Using Touch in Line-of-Business Apps

Category : Dynamics, Geeking Out
Date : February 24, 2009

I was mesmerized by this simple but cool Microsoft Surface demo at last fall’s Convergence conference in Copenhagen.  Lachlan Cash was kind enough to let me post the video here as a great example of how touch can transform visualization and manipulation of complex line-of-business information. 

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The demo during Kirill Tatarinov’s keynote session shows top-down heat-map visualization of the bins in a warehouse.  The color-coding gives an immediate view into the status of the warehouse with blue showing cold (i.e. bins with low pick rates) and red showing hot (i.e. bins with high pick rates).  Multi-touch is fully supported on Surface allowing multiple warehouse staff to collaborate while manipulating the data to optimize the warehouse for fast picking.

It’s not clear to me that we’ll see many Surface devices in warehouses as that’s not the initial target market.  On the other hand, as Kirill mentions at the end, this type of innovation gets much more interesting with the new Windows Touch technology in Windows 7.  I can just imagine 60-inch multi-touch displays becoming the control centers of warehouses in the not so distant future.  I hope that this sparks some ideas for how you might use touch in your line-of-business applications using either the Microsoft Surface or Windows 7.