The Next Big Thing ExtraBrian Cooley interviews Microsoft's Julie Larson-Green on sensors, services, and new ways of computing and design.
-So, Julie, first of all, what's the most exciting thing about this sensor-based era, Xbox and connective, then a big part of getting the vision out there to consumers? -Yes. -What should they understand next? -Oh, I just think it's a news-- a start of a new way of computing. So, we have had new, different kinds of input models, we've had inflections in technology like a mouse. It's been-- there's a big inflections like touch, there's a big inflections like, I think, voice, gesture. Vision is also starting to come together with different-- with services and technology in devices and in the battery life. But once you-- -Yeah. -get all those things, you'd be able to do some really amazing things. -Now, we're seeing some very different designs of products as well, because I imagine when things are sensing, you need to shape them differently, comport them to the user differently. What are some of the things you've learned through Xbox, through Surface? You've been through this a couple of times now. -Sure. Sure. There's a lot of devices that are trying to be the one-size-fits-all, and then there is the ones that are trying to be unique, individual, single-purpose devices, and I think we're all still trying to figure out exactly what it means to be wearables. It's gonna be different for everyone. I think it's about finding the problems to solve for people. And people are all different, and it's gonna be different solutions for different problems. -Fair to say the jury is still out on all-in-one versus many discreet devices? -I think so. I mean, you'd see the magic of something like, you know, [unk] or Shine or even when the Kindle first came out, it was just a single-use purpose device, and it captured your imagination. And then we start to add more to it, and some of the magic kind of goes away after that. And so, I think as you start to see some of the really interesting ideas, no one has really hit yet on the exact, you know, scenario that's gonna make everyone go out and get it yet. But it doesn't always have to start with a big bang. I think, a lot of times, technology starts as-- you know, like iPhone. It's a bad phone. But it became something really interesting, and a good phone, over time. So it's not something that's, you know, still gonna be one big bang. -Let's talk about the services, the data comes off these sensing products and then the services we create from them. If you could tell the average user what's the fundamental difference and benefit of having something sense you that's gonna make the services we use better, what's-- -Sure. -the big idea? -Well, I think-- there are many big ideas, but one of the ones I think is around authentication. Because one of the most onerous things about using your device today-- I mean, the pen makes it pretty easy, but it's being able to go and, you know, start your car and you're supposed to find your keys. -Yeah. -They have the sensor in there. -Keys have changed-- -But if we-- -but we still have keys. -And then you have a sensor on your keys to find your keys. It tells your phone to find your key. -Yeah. -So there's gonna be new ways to authenticate that use your personally identifiable information that's private to you so no one else can steal your car, open your house or do any things that aren't really about you. I think that's gonna unlock a lot of things for people. -Yeah. There's a lot of very small tediums that we go through everyday. -Right. -And they sound small: to unlock your-- -Right. -door with a key, open your car, have to enter that unlock code on your phone. But how many hundreds or even thousands of times do we do that a day now-- -Sure. -to just access our stuff? -Or bring it back to-- you know, we're talking our Xbox a minute ago, the remote. Right? The remote with a magical thing that changed channels. And then it got all those inputs with the different things that were connected to your TV, and it became an onerous stuff. -Yeah. -And so finding ESPN HD was so difficult. And now, with the invention of new kinds of input models with voice, you can say, you know, "Xbox, watch ESPN." It will go right to it. So-- -It's more natural. -More natural, more elegant-- -Intuitive. -and more about what you're trying to get done, and less about just having a capability of being the device. -You can focus on the end-- -Right. -and not so much on the means. -Right. -Great. Excellent. That's great, Julie. -Thank you. -Perfect. Thank you very much.