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10 Years Of Microsoft Home

Staff Writer
Published: 2004-09-28

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Fresh Additions to the Microsoft Home Build on a Decade-Long Effort to Change the Way People Think About Technology for Living.

Microsoft celebrated 10 years of changing the way people think about technology in the home by displaying new technologies that may shape the way people live, work and play in their homes. Microsoft has equipped its concept facility, called the Microsoft Home, with new technologies and real-world scenarios that demonstrate how software might help people better manage their busy lives, stay in touch with friends and family, and enjoy more of each day.

Launched in 1994, the Microsoft Home was one of the first facilities dedicated to exploring how people experience technology in their daily lives. The Microsoft Home simulates environments such as the kitchen, family room, entertainment room and bedroom, collecting a broad range of technologies, products and services in each space to examine how software can improve people's lives.

"The Microsoft Home is one of the important ways that we are able to explore how software can meet people's future domestic needs," said Jonathan Cluts, director of the Consumer and Prototyping Strategy Team at Microsoft. "We see the Home as an organic, living space, where we can bring our most innovative ideas to life and determine how they will succeed for families, customers and our partners."

New additions to the foyer, entertainment room, home office and bedroom showcase Microsoft's commitment to developing software that meets people's needs today and is engineered for their dreams tomorrow.

Among the key technology scenarios showcased in the Microsoft Home are the following:

* Seamless displays throughout the Home show calendars, messages, to- do lists, reminders and recipes on a variety of surfaces including walls, countertops and appliances.

* Gesture recognition allows guests to interact naturally with the Home using hand movements. This technology is incorporated into a closet mirror in a teenager's bedroom and provides information regarding clothing options, such as whether an item of clothing is available, is clean or matches another piece of clothing.

* Interactive gaming, which is part of the Home's entertainment room, makes guests feel a part of the game by letting them compete with real opponents worldwide and use devices such as a Tablet PC or digital camera in the Home.

* Smart card technology is used in the foyer, office and teen room to show how family members can have access to personalized information, exclusive digital music experiences and corporate intranets.

* Voice command recognition software allows residents to control items in the Home and receive personalized information. They can use natural speech and simple commands, and the Home responds by delivering information tailored for their specific needs or activities. Voice command software allows residents to customize spaces throughout the Home to suit their moods and preferences, control music and temperature settings, and turn on the lights.

Over the past 10 years, several ideas that were first tested as prototypes in the Microsoft Home have found their way into people's homes around the world. Some examples of technologies that began in the Home and have been embodied in consumer products are the Tablet PC, Windows XP Media Center Edition and digital music.

"From digital picture frames and distributed digital media to the Tablet PC, the immersive demonstrations of future lifestyles developed at the Microsoft Home have proved to be an effective way to communicate our vision and drive the industry forward. I am proud to see the impact of the work I started 10 years ago," said Craig Mundie, senior vice president and chief technical officer of Advanced Strategies and Policy at Microsoft.

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