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Microsoft: Grasping touch in enterprise productivity

  1. #1


    Posts : 22,565
    64-bit Windows 10

    Microsoft: Grasping touch in enterprise productivity


    The future could see touch gestures move beyond use in games and casual consumption, to more applicability in business productivity tasks such as executing commands on data sets by finger-drawing symbols.

    Pinch, drag and zoom are now commonplace gestures, and could be the precedent to using the concept of touch for enterprise and productivity-related tasks. For instance, using one's finger to "circle" some data on a tablet that will automatically display the information into a detailed pie chart, without needing statistics know-how.

    This is the possible future for touch-enabled technology, transcending games and consumer-centric applicability to being useful for businesses as well, said Hon Hsiao-Wuen, managing director of Microsoft Research Asia (MSRA). MSRA is one of Microsoft's 13 research and development (R&D) facilities around the world, and the second largest with about 220 staff.

    Hon, who is based in Beijing where MSRA is located, spoke with ZDNet in an interview Friday here where he was visiting to speak with industry partners.


    Read more at source:
    Microsoft: Grasping touch in enterprise productivity | ZDNet

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  2. #2


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Hi there.

    That sort of stuff would be great also to incorporate into the charting feature of EXCEL. - Touch is also fine for presentations - a lot of people don't realize that not everybody who uses a computer in the workplace is using them at a "typical office desk" in classical desktop mode.

    I read a lot about how people need the classical desktop in the workplace and that touch is of no use -- Well I've got news for them -- Touch DOES have a use and the "classical desktop" isn't the only way to work in an office any more.

    Jobs like I.T support, server administration, basic HR etc will probably need "Classical desktop" but I can see lots of areas in "What If" type scenarios, management / product planning, Engineering, Plant Maintenance scheduling,marketing etc where touch definitely will have a use --and this is an area which will be USER led rather than I.T personnel led.

    In fact the plant maintenance application can be quite productive using touch -- you have (or draw) a schematic of the equipment to be fixed -- say insulators on an electric pylon on a transmission grid. You note on the schematic what the breakdown report is -- drag it to say a DB of some sort where maintenance can be scheduled with service notes sent out to the relevant 3rd party customers and maintenance engineers to get the job done.

    The old way you'd have to go through some ERP system say SAP / ORACLE / etc, read the malfunction reported by the engineer, enter a load of equipment numbers, manually mess around having to enter loads of data using some complex plant maintenance screens and possibly enter a whole host of other transactions to get the job done.

    The Touch approach could generate very efficient workflows with far less effort. Will be a while yet before these scenarios are implemented but that's IMO the way of the future.

    I've changed my opinion about W8 -- yes for traditional "Officy" jobs with traditional applications then the desktop is fine -- but I can see touch being used considerably more in the office - and this needs not only the OS but also the new applications to be written to take advantage of this type of technology with overlap between the two still being maintained for a considerable while yet.

    One has to envision a whole new method of working and once you get the hang of it - it's quite productive.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  3. #3


    Posts : 1,770
    Windows Phone 6, Windows CE 5, Windows Vista x32, Windows 7 x32/x64, Windows 8 x64


    Touch is already being used in many activities like cash registers and checkouts, there's nothing new here, but it's function specific. To circle some figures with your finger to generate a pie chart, requires activation of a graph function, otherwise you could just as easily be moving rows, columns, figures around or the like. The concept described is applicable to a pen, mouse, eye movements, anything, not just touch.
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  4. #4


    Hafnarfjörður IS
    Posts : 4,376
    Linux Centos 7, W8.1, W7, W2K3 Server W10


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray8 View Post
    Touch is already being used in many activities like cash registers and checkouts, there's nothing new here, but it's function specific. To circle some figures with your finger to generate a pie chart, requires activation of a graph function, otherwise you could just as easily be moving rows, columns, figures around or the like. The concept described is applicable to a pen, mouse, eye movements, anything, not just touch.
    Hi there

    You've just proved the point.

    Note also once you start mentioning eye movements and the like - then we also can make computers and the applications also very much more usable to people with all sorts of impairments.

    My only frustration with some type of Touch screens is when you want to buy a railway ticket -- and it's amazing how many people have trouble understanding the basic letter sequence of the Latin Alphabet (in UK particularly) -- Why it takes people 10 mins to buy a ticket to YORK for instance -- you just stand next in the queue and wonder What on Earth are they doing as they scroll endlessly up and down through the entire list of UK railway stations - and YORK is a major destination !!. - In Germany people seem to be much more used to this type of application - and as well as the UK Germany has a whole slew of non European people as well for whom the Latin alphabet isn't their first type of alphabet (Russians etc).

    So some applications aren't well written I agree but expect to see more and more touch functions made available even in older "classic applications".

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  5. #5


    Posts : 1,770
    Windows Phone 6, Windows CE 5, Windows Vista x32, Windows 7 x32/x64, Windows 8 x64


    That's why I think the emphasis on touch with Windows 8 is overrated, it's just one means of interacting with a device, not the be all and end all of interface design. However, it almost appears as if Microsoft has deemed this as the be all and end all, as that's all they seem to emphasise.
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  6. #6


    Posts : 1,353
    Windows 8 Pro/Windows 8 Pro/Windows 7 64 Bit64Bit/Windows XP


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray8 View Post
    That's why I think the emphasis on touch with Windows 8 is overrated, it's just one means of interacting with a device, not the be all and end all of interface design. However, it almost appears as if Microsoft has deemed this as the be all and end all, as that's all they seem to emphasise.
    It seems to me a lot of people already have problems interacting with Windows 8 so just imagine if they would have put in even more capabilities, disaster.

    Look I've got no idea what MS has in mind for the future and don't really care, but one thing I can see is that Windows 8 is the way forward. Touch is the way for now, but I can see more possibilities for Windows 8 where I couldn't for Windows 7. I was actually getting bored with Windows, where now I'm getting excited, even my wife is spending more time on the computer.

    In her case it's because it boots up a lot faster than XP, likes the easy tiles and the ability to go easily to the desktop when she wants. She also seems to grasp the left side task bar with open apps easier, and she likes the ease of the store to look for games and apps where she doesn't have to get out onto the nasty web to look for programmes.

    Windows 8 seems to me at least, to be the way to innovate further and down the track get rid of decades old garbage. Of course I could be wrong about all this, maybe it's just like some say, Windows 7 with a new start screen bolted on top, done over a long weekend just to annoy old timers.
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  7. #7


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    If you want to practice, take a part time job at McDo.
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  8. #8


    Posts : 1,353
    Windows 8 Pro/Windows 8 Pro/Windows 7 64 Bit64Bit/Windows XP


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    If you want to practice, take a part time job at McDo.
    Maybe somebody should have said that to Steve Wozniak and Bill Gates.
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  9. #9


    Oregon
    Posts : 214
    Windows 8 Pro w/Media Center, Windows RT


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray8 View Post
    That's why I think the emphasis on touch with Windows 8 is overrated, it's just one means of interacting with a device, not the be all and end all of interface design. However, it almost appears as if Microsoft has deemed this as the be all and end all, as that's all they seem to emphasise.
    While I agree that touch is just one way we can interact with a device, I don't believe "Microsoft has deemed this as the be all and end all." The marketplace has made that decision and Microsoft is just reacting (and late in doing so) to consumer demand. Lets not forget that Apple has sold over 100 million iPads, there have been 30 to 40 million Android tablets sold, and Gartner claims 169.2 million smartphones were sold in Q3 2012 alone. That’s a lot of touch only devices being used. Consumers know how to use touch and like it. There is no going back IMO.
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  10. #10


    Adelaide
    Posts : 1,338
    Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Linux Mint 17.1 MATE (64 bit)

    Predictive Features?


    Quote Originally Posted by Ray8 View Post
    Touch is already being used in many activities like cash registers and checkouts, there's nothing new here, but it's function specific. To circle some figures with your finger to generate a pie chart, requires activation of a graph function, otherwise you could just as easily be moving rows, columns, figures around or the like. The concept described is applicable to a pen, mouse, eye movements, anything, not just touch.
    The worst thing, with the scenario you highlight, is that software makers will introduce predictive features, so that the PC will try to guess what you want to do.
    Currently, those features always seem to do the wrong thing.

    The context activated Ribbon is a classic example.
    When I want to use it, it can't be found.
    When it can hinder my activities, it pops up.

    In both cases, I need to perform extra actions to summon, or dismiss it.
    On a widescreen monitor, they should always be visible (or you should be able to add them to a "Startup" list).
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Microsoft: Grasping touch in enterprise productivity
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