Computing Future Vision Videos

Videos are a great way to communicate a future vision in a short period of time.  The "Software + Services Future Vision" video that is floating around, and included below, is just such an example.


What I like most about this video is that it shows a future that feels within our grasp.  The smooth transitions between devices (phone->wall display->auto->tablet), the independence of computing (and the individual’s state) from a specific computer, a good application of Surface-like technology, and the collaboration environment are all things we (the power users of the world) just expect to work.  There are many subtle things in the video.  For example, the Services part of "Software + Services" is definitely subtle.  Rather than highlight specific services, the scenarios themselves just can’t work without them.  What I don’t like about the video is that it portrays the nearer end of what I think of as "the future".

There is another video being used inside Microsoft and with customers, but not yet on the web that I can find, that is more futuristic.  The Healthcare Future Vision Video was originally created to show off how computing will change healthcare over the next decade or so.  However, most of what it contains applies to computing in general.  Interactive displays on all kinds of surfaces (horizontal and vertical), heavy use of touch-based UI, light thin tablets, fantastic meeting/collaboration environment, etc.  You can pick up much of this by viewing the stills in the above link.

Basically, I position these two videos as bracketing the future.  The General Contractor video portrays the nearer term future while the Healthcare video portrays a somewhat more distant, yet very real, future.

Last week I saw a third video, targeted at a narrower audience, that showed many of the same things as the General Contractor video.  It’s funny what can grab the audiences attention, and in this one it was a coffee mug.  When it was placed on a computing surface, the window that was occluded automatically moved to another position on the surface.  Everyone in the room noticed that little touch.  Considering how often I shuffle the items on my desk so I can place my coffee exactly where I want it, the thought that a digital desk would handle that automatically is one of those items that delight.

For all of us who can’t stand carrying around all those id cards, frequent customer cards, membership cards, etc. here is a still from the healthcare video that also delights:

The important point about these videos is that they are used to show off a future that we can’t deliver on today.  They aren’t about "Product V.Next", they are about how computing might evolve over the next 5-10 years. 

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