Back in the early days of Microsoft, our mission was to put a PC on every desk and in every home — an ambitious goal for the time. Behind that was the conviction that computer technology had the innate capacity to enrich peoples’ lives. The trick was applying it in a way that made sense, solved a problem, or generally made life better.
When dramatic technology changes are on the horizon, just describing a possible future isn’t enough – sometimes you have to show it and let people experience it themselves. Over the years, Microsoft has created immersive showcases that show how future technologies could shape our world – first through the Microsoft Home, which opened its doors in 1994, and later through facilities like the Envisioning Lab, which explored possibilities for the workplace of the future.
This work continues at our new Envisioning Center, which is all about imagining how technology could be used to make life easier and more enjoyable, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in revolutionary ones. The Envisioning Center is located here on our Redmond campus and it’s been rebuilt from the ground up to incorporate our newest ideas and latest technologies. Today we announced its opening.
The facility encompasses scenarios at home, at work and places in between, and is inspired by our product teams, Microsoft Research and by the trends across the industry. I like to think of it as a concept car that allows us to share what it might be like to experience future technologies with visitors, get their feedback, tweak, remix and discuss. It’s all part of advancing the trends we think have the greatest potential.
As part of today’s opening, we put together a short video that gives a sense of what’s inside – and while none of these ideas are meant to be predictive about our products, they do highlight some of the key trends we’re investing in, such as machine learning and NUI. They also give you a sense of where these technologies could lead us over the next five to ten years.
Over the course of the next few days you’ll learn more about some of the work we’re doing to improve our understanding of how people interact with technology and some of the breakthroughs we’ve made. In the meantime, sit back and get a glimpse of our vision for the future.