Microsoft’s Xbox One is the company’s latest upcoming product, a gaming console with a slant towards home theatre integration and making Smart TVs look like dumb devices. The company has now said that the Xbox One’s abilities reach far beyond what they originally envisioned at their two press conferences detailing the console and its abilities.
Microsoft Xbox MVP and the Director of Consumer Camp, Marques Lyons, told small businesses that the Xbox One could be used for productivity in the workplace.
In an open letter titled “Believe it or not, Xbox is taking care of business”, the company espoused the multi-tasking abilities of the Xbox One and made a note of how Kinect 2.0, and the fact that it runs a Windows 8 kernel, made productivity on the console a possibility.
Its a stab in the gut to Sony’s Playstation 3, which had a feature that allowed users to install a secondary Linux operating system on the console for use as a personal computer.
Said Lyons; “What is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device can be just as enticing for you and your small business. In fact, it’s entirely justifiable to make the Xbox One a business expense. The Xbox One, priced at $499, is an affordable option for small business owners, as there are many features built into the console that could help it rival even the most modest of video conferencing and networking platforms.”
The key features of the Xbox One that will be interesting to businesses are the following;
Skype – great for multi-person chatting. The Xbox One’s wide-angled 1080p camera built into the Kinect is great for collaborative meetings and presentations.
SkyDrive – you can quickly view documents and presentations stored on SkyDrive on a big screen TV or projector in your office. It is suggested that Kinect voice and hand gestures can be used during your presentations. Also via Internet Explorer you can use the Office Web Apps to make edits. Microsoft says this will help you be “free from tethering that PC around” and also Kinect helps you be “free of clickers and light pens to use your hands to for more expressive gestures”.
Internet Explorer and Office Web Apps – using the Xbox One with IE, a wireless keyboard and mouse will allow you to edit your documents with ease. Or “snap IE to the side while using SkyDrive to present sketches you’re working on”.
Wi-Fi Direct – print, share, synch and display with Wi-Fi direct compatible devices from your Xbox One. Lyons says that it would be possible to “send your presentation to the TV, use Smartglass to navigate through the PowerPoint presentation, use your tablet to control Internet Explorer” using this “game-changing” new technology.
This kind of functionality does sound very cool and if the voice operation feature works as advertised, this may actually find some use in companies already entrenched in Microsoft’s Office 365 and Skydrive ecosystem. The mouse and keyboard functionality is certainly going to draw some gamers to Microsoft’s camp, especially if those can be used for games as well.
The capabilities of Kinect alone are incredible, but it remains to be seen whether anyone will actually pick up an Xbox One on the basis that they can use some of these features in the workplace. Users are far more likely to buy a Kinect 2.0 unit for a PC, which is more customisable and is capable of being far more secure than a gaming console.