From the Inside: March/April 2013
What does the Future Client/UI look like? What should you start considering now in your application design?
We all would like to keep our console based applications (Green screen), but you also know that you have to evolve beyond this. We have been creating the Web UIs and the Desktop GUI for years now, but are these the only UIs to consider?
Your tablet will become your phone, and your phone will become your tablet. Your laptop will become your desktop, and your desktop will become your Phone. Your Phone will become your wallet, your ID, your office, your TV, your life.
Did I just hear a HUH?" Let's try that again. Everyone seems to agree the Desktop is dead… Long live the Desktop. There are just some things that you can't do without a screen or keyboard, or just a larger space to do things in… you know that desk/cubical thing.
What is really important at the desk? A large presentation device (monitor) and a high speed input device (keyboard). From there, you need a processor to handle the Input and Output.
Enter the personal cloud, enterprise cloud, and public cloud. Your computer no longer has to be a local device. You can access your files, programs, and information from anywhere in the world using a WiFI, Cellular, or Internet connection.
This should be the direction your enterprise is moving now! WebApp, HybirdApps, VDI, RDP, VNC… there are so many ways to do it now, why aren't you considering it?
The only thing that is lacking is a good connection or dock to an external display and input device or devices. This is the direction that Microsoft is taking the desktop to tablet to smartphone interfaces with Windows 8 UI.
To a degree, MultiValue software is already written as cloud-based. Everything runs on a server that can be accessed from anywhere. The only things we are lacking is the appropriate UI — web, tablet, phone, console, desktop, etc.
The cloud concept is not likely to go away, and will just become more important. While most people think of Cloud Computing as putting your software and data somewhere outside of the office, they forget that Cloud Computing is more about easy management and access from everywhere, not run from everywhere.
Natural User Interface
What is this? Well, you know all the new TVs that allow you to change the channel or increase the volume by waiving at the TV? Or the Kinect Game console system? Or the cool user pinch and swipe interface for your cell phones that we take for granted?
Those are all Natural User Interfaces. Combine the NUI with augmented reality, and you now have a three dimensional area that will consist of swiping and tapping the screen, virtual keyboard, and multiple rotating screens… Tony Stark's garage and Minority Report, here we come.
Right now, this is just fun. Augmented Reality on the surface looks more
like a gee-whiz and "it's just a toy" concept. Much like VR was years ago. It requires you to use your smartphone's GPS and camera to get any kind of information. Then the phone will display overlays on the real world.
Look at the business use for this… Service techs and manuals. Customer and job history by just walking in the door.
Keep in mind that while Augmented Reality is not just displaying cool 3D graphics on top of real world, but also reacting to the environment. Height, depth, location, temperature, etc… We usually extend the output that these triggers would cause into something that is visual, but nothing says it has to be presented over the top of real world images.
The only reason Augmented Reality hasn't gone beyond the fun and cool animated graphics, is because we are missing a natural easy to use visual interface to make the Augmented and the Reality seamless.
Enter the Google Glass project.
Google Glasses is a stepping stone to the monitor and keyboard-less office. With Google Glass the enterprise will be able to take Augmented Reality and project anything, anywhere, and then provide the Natural User Interface to create a virtual keyboard or input method.
If you thought talking on a Bluetooth headset while walking through the airport got you odd looks, wait until you start waiving your hands and smacking people in the arms or head by accident.