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Home is Where the Hub Is

Over the past week, there have been stirrings that Microsoft will come out with a product called Home Hub that will bring its own voice control offering to the market. This is long after Google and Amazon have been in the consumer space for voice.

Microsoft is no slouch in voice. The XBOX Kinect had voice control, Microsoft’s labs have beaten human error rates for voice, and Microsoft has come out with LUIS — it’s own API for voice services over the past year. However, Microsoft is now the underdog in the consumer space and after being the whipping rod of product companies.

A colleague recently reminded me of the infamous Clippy.

Clippy involve machine learning to understand what you were doing and then offer help at a timely moment. It was a disaster. Maybe it was also that Clippy’s animation or rendering typically left a Pentium II useless.

Microsoft’s has learned it’s UI lessons hard and created a stunner product recently in the Surface Studio.

Adding voice to such a device makes sense and blends nicely with the concept of keeping hands on tactile experiences like drawing or zooming.

Perhaps Home Hub will become a refrigerator door type product (think Triby but with a glossy screen) or something designed specifically for family to use, rather than linked to a single account like the Amazon Echo or Google Home. Regardless, I hope that Microsoft continues to take risks in new UIs.

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