I escaped from our last CES alive – not bad given this was only my second sortie to the Las Vegas for the annual technology love-in and the fact that I was in almost permanent interview mode. It was a blast and going out by hosting the What’s Next booth was a good way to end things. My only regret is I didn’t put my Twitter handle beneath those big Segoe letters (above) in my quest to hang on to the coattails of Frank Shaw’s follower count
I was quietly confident we’d have a good week with the What’s Next booth. I mean, it’s like taking my day job on the road to show it to 120,000 people who are interested in all the same stuff as me. Sure, we only had room for a few installations but I think it helped with the growing sentiment that Microsoft has what we like to call in our team “SGO”…I’m sure you can work out that acronym yourself.
How the What’s Next Booth Came Together
A little history. Last year, we planned to do something similar but for a variety of reasons we pulled the idea so when the invitation to host a booth with “future stuff” was presented to the team, I was only too pleased to fill it. It took a few months of work but we ended up with a space I was delighted with – at least in the plans I was shown. Then I showed up on Sunday night at CES and I was shocked – our space was smaller than I had imagined but what’s more, it wasn’t anywhere near built. It looked like this…yikes I thought, we’re screwed.
…and then the magicians get to work. On the right there is one of them, Rick Osborne, from our crew. He and the team just did their stuff over the next 24 hours and it ended up looking like this:
You can see videos of each of our installations and more on the overall booth from Rob Wolf and I and how we showcased design and natural user interfaces in the booth.
Who Showed Up at the What’s Next Booth
From Tuesday morning to Friday midday, we were packed out, often having to close the booth to host print and broadcast media. I personally spoke with CNN, SyFy, Discovery Channel, Spike TV, NPR, Time, Wired, Gizmodo, Engadget, Mashable, The Verge, BBC World Service, Maximum PC, Geekwire, Seattle Times, VenutreBeat, and Machinima. And then we had a ton of customers coming through wanting to hear about Surface and Kinect for Windows. Auto manufacturers in particular – I spoke with BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Mercedes, and Fiat – and from the retail sector I had a great visit from some old friends at Tesco.
Dean Kamen stopped by three times – he was that excited about the booth, bringing with him congressmen and actresses to and engaging in deep technical discussions.
[Lucy Lawless, Dean Kamen, Steve Clayton]
Alex Kipman, one of the inventors if Kinect showed up and smiled as I talked him through using Kinect – to try on The Printing Dress. In fairness, we both did…
Everyone seemed genuinely interested in what we had to show and by the end of it I had my Surface and FaceCake demos down to a tee and the KinectFusion guys enjoyed throwing a lot of balls at me.
[Surface 2.0 demo props]
What’s Next for What’s Next?
The general sentiment appeared to be that people wanted to see more of this stuff from Microsoft – hence I pointed them to this blog as it’s what I do every day, but it also got me thinking about how we could take some of this show on the road. I wondered how it may be received in Microsoft Stores around the country. Stay tuned on that one….and Toronto may be another part of the What’s Next world tour this summer.
For now, this blog is the place to see what’s coming down the line from Microsoft as I continue to duck in to the offices, labs and research bolt holes that house What’s Next at Microsoft.
I co-produced @Fashionware at CES this year and would love to see Swivel and more when you're in NY. Can we set up some time to meet? http://fashionwareshow.com
Hi Robin - prob best to contact the FaceCake folks direct. www.facecake.com and Tom Chamberlin is your man