Microsoft is working on a new video connector update for its Kinect sensor that will bridge the living room and the office.
Microsoft announced plans to deliver the Video Kinect update "shortly" during the company's official launch of its Lync Server 2010 unified-communications product in New York on November 18. Lync is the new name for Office Communications Server and is an integrated instant-messaging, presence and audio/video conferencing product for business users.
(In my multitasking madness, I didn't catch the announcement, though others, like ReadWriteWeb, did.)
Video Kinect, which is under development by the Lync team, will be delivered to all Kinect users as a "seamless update," Microsoft officials said. More from Microsoft Office Senior Vice President Chris Capossela, from the transcript of yesterday's launch:
"What it (Video Connect) allows you to do is see your contact list online. In this case, we're seeing Gurdeep (Singh Pall, the Corporate Vice President of the Lync and Speech group). And so we just go ahead and signal to that, and now at home just using my Kinect, I can see Gurdeep using either Windows Live Messenger or Lync."
Microsoft is touting the Kinect-Lync connection as a way to connect the living room with the work scenario. Pall described this as "the 'dads two kids' scenario."
"We're very happy to bridge the Kinect network, the Windows Live network, the Lync enterprises, Lync Online together to form a really rich, federated network for rich communications," Pall said.
Microsoft has sold more than 1 million Kinects since the sensor was made available at retail on November 4. Lync Server 2010 will be generally available starting December 1. There's no specific date as to when the Kinect Video plug-in will be available to customers.
Earlier this year, company officials said to expect Microsoft and its partners to find ways to use the natural-user interface capabilities of Kinect in business settings in the not-too-distant future. I wonder when we'll see Kinect-Windows PC synergies make it to market, as well.