Friday, July 20, 2012

Master Plan or Marketing Misfire? Did Microsoft Know What They Created with Kinect?

Hunter Communications recommended reading from:
The New York Times

Link to Article:
Freaks, Geeks and Microsoft: How Kinect Spawned a Commercial Ecosystem

When Microsoft introduced the Kinect motion sensing peripheral for its XBox game console, were they clueless to its possibilities? Or did they secretly know they would set off a wave of off-label innovation by inspired inventors? We are seeing the device morph into a tool for drone navigation, animation filmmaking, robotics and computer control by body movements. This "Guinness world record-holder for fastest selling consumer device of all time" has taken on a life of its own. Was that part of the master plan all along?

Excerpt: "At the International Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive, used his keynote presentation to announce that the company would release a version specifically meant for use outside the Xbox context and to indicate that the company would lay down formal rules permitting commercial uses for the device. A result has been a fresh wave of Kinect-centric experiments aimed squarely at the marketplace: helping Bloomingdale’s shoppers find the right size of clothing; enabling a “smart” shopping cart to scan Whole Foods customers’ purchases in real time; making you better at parallel parking.

An object that spawns its own commercial ecosystem is a thing to take seriously. Think of what Apple’s app store did for the iPhone, or for that matter how software continuously expanded the possibilities of the personal computer. Patent-watching sites report that in recent months, Sony, Apple and Google have all registered plans for gesture-control technologies like the Kinect. But there is disagreement about exactly how the Kinect evolved into an object with such potential. Did Microsoft intentionally create a versatile platform analogous to the app store? Or did outsider tech-artists and hobbyists take what the company thought of as a gaming device and redefine its potential?"  

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