Inside Microsoft's Kinect, and... Microbe?

 
 

A couple of good stories on the radar today. Wired magazine has an in-depth feature on Microsoft's Kinect wireless-controllerless video game... uh... controller. The one where you jump around in front of the TV instead of sitting still and moving only your thumbs.

The story is worth a read, as is most any story in which the reporters get access to the actual people doing the work over in Redmond, rather than their group vice presidents and whatnot who get to take credit before jostling closer to the corner office. In this case, Alex Kipman, the Brazil-born project manager whose team developed Kinect (and naming it Project Natal after Kipman's hometown).

And speaking of the corner office, the New York Times' Bits blog reports on a recent meeting between Steve Ballmer and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen. The hint: Microsoft's going to try and buy Adobe, the maker of the Flash web animation software (with which Microsoft's own Silverlight is a competitor of sorts) as well as the Creative Suite graphic design product line (PhotoShop, Illustrator, Acrobat and so on). The goal: to compete with Apple in the mobile market. (Let's see: Windows Phone 7 is coming out, and has an uphill battle against iPhone's five-year head start. Apple famously won't let Flash on the iPhone, so... enemy of my enemy is my new BFF. What? Oh, there's also something about Google, as in "Google means never having to worry about another antitrust probe.")

The fiery posters over at Slashdot.org (no love lost between them and either company) have already taken to calling the prospective merged company Microbe. Cute. But it'll be anything but "micro" if it comes to pass. Nor will the price tag, which has been rumored to be in the neighborhood of $20 billion.

I wonder if this has anything to do with Ballmer's "legacy" issue.

 

Sponsored

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Smart Glasses Improving Workflow for HVAC Projects

Wearable technology increases productivity for HVAC technicians
 
 

Sponsored by MacDonald-Miller

XOEye technologies created a smart glasses tool, built specifically for field technicians to capture real-time documentation. When MacDonald-Miller heard about the new wearable technology platform, they saw it as an opportunity to be the first mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest to implement these smart glasses into their services.

We interviewed MacDonald-Miller’s Chief Information Officer, Bradd Busick, to hear first-hand how this new technology will be integrated into services and how it will streamline HVAC projects.

What are the capabilities of the smart glasses? 

The smart glasses, MacLens, capture and stream high fidelity audio and visual content, enabling first-person point-of-view (POV). MacLens includes a camera, earpiece, and microphone — all built into a single headset, capturing real-time documentation of equipment, work performed, and recommendations being made. 

How does it work for technicians?

Once service techs arrive onsite, they put their MacLens glasses on to create an intro video communicating where they are, a brief diagnosis or repair identification, and a summary recap for the customer. After the site visit is complete, the tech then uploads the content to the call summary report on the customer portal, where customers can access it at their convenience.

What is the benefit for the end-user?

Building owners and property managers have to trust their maintenance provider is actually doing the work they claim. Most building owners will never see the work being done on their properties, but they will receive a list of recommendations for changes and a bill. It’s a relationship built on trust. MacLens adds a level of transparency and customer experience where we are able to show in real-time what is happening on roofs and in mechanical rooms. MacLens embeds audio and video content into each summary report, providing customers with the peace of mind that comes with unbridled transparency.

What is the vision behind this technology roll-out?

The goal is to enhance the customer connection to the services provided and also enable technicians to connect with each other. There are incredible operational efficiencies that enable mobility and collaboration through telepresence and increased accountability.

How will they affect the next wave of HVAC technicians?

Not only will MacLens increase workflow productivity, but it also offers training opportunities and safety benefits without adding any additional work to service technicians. This is a major educational advantage. Now expert journeyman can train apprentices simply by walking through their daily tasks, recording those sessions and sharing them in our learning management system — it’s the next evolution of training!

See MacLens in action here.

MacDonald-Miller Facility Solutions is a full-service, design-build, mechanical contractor in the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about MacDonald-Miller’s recent projects.