Microsoft’s Office team recently uploaded some videos to YouTube that show off their vision of the near future. Most of the videos relate to productivity in some fashion; no surprise given that the Office team is behind them. What makes the videos so intriguing, though, is how they present the future – not one of space travel and transporters, but one in which information is shared more easily than ever before.
A lot of what the future shows is seemingly on its way. Recent innovations from companies such as Samsung and Corning have produced amazing new touchscreens that are almost completely transparent. Imagine being able to touch an icon on your smartphone and transfer whatever it is you’re doing – watching a video, browsing the web, researching new work proposals – to the window in your bedroom or kitchen.
That same glass can be laid overtop a kitchen island – suddenly, your recipes and cookbooks become interactive, offering timers, tutorial videos, and links to explanations and cultural relevancy. Although the new videos are spared of any noticeable Microsoft branding, the clean, contemporary lines of the company’s Metro UI are pervasive, and fit in well with this futuristic look.
While vertical touchscreens are handy, they’re tiresome after a while, and it’s a welcome surprise that they aren’t used to excess in this hypothetical reality. Instead, datasets and applications are pulled from screen to screen, and while the vertical displays welcome manipulation, it’s easy to push working apps to an easier to use display sitting on the desk.
With prototype technology already in the labs, this vision of the future might happen sooner, rather than later. It’s unlikely that Microsoft will be the only progenitor of everyday technology, which means that companies will need to work on universal standards in order for everything to talk to everything else.
As Apple’s recent offerings have shown, nailing the right user interface is important for products to succeed. These videos show one example of an extremely powerful – if slightly cluttered – UI from Microsoft. What future UIs would you like to see? What do you hope future gadgets like smartphones and large format displays can do? Sound off in the comments below and let us know!