Microsoft Epigraph and the battle for your kitchen worktop
Its clear to see from products like Media Center, Surface, Zune, XBox & Home Server that Microsoft are trying to become part of people’s home life as well as their work life. I remember a quote from Bill Gates recently (can’t find it right now) where he said that in the 90s Microsoft made a big bet on the enterprise, now they’re doing it in the home. Something like that anyway.
Today I saw something new that has come out of Microsoft Research Cambridge. its called Epigraph and BBC News states that Epigraph is "an interface that allows family members to ‘post’ pictures and messages to each other via their mobile phones". Basically a social network for you and your family members. Sounds fairly boring right? Well it becomes slightly (only very slightly) more interesting if you watch the video which shows some fairly cool integration between every day communication tools and nascent touch technologies.
I note from that short video that the word "kitchen" was mentioned at least twice and that piqued my interest. I am wondering now if we will see Epigraph deployed on the rumoured Microsoft Kitchen device that is currently under development. Assuming Microsoft Kitchen does come our way soon I’ll make the following predictions about it:
- This won’t be a regular computer. The keyboard and mouse will be usurped by a touchscreen interface.
- Its intended to replace pen and paper as a means for recording shopping lists, to-do lists, family notice boards and upcoming events.
- As such you can bet that it will be an interface into Windows Live Calendar and quite possibly Listas too.
- It’ll run Windows (dur) but you won’t actually know it because it will use Windows Embedded.
- It will essentially be a lightweight client that can be managed remotely from Windows Home Server.
- It will connect to cloud-based services. Software+services lives!
- The shopping lists that you write at home will be accessible on your shopping trolley (don’t laugh – this is already happening)
Let’s not forget that the real battle here is for advertising dollars. If Microsoft get their products in front of your eyes all day long then that’s a huge piece of the forthcoming $80billion advertising pie that they can command.
In other related news, while researching for this blog entry I came across another news item which might warrant your attention. Microsoft are partnering with a german company to collect data about power usage in your home and store that data in the cloud. Its starting to become clear what those big ass containers are for.
Beware, Microsoft want to be in every nook and cranny in your house.