Technology giant Microsoft has announced that it plans to develop a new interactive whiteboard product, called ‘SketchInsight,’ With SketchInsight, the user sketches on the board then the system either guesses what they are drawing, or turns the sketch into a high resolution graphic, to be featured as an image on a website or within a written article, for example.
They plan to show off a prototype at the ‘Techfest’ event, where they will also showcase a number of other products that they currently have in development. While Microsoft themselves admit that the development of this product is in the very early stages, tech industry analysts have suggested that such a system would enjoy huge demand were it to ever come to fruition.
Although it certainly seems like an exciting proposition, it is worth remembering that throughout the last decade there have been numerous instances of interactive whiteboards and systems promised to be great, but ultimately failed to deliver.
The principle of the product is that as computers get more intuitive, we can use them in a more interactive way to find reports and data. So, for example, drawing a dollar bill could bring up currency information, or an infographic related to the state of the economy.
While Microsoft is already getting plaudits for coming up with such a product, one has to question whether or not it is really wise to do so. The company is currently spending almost $10billion a year on research, and apart from its Xbox gaming console, is seeing its products snubbed in favor of alternatives from Apple, Samsung, and Google. Of those three companies, only Samsung exceeds Microsoft on research and development spending, which tells you a lot about the problems currently facing the company.
The bigger issue here is not necessarily financial, but to what extent they are able to put a patent on and protect their idea. An interactive whiteboard is not a new innovation, nor is something more general such as ‘using a screen to create graphics by hand.’ We have to assume that there is something in place that will ensure that Microsoft is the only company who can develop such a product, otherwise the competitors mentioned above would likely enter the market themselves, and in all honesty probably do a much better job and come up with a product of higher quality.
Microsoft’s problem is a simple one, and stems from the fact that Windows 8 and their Surface tablets have not captured the imagination at all. Yes, people have bought the new operating system and hardware, but there has not been the stampeding into retailers or websites struggling to cope with traffic that we would see upon launch of the new iPhone or Samsung Galaxy handset.
They have done a great job with ‘SketchInsight’ in terms of building anticipation and getting people to look at them in a positive light, but by using a product that is, by their own admission, years in the making, Microsoft could well be riding a wave today, to set themselves up for the fall tomorrow.
Author Bio: This article is written Robert of Jaguar PC.