Microsoft unveils new ‘Future Vision' video

“For I dipped into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be…”

When Tennyson wrote those words in the middle of the nineteenth century, he could scarcely have imagined the wonders that technology routinely serves up for us now in the twenty-first. But while the world may look very different now, the human need to stare into the future with excitement and longing hasn’t gone away.

Thankfully, Microsoft is on hand to satisfy those urges, and has produced a new video, entitled ‘Productivity Future Vision 2011’, that offers us a glimpse of the future and the directions in which technology may take us next. Suffice it to say, the future looks like a pretty cool place to go.

Produced by Microsoft’s Office Labs division - an innovation centre that specializes in devising new and sometimes radical concepts and ideas and finding ways to bring them to life in Microsoft's real-world product portfolio - the video showcases an exciting world of touch-focused computing that makes collaboration and communication simple and intuitive.

From mobile handsets and flexible slates, to large displays and 'intelligent' glass surfaces and walls, devices communicate and interact with each other, knowing when to present information, reminders and interaction points. Mobile devices offer a personalized experience, while the larger systems shown are geared towards productivity and making collaboration and sharing seamless and uncomplicated.

This is the latest in a series of such video productions, including Office Labs' 'Vision 2019' video (revealed in 2009 by Nokia's Stephen Elop when he was still President of Microsoft's Business Division), that explores many similar concepts to this one. Kurt DelBene, Microsoft Office President, believes such short films are important: “We create these videos to help tell the story we see unfolding in technology, and how it will impact our lives in the future, [where technology] helps us manage our time better, focus our attention on the most important things, and foster meaningful connections with the people we care about.”

Doesn’t this all seem a bit farfetched though? Glasses that can translate for you, reminders appearing on windows, touch-enabled surfaces everywhere you look? DelBene explains: “All of the ideas in the video are based on real technology. Some of the capabilities, such as speech recognition, real time collaboration and data visualisation already exist today. Others are not yet available, but represent active R&D happening at Microsoft and other companies.”

Microsoft’s vision of the world – and all the wonder that it promises – may seem a bit fanciful, but perhaps the future isn’t as far away as it seems after all.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Microsoft back to bundling IE with Windows after anti-trust terms expire

Next Story

Nokia VP: Windows Phone "Apollo" coming mid-2012

53 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

I have to say this video really inspired me, I felt shivers watching it! Kudos to Microsoft for showing real vision. The trolls on Endgadget just don't get it. Microsoft has a dedicated "envisioning" department and they are still cranking on the code for current products. A company can do both, ya know.

Being an Afrikaans speaking South African I really just wished they could actually have consulted someone who speaks the language on the intercom announcement in the beginning. It is grammatically and phonetically so wrong.

i bet the sign at 0:06 is made with android! #kidding
I love these video's it keeps me wondering how these things will finally turn out.
for example the keyboard.. it looks like it's the same design on keyboards but with a nice touch.

amazing video! almost made me start crying when the daughter was video conferencing her mom with so much ease. the future sure looks bright

All of the Future vision videos have these dual-touch screen things, but it seems Microsoft research has essentially abandoned Lucid Touch...I sincerely hope MSR picks up the Lucid touch project, as it is one of the major things in this vid

MASposts said,
All of the Future vision videos have these dual-touch screen things, but it seems Microsoft research has essentially abandoned Lucid Touch...I sincerely hope MSR picks up the Lucid touch project, as it is one of the major things in this vid

They havent abandoned anything (even Courier) as this "projects" usually get incorperated into other technologies (Ludic Touch, we will see in a more natural and economic solution in the future im sure)

This has already been said but the tech is too expensive right now: Microsoft Surface is the future.

It will be in all our active day to day life and with a design to go with it. With Surface, I can clearly see tablets having a future, unlike the tablets before the iPad that existed 20 years ago.

The problem as always with Microsoft will be standards: This tech should work doesnt matter what OS or hardware I use. It should integrate into life as unnoticeable as possible.

Some cool stuff in there, love the interfaces on all those devices but personally found latest years video to be more realistic and a bit more 'tech' inspirational

We're not that far off.

Those interfaces aren't much different to what we have, and the devices we have now can interact with each other in the same way using WiFi/NFC/bluetooth.

The devices and software in that video aren't really any more advanced than what we have now, just.... different

But yeah, the level of integration with cars, billboards, etc, is what sets that "world" apart from ours.

Arpit said,
it's not the future if she still has to make the apple pie herself

In the future, we'll accomplish tasks for the satisfaction, not as a requirement to an end goal.

Hate to burst everyone's bubble, but nobody here is going to see this type of technology, you all will be long gone before nanotechnology, & holographic technology will reach that steps. Hell the world may never see it, the way we're going.

Azies said,
Hate to burst everyone's bubble, but nobody here is going to see this type of technology, you all will be long gone before nanotechnology, & holographic technology will reach that steps. Hell the world may never see it, the way we're going.

I personally disagree.
Look at how far technology has come in the past 20 years. It's only getting better and faster.
They are able to create this vision now based on available technology so it certainly would be viable within the next 10 years, but probably not as mainstream as the video makes it out to be until costs are down which could take another 5+ years.

Fascinating video..but too bad the world is heading into recession and nothing like that will happen

Some techs shows though are possible in the very immediate future though.

3:10

NO WAY. we are still gonna have keyboards in the future

what happened to the "in a few years the desktop will die cuz of tablets" ??

also. that phone looks ugly.

Why did Microsoft release this video...? Now Apple is gonna steal their idea and patent it... (yes, i said "patent it", because Apple is the only company in the world that gets ridiculous patents) SMH

you know a lot of this seems far fetched, but this forward thinking is what drives new technology and what drives us to create new, faster, better technology. would you have thought the same far fetched belief if in 95 steve had a video of an iphone?

All guesswork, but I'd imagine over the coming users a greater focus will be on power efficiency. The illustrated portable devices could use a combination of power sources, be it solar or draw power from the users body (heat > electricity) or cities could have some form of safe electromagnetic fields that devices can tap into?

ManMountain said,
All guesswork, but I'd imagine over the coming users a greater focus will be on power efficiency. The illustrated portable devices could use a combination of power sources, be it solar or draw power from the users body (heat > electricity) or cities could have some form of safe electromagnetic fields that devices can tap into?

Nah, it's just going to run on oil powered by BP and Shell

Peter van Dam said,

Nah, it's just going to run on oil powered by BP and Shell

I was thinking more along the lines of coal and the tears of baby animals.

they still use keyboards in the future just a bit better

Great little video, and not that far fetched for a lot of the interaction concepts and portable tech. We are getting there

If I live to see half of whats in that video I think I would be happy

Teebor said,
they still use keyboards in the future just a bit better

Great little video, and not that far fetched for a lot of the interaction concepts and portable tech. We are getting there

If I live to see half of whats in that video I think I would be happy


Well the one actual keyboard I saw in the video actual exist, it's the Microsoft arc
And yea, we are probably moving towards a lot that is at least similar to this.

where will we find that much energy for em? so many hologram displays and its not even invented yet xD... so i guess by 10-15 years from now on?

Absolutely.

They made videos like this a few years ago, and phones today have evolved in a total different way than that.

Also, what is the tablet controversy today? as seen in these videos, all that portable crap is useful for CONSUMING media and information but nothing complex, like smartphones, like tablets.

What about creating content in those white-walled offices? Won't look so futuristic, right?

"Wow, phones that communicate with near stuff!" Wi-Fi and NFC, coming 2050 by Microsoft!

No circuitry at all and 3D projected from JUST a transparent plastic plank into thin air? Sure, that's a Windows Phone 9 feature achieved with bacteria, right?

You have to be quite innocent to get excited about this commercial crap aimed at fans and investors.

Now jump ahead a good few years and imagine the same thing but without physical items.

"Unfortunately, no one can be told what the Matrix is. You have to see it for yourself."

Thom said,
Wow Taxi drivers are all going to wear suits in the future

its a digital image from your contacts.. they will really be homeless looking but to you they will look like businessmen

Enron said,
Man, just look at all the stuff Apple is going to invent in the next 10 years!

Invent? You mean "make hip" and rip people off with?

I hope that after this video people that don't understand Metro UI or find it 'boring' realize where it is headed to: a stylish, open, chromeless, invisible UI where the content makes the interface.

Charles Keledjian said,
I hope that after this video people that don't understand Metro UI or find it 'boring' realize where it is headed to: a stylish, open, chromeless, invisible UI where the content makes the interface.

Unfortunatelly the products we are buying today, dont look like that.
So i wont pay for those products, its simple as that.

AKLP said,

Unfortunatelly the products we are buying today, dont look like that.


That's because products like Windows 8 that use Metro UI aren't on the market at the moment.

Talk about information overload. Once the "Look mom! everything slides around randomly and is trying to anticipate my every need!" aspect of it wears off, the "Goddamn it! Everything freaking flat surface in my entire life is trying to vie for my attention all the time! Make it stop!" will begin to set in. It looks cool for a while but in the end, I think people will want a little more organization of their information.

MS Lose32 said,
Talk about information overload. Once the "Look mom! everything slides around randomly and is trying to anticipate my every need!" aspect of it wears off, the "Goddamn it! Everything freaking flat surface in my entire life is trying to vie for my attention all the time! Make it stop!" will begin to set in. It looks cool for a while but in the end, I think people will want a little more organization of their information.

this.

but then I started to concentrate on the ideas. not everything has to be implemented everywhere on every surface. Then pie charts will start to appear on your GF's boobs! lol