22 Comments

Summary:

There may be many questions about Microsoft’s decision to buy Skype, but one thing is for sure: It can take video conferencing video calling to a whole different level, thanks to Kinect. If you watch these videos, you can easily imagine the future of video calls.

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There may be many questions about Microsoft’s decision to buy Skype, but one thing is for sure — it can take video conferencing and video calling to a whole different level, thanks to Kinect. If you watch these videos, you can easily imagine the future of video-based calls.

You can make and receive high-quality video via the big screen televisions using broadband-connected Xbox 360 with Kinect and Microsoft Messenger. Replace the Messenger with Skype, and suddenly Kinect-based calls can go anywhere.

They can start at home and end up on any device: Android, iPhone, iPad and someday on Windows Phone 7-powered phones as well. Same goes for calls emerging from your phones and ending up on the big screen.

Even more immersive calling? Sure why not. At the bottom of this page is the video of an MIT Media Lab project that shows how Kinect can be used for immersive video conference calls. Microsoft’s Skype, Apple’s Facetime and Google Voice are suddenly competing for our communication minutes via video calling.

Roll Tape.

Kinected Conference from Lining (Lizzie) Yao on Vimeo.

  1. People don’t care that much about video calls, certainly not enough to go out and buy an xbox and a kinect. So ok, their installed based of mostly gamers can use it (although unlikely, since they want to use their screen for their game, not to look at each other’s face), but how much revenue and profit will that be worth?

    I love the video chat capability I have on my android and iOS devices, but I never use them. I don’t know anybody else who does, either. Videoconferencing is useful for business meetings, and they buy expensive VC systems, but they’re not going to start buying Xboxes. So who will be paying off that $7B investment?

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    1. In fact I know a lot of people who use Skype videochat to see & speak with relatives-friends abroad. And it also happens that a considerable proportion of these people happen to have Xbox+ Kinect. In my opinion, the combination of Skype+Kinect should be the next natural step.

      Maybe people will not buy a Xbox+Kinect to use Skype’s VC capabilities, but a proportion of existing Xbox-Live users (I believe the base is currently 40m) could be tempted to get a Kinect for VC reasons in addition to gaming given that they are already Skype users.

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  2. Neil Fairbrother Monday, May 9, 2011

    Bandwidth. We need more bandwidth. Fibre to the home will do very nicely, thank you.

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    1. I got bandwidth, lots of it. It is just metered and you gotta pay for it ;-)

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  3. Wow – and to think I’ve been able to video chat for free with up to 4 people at a time with my standard computer hardware and software for years – on my Mac! What an innovative company MSFT is! BTW – MSFT, with their several BILLION dollar a YEAR R&D budget didn’t invent Kinect, they bought it. Not very impressed – most of what was demoed was pretty blah and buggy.

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  4. Most expensive webcam ever.

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  5. I am in Melbourne, Australia and having fiber connection to my home and reaching 100Mbps connections. So I’ve got bandwidth but I never use it for video calls. As simple as that. Agree with KenG I think big organization do care about the advanced video conferencing features but don’t think they go an purchase Xbox to do the deal.

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  6. Kinect SDK for Windows will be out soon. So this is not just for Xbox. Windows 8 with Skype and Kinect integration will be very interesting. This would also boost Windows 8 tablet adoption.

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  7. “certainly not enough to go out and buy an xbox and a kinect.”

    That is putting it mildly.

    The Xbox 360 is the biggest piece of garbage console in the history of gaming with its 50-60 percent failure rate, absurdly loud noise due to its shoddy design, etc.

    Kinect is nothing more than a poor ripoff of Sony PS2 era Eye Toy technology for motion tracking. The Kinect technology is so bad that the company that made it was passed over by Apple, Nintendo, and Sony before Microsoft in desperation bought them.

    The only people dumb enough to buy Kinect units are Xbox owners who have nothing else to buy for their consoles. Everyone who got suckered into buy one talk about how it is gathering dust in their junk closet(right next to their old and equally useless HD-DVD Xbox 360 addon).

    It is a clear indication of just what a desperation move by Ballmer this Skype purchase is if websites are actually trying to use Microsoft’s piece of garbage Kinect console addon as some sort of rationalization for this waste of 8.5 billion.

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    1. Can’t find one fact in your post. You should get job in gov’t.

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    2. Peter Cradlesky Thursday, May 12, 2011

      This is pure and simple MS Bashing. Back up your facts before simply bashing on a technology (or company) you don’t like.

      Kinect is based on software technology developed internally by Rare, a subsidiary of Microsoft Game Studios owned by Microsoft, and on range camera technology by Israeli developer PrimeSense, which interprets 3D scene information from a continuously-projected infrared structured light. It was incubated by Microsoft at the start.

      The XBox and the Kinect are FAR from beeing garbage. Sure, the early versions of the XBox 360 had their problems, but the releases in the last years are very stable. I got mine in 2008…and it’s still running like a charm. Noisy? Pure whinning I think. Never bothered me. And again, the newest version is very quiet.

      Kinect is a very nice product. The Wii initiated the movement, but I had the chance to touch the 3 main technologies (Wii, PS3 Move and Kinect). The Kinect is by FAR the most complelling and fun to play with. It’s in early stages, but still is AWESOME. Playing Dance Central on the XBox + Kinect is much more exciting than Just dance 2 on the Wii – where you could simply sit down and just move your hand to have a high-score!!!

      Microsoft made bad software and hardware, but also good software and hardware. kinect falls in the latest in my opinion. Be more objective please.

      Peter.

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    3. Wow I must have stepped into a time machine because this Xbox bashing rhetoric is about 3 or 4 years outdated. Way to keep up with the times Sony fanboy. RROD, noise, HD DVD??? Seriously? Check a calendar; it’s not 2007 anymore.

      As if Microsoft bought Skype to sell Xbox. The Xbox 360 has been the top selling console in America for the past 11 months. Every single month since the launch of Kinect they’ve broken all previous years sales records for Xbox 360. The Kinect is in the Guiness Book for being the fastest selling consumer electronics device in history. Kinect Sports has sold over 3 million copies worldwide already and Dance Central is quickly approaching the 3 million mark.

      Adding Skype to Xbox matters because 55 million people already have an Xbox 360 in their home. So now everyone with a Skype enabled smartphone, TV, blu-ray player, or computer can chat with the 55 million Xbox consoles in the world. (Remember that Skype is both audio and video chat). This makes Skype the predominant chat application in the living room, bed room, and on the smartphone. And frankly it makes Apple’s Facetime and Google Talk a joke. Skype is on Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone. Google Talk is only on Android. Facetime is only on iOS. Skype is on millions of web enabled set top boxes, televisions, blu-ray players, and game consoles. Google Talk is on? Facetime? They have no presence in the living room.

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    4. Either you are a troll or are smoking some serious stuff. Or your mommy no hug you?

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  8. I am more interested to learn how this would benefit Microsoft.. rather how it benefits both companies..

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  9. I agree with Om. A lot is possible with Skype + Kinect (Kinect for Windows, not only Xbox).

    The cost of Kinect will only come down, and could likely will be less than US$99 by the holiday season, thus increasing the already incredible proliferation of the Kinect sensor.

    The technology behind Kinect can radically disrupt video communication, because the 3D sensing elements of Kinect can be used to enhance, augment, correct the video stream. The Kinected Conference from MIT is the tip of the iceberg, and Kinect (and Kinect-like technology) will ultimately make video much more useful.

    For an example of a company working in this space, and doing some incredible things, check out Nuvixa [www.nuvixa.com]. They have released a Sneak Peek of their upcoming Stage Presence product for Kinect on Windows which uses the 3D sensing elements of Kinect to create a very robust virtual green screen, which can be used to create content, for use with Skype, for driving WebEx-like meetings (you are on embedded on your PPT). [Disclaimer: I work for Nuvixa]

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    1. Sanjay,
      The cost of Kinnect belies the true cost: XBox+Kinnect is $300-$400, and a decent enough broadband connection to make TV-calling worthwhile is probably over $75/mo (this assumes US market, but we are talking about MSFT here).

      Unless the situation on broadband caps is changed (perhaps MS can get a deal with incumbents like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T) there is no way any of this disruptive tech will make a dent in the market.

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      1. Nuvixa only requires the Kinect camera, which connects to any PC through USB. It does not require the XBox

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  10. KinectWhack Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Why do Telepresence comes to mind?. It’s because they stole the idea from Cisco. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr …..

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