A glimpse into the Future of Productivity

In recent years, intelligent location and social awareness has become a user expectation – almost everything that we touch is in some way intelligently connected to us or other devices around us and technology is starting to second guess our intentions based on the context that we’ve given it. Sometimes that context is deliberately and clearly identified such as in a diary appointment, other times that context is suggested through our current location or updates to our social streams.

As we are starting to expect more and more from the technology that we carry around with us, it’s nice to have a vision of where we’re headed. If you have an idea where you’re going then you’re not going to unintentionally surprise people along the way, and as I often say, technologists seek inspiration in science fiction. So if you produce a vision then you are going to inspire people to help deliver that vision with you.

In a follow-up to the previous 2009 productivity video, Microsoft’s Office Division have released a new vision, you can watch it below.

I like Microsoft’s clear commitment to connecting people and using technology to connect us back to ourselves and our experiences in the real world. It’s well worth taking some time to look through the Microsoft Office YouTube channel to see their vision for other areas such as health, banking and manufacturing.

Published by Spooner

Creative Technologist at Microsoft in the UK working in the Developer & Platform Evangelism group, he is at the forefront of emerging technologies being developed across Microsoft and champions their deployment to developers and digital agencies. His work is focused around mobile, the web and Natural User Interfaces.

28 Comments So Far, what do you think?

  1. george

    oh-my-god !!!!! i’m almost scared….also , just seen a three-d replicating printer !!!! with moving parts , thank you…guess i must be getting old……….could you help the elderly to catch-up ?………x

  2. Ian Goode

    Hi Spooner,

    I came across this person’s opinion on the above video a while ago:
    http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/

    I found their main point interesting: That the abundance of glass-screen interfaces ignores the interface capabilities of humans (their hands in particular), and that the vision in the video above is an extension of existing technology and user interfaces.

    I’m an undergrad studying Engineering Design in the UK, so am quite interested in these concepts. What are your thoughts on this?

    Ian

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  5. Sam

    Everything looks better in a montage. There will be a ton of glitches and i bet it will be riddled with adverts, just invading your home and personal space. This is not really helping the world to evolve.

  6. Steve Serps

    It’s amazing what you can think of and do when money is no object, nice one Microsoft you keep spending it and no doubt we will keep buying it.

  7. Edward Handy.

    This is looking rather well in to the future,us oldies can only sit back and wonder were the human race is heading.I can only hope it will better mankind.If only technology could find a way of making man love and trust his fellow man,and stop famine and disease.THEN man could say that technology WORKS!!!!
    ED.

  8. Xythe

    Am I the only one who thinks all that stuff looks awful? The tablets with no borders and that hideous interface everyone seems to be using. If that’s the future I want no part of it.

  9. charlotte

    I find the whole thing very sad and feel that we are losing touch with reality as a human race. We have already lost many of our natural instincts and would struggle to survive in nature. This just seems an extension of that, turning virtual pages in the air instead of touching and feeling the pages of a book? Where will it end? To me, this is regression, not progression and will inevitably lead to a lack of intelligence and skill as we will rely so much in technolgy. Sad but true…

  10. Hannah Miller

    Amazing, I can’t wait until tech is this user friendly and exciting. The only issues maybe with platform communication, alot of different brands will need to use consistent platforms or we will end up with issues such as Blackberry messenger only being able to communicate with itself.

  11. Zak Sheridan

    I look at videos like these and begin thinking about myself actually using technology like this, exciting as it is I still feel that people are just losing themselves in this technological arms race. We forget that we don’t need all of the technological advances and as consumers ourselves we begin to indulge into a spending spree of the nice new technology that our World has to offer and we still ask ourselves the question “Am I still happy?”.
    Remember people, corporations and organisations increase technological advances for profit and our convenience only. Keep your mind open and thinking!

  12. Chris Fryer

    I can see no way that all of this will help in the real world. We need practical solutions to practical problems, not digital fantasies.

  13. Trevor

    I love seeing videos like this from the 1980′s. This is complete intellectual technological masturbation and has little relevance to the world. Even worse when it comes from Microsoft who for 30 years has brought us nothing but inferior computing experiences. Stop dreaming about what the world will be and take a look at how to make what’s there simpler and more relevant. If word hasn’t changed in 20 years (still crap) then how can you build utopia?

  14. Iain

    More of the same old same old, pretty things doing ’30 something’ crap. Not many old people, disabled people, poor people, third world people, or the 99% that make up the rest of us.

  15. Neil

    @ Edward Handy unfortunately people are not going to help and trust one another while the ruling class successfully manipulates the divide and conquer policy and keeps the little guys fighting each other instead of the real issue, the obscenely rich. So until the wealth of the 1% is returned to the 98% people will struggle to survive and not have the freedom to philosophize on the root cause of their problems, a catch 22 situation. perhaps Microsoft could start the ball rolling by re-distributing it’s wealth.

  16. David

    Hmm, interesting comments. I cant help but agree with those who are sceptical of these advances. Many of these advances might look good on paper (or should that be a tablet..?) but in reality I think all they are doing is saving us time. Inherent in this saving of time is a divorcing of humans from reality. Reality being getting mud on your hands in the garden, telling a story to your kids, listening to someone playing a guitar, or persuading the board-members around the table of the merits of your scheme . The way we are supposed to function and indeed get the best from ourselves and others is the interaction between us and other people and between us and the world in general. The more time we spend looking at screens, whether they be tablets, computer screens, TV’s, or smart-glass projections the less we are really experiencing. We fool our minds and perhaps our souls too, that we have had these experiences when really we haven’t had the physical sensations. Software developers beware – there is a fine line between discreetly aiding our lives and on the other side, killing our creativity and wondrous ingenuity. We may well benefit from taking a little more time to knock on someones door and spend sometime asking a question and getting an answer that is filled with human experience and knowledge. Take your time and do it properly with all your heart and your experience will be far greater than if you had found some information on a computer. What are you going to do with all the time you’ve saved anyway?

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  18. Rayman Lam

    The concept of having one complete platform which everything can operate under is a good idea. And admittedly, many comments regarding humans getting lazy etc will be inevitable if this happens.
    The fact is, to progress, we aim to make things more and more efficient and that’s where technology is heading towards for the last decade.
    I’m personally quite excited about this but if you think about it, we kind of have the infrastructure of this as it is; it’s just an slow process to manipulate stuff from one platform to another.

  19. DruidX

    Certainly seems like an interesting idea.

  20. Lucas

    The only thing missing seems to be ‘H.U.D. contact lenses’ – true Augmented Reality, no matter where you are, regardless of having a connected screen available!

  21. Lucas

    The only thing missing seems to be ‘H.U.D. contact lenses’ – true Augmented Reality, no matter where you are, regardless of having a connected screen available!

  22. Adrian

    Eye gaze technology is missing from this! Eye gaze is the future for a lot of human machine interaction. It takes care of a big part of human machine control, the choosing and selecting part and when combined with face recognition (expression recognition), voice recognition and body gesture recognition you have the future. Look at the leading manufacturers site at the moment. Tobii http://www.tobii.com/en/gaze-interaction/global/lp/Gaze-the-Future-of-Computers/

  23. Colin

    Where was walk with dog on beach?

  24. pedro

    I downloaded Rainmeter 2.1 + Omnimo 4.0 (extract to desktop) and bingo i have now got window-8 as a fully operational metro sytem,but because it’s on my external drive i can use that or refer back to windows – 7 pro. I know you can download a review version from microsoft but i was basically just doing it as a small experiment which is now been placed over my X-P computer thats over 6 years old,and it has gave me a whole new nice smooth operating system in all honesty do the you-tube thing and do your homework on this as it’s very nice and minimal and basically you make it all up as you go along like google,facebook,firefox,ect…. So you dont loose a thing in your programs just better ones that work faster and smoother,still love my windows – 7 but as it is a very stable and great operating system for a lptop i use and suits me to the ground.

  25. Ross

    hmm all very 2 dimensional and somehow sterile. It’s weird how MS’s over thinking of things even rubs off on there promo vids. After all all the people in that video where really doing where installing a hedge and cooking. The only real world idea in there are the VD windows that augment the reality viewed through them, expect those to become pretty standard for cars and buildings. But the rest of it is all about building the interface into the user’s physicality rather than using any sort of projection to simply drape the interface over the user.

  26. Gary

    This all look nice but the big question we need to ask is are all these new toy that will help us live our lives still been powered by Cole gas and oil? We need to find better ways to power them if we want to have them.

  27. Notbuyingintothisrubbish

    The future: A bleached white vinyl utopia, perfectly sterile, and magically free from all dust, germs or grease smears from food (perhaps we ingest our food digitally now anyway via i-pad console). A world inhabited by immaculate smiley teethed corporate robot humans with nothing better to do that play with their i-phones all day long. Couple of questions come to mind: What kind of pharaceutical mood enhancing substances are they proscribing to the masses here : Huxley’s Soma perhachance? Have poor people been shipped to huge Microsoft labour camps on Mars? Will body odour be punishable by death in this new Gatesian utopia? To be brutally honest the whole thing looks like an unholy marriage between Blade Runner, The Stepford Wives and 90210. Absolutely turgid. Bring back the abacus!

  28. Victoria

    Nice and interesting!Thank you!

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