it can also act as a touch screen. Now, think about if our computer screens, televisions, cell phones, mp3 players, or even tables and walls are using this technology, now suddenly we have access to information everywhere at home. The technology itself for bendable screens are already been invented and right now we are only waiting on refinements of the technology and for companies to capitalize on it.

Next, is internet connectivity anywhere, anytime. Demands on being to stay connected anywhere and anytime has grown bigger and bigger with every year. I still remember fifteen years ago, I don’t have a cell phone and does not feel the need for such devices. Fifteen years ago also, I did not know anything about the internet and was playing around with Turbo Pascal on my 486 system. But look at where we at right now, cell phones and the internet are technologies that can’t be separated from our lives anymore. Here in Japan, everyone has a cell phone, even trends here start for people to have second cell phones and so on. Not only that, here in Japan we have internet access directly from our cell phones. Latest generations of cell phones includes full internet browser capabilities and such.  Not only cell phones, Wi-Fi spots have been a trend lately and cafes, airports starts on adding wifi points to their service. Wifi connections also making their debuts in Schools and Universities. Looking at the trend of internet, we can be certain that making people stay connected anywhere and anytime is an ongoing effort, but it may require a bit of time to reach people that is outside of facilities. Nevertheless the future of stay connected people is coming closer and closer with each day.

Next, with constant internet connectivity, the need and value of having large disk spaces and superior computing power becomes questionable. Lately, cloud based storage and cloud applications are being promoted by big vendors such as Amazon, Microsoft and Google. Their solutions for cloud applications enables users use their applications and access their data anywhere as long as Internet exists. Technology such as Microsoft Azure platform delivers the framework on enabling such solutions. The main point here is that the value of ownership of a storage device is diminishing, the value for owning high performance cpus are also diminishing. What is left is probably UIs. But with data and applications being stored in the internet, having UI devices might not also be as valuable as owning a 1000 dpi laser mouse right now. Another interesting point about these UI devices is that, if you relate to the first hardware advancement that I discuss on the top is that these devices might only be a piece of displayable plastic with some kind of controller and internet receiver (and probably a camera and a mic). Those can be very cheap to produce and I would not be even surprised if people can exchange and reuse the same devices.

Next, Augmented Reality. The ability for computer to recognize objects and add informations on the object will opens a lot of way on how we collect and use informations right now. Gone are the days when you want to know the name and nutritions of a fish and spends the night surfing the web at home based on a picture you took at the fishmarket. With augmented reality, you just point your computer camera at the fish and boom the computer will recognize the fish and shows informations about the fish.

Next, OpenId. This is a vital technology to enable cloud computing and collaborations to work seamlessly (other than web services of course). The technology enable  a person/entity to be recognized universally in the internet. Integrations between services and networks will rely very much on this technology. Having an open ID is like having your Driver’s license or, in my country, your Citizenship Id card. Your Id will be accepted nation-wide and people recognizes that Id as proof of what your claims is. OpenId provides the framework to do this in the internet. Now, with OpenId you can stop inputting different username and password for different sites. In fact, you may not need to input anything other than showing your OpenId to visit a site anymore.

There you go, a list of  tehcnologies that I think will drive what Microsoft envision today. Of course this is not a complete list by far, however these are the technologies that I’m interested in the most.

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