Microsoft has revealed its ambitious vision of how our homes could look and function in the future in a short video posted on YouTube.
The 2:07 video, titled "Microsoft's Future Vision: Live, Work, Play," shows Microsoft's vision of the connected home. This concept essentially relates to the idea that our appliances can relay information to each other and themselves, allowing a homeowner to control aspects of his house from a mobile device, for example, and with the appliances themselves intelligently minimizing power usage or communicating information such as "the washing is done" or "there is no milk in the fridge."
Microsoft's video shows a large, wall-integrated touch screen the size of nearly an entire interior house wall on which homeowners can transfer images or information from a mobile device. These images can then be displayed, in the same manner as hanging pictures, on the touch-screen wall. The video then shows a homeowner using the touch-screen wall, via voice activation, to display selected photos in connected digital photograph frames around the house.
A similar touch screen is shown in the kitchen, again touch-enabled and featuring voice activation. This display can help homeowners chose recipes based upon what ingredients they have on hand. The kitchen screen also features a "personal chef" to demonstrate the cooking techniques needed for the particular pre-selected recipe.
Via a screen in the children's bedroom, relatives that are geographically distant can tell bedtime stories to children. Rather than a simple VoIP device, the screen in the children's bedroom also enables them to illustrate the story via a mobile tablet style device and voice activated commands.
The idea of the connected home is also being explored at this year's CeBIT technology fair in Hanover, Germany, from March 5-9. At the technology event organizations such as The Innovation Center for Connected Living and companies such as AOK-Bundesverband are outlining their visions for the home of the future, particularly with regards to digital connected health and household appliance networking.