Who Needs PC When You Can Have Xbox One at Work

This is a weird topic, as it walks the line between Tom's Hardware and Tom's IT Pro. It's a story about Microsoft and its struggles to get everyone on the planet to recognize that it has a new cash cow birthing this fall. But it's not going to just feed off the green money pastures fertilized by gamers. It's going to feed off businesses too. How you ask? Microsoft has the answer.

"What is being positioned as an excellent entertainment device can be just as enticing for you and your small business," says Marques Lyons, Microsoft Xbox MVP and the Director of Consumer Camp. "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."

OK, so how is this gaming box going to boost productivity in the work environment? As Lyons pointed out, there's Skype which allows for multi-person chatting. Combine this factor with the wide-angle lens and 1080p view of the included Kinect sensor, and businesses have the means for collaborative meetings and presentations.

"Utilize Skype, and the power of group chatting, to have that collaborative exchange with clients and co-workers, no matter where in the world they happen to be," he explains. "Utilize the size of that nice TV screen to see every smile and nod as your next great plan comes together. The Xbox One with Kinect, as a Skype provider, is just as capable as a PC with an attached/included microphone and webcam. The difference here is that Xbox One and Kinect gives you the open space to move, gesture, show examples, and see everyone more clearly."

That's an expensive Skype machine. What else is there? How about SkyDrive! It ties into Skype, and when hosting a video meeting in the office, the user doesn't have to worry about attaching a PC to the TV or using a projector to pull up stored files. Videos, pictures and documents can be accessed from the cloud with Kinect voice or hand gestures. Even more, when Internet Explorer gets involved, users can open Office Web Apps and unload an Excel spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation. How about that.

"If you host clients at your home, use the power of IE and the size of your TV to showcase your new redesigned website, or snap IE to the side while using SkyDrive to present sketches you're working on," he describes. "Because Internet Explorer has access to the Office Web Apps, pair that with a Wi-Fi keyboard and mouse and you have the means to edit documents, when necessary, even if you aren't near your PC."

Lyons goes on to talk about Wi-Fi Direct, the SmartGlass app for smartphones and tablets, and future applications that could benefit the business sector. But putting all that business hoopla aside, what's interesting about Lyons' pitch is that he's seemingly describing a $499 PC with an included motion sensor. Users can have video conferences, view PowerPoint presentations, display diagrams, edit documents and so on. Even more, it's based on Windows 8, meaning users will eventually see one unified app platform across Xbox One, Windows 8 desktop, Windows Phone and Windows 8/RT tablets.

"With the processing power, snap mode, and connection to a large screen, that the Xbox One has, this device is capable of going from the 'break room' to the 'board room'," he says,

Hell, if it supports a mouse and keyboard, I'm sold.

  • tului
    Or I can spend $400 amd get an A10 powered laptop and it will do Skype and Skydrive. It also has a monitor for when I dont have a projector or monitor handy.
  • SchizoFrog
    With all the recent talk of the NSA having access to Skype and SkyDrive I can't see Businesses being too eager to adopt this approach.
  • PedanticNo1
    There are still companies have difficulty moving away from XP and other antiquated bits of PC software. What makes MS think this will be widely adopted?
  • bluestar2k11
    Or, I could just take the desktop/laptop's we already have, and tack on a 1080p camera with a wide angle lense for like 50-75$? maybe a hundred if I really wanted top end quality.

    Install skypes crappy video service for free, and only be out a 1/6-1/5th of the consoles price, without the worry of my employees playing halo 7 at work.
  • bustapr
    with powerpoint support, I can see this as a viable device for conference/presentation rooms. but I still wouldnt choose this over a pc in a business i might own. theres often last minute fixing to do in a presentation and website maneuvering that would be difficult with a kinect. as for skype, the kinect can be handy in a conference room, but its way too bulky to have lying around in an office.

    still, I believe this wont have near the amount of success in businesses as microsoft expects. the great most of the businesses Ive visited would prefer to buy a cheap laptop/desktop at walmart and a powerpoint clicker because they do enough and they are easy to work with. in a conference room NOONE likes to have to deal with a learning curve, especially on the presentation device. not to mention getting used to the kinect and holding yourself from flailing your arms around like most people do in presentations. theres also the lack of variety in the console. some people dont use skype and skydrive, and were unsure as to exactly how many developers are going to use this console. and microsoft isnt exactly on the best of terms with google.

    Id still reserve my full judgement for when/if I have the opportunity to use the kinect in a conference. or at least see it.
  • 3ogdy
    After possibly having seen the amount of PS4 pre-orders, Microsoft is probably trying to push XB1 into other markets - like businesses, because they'll need to get their money from somewhere. The thing is, I highly doubt any businessman will consider integrating Xbox ONE in their conference sessions and all that. Like others have already said, you need conference & presentation tools? PC+WebCam+Powerpoint - they are supposed to have PCs and Powerpoint already so they'd only need to buy a wide-angle / high-res Webcam and use it.
    I doubt Xbox ONE will ever beat webcam prices - even if we were to talk about premium hardware.
    With their product being painfully rejected in the gaming world(Skype being monitored by the NSA? Not having the ability to turn the freaking camera off? Other limitations that I'm supposed to pay for...), their crappy product will also be highly rejected (not even considered, actually) in the business area.
    Moreover - what kind of business image would you portray for your company when using a gaming console/media center as a communication device?
    Don't get me wrong, but a desktop computer will ALWAYS look more professional - and I think that's what serious companies are after.

    Oh, and I forgot to mention the "Let's play!" attitude Microsoft is all about (Windows h8 being among the products that puts play above work) will only hurt Microsoft's sale-figures in professional areas.
  • this is just ridiculous, i don't even...
  • mavikt
    Does this mean we won't get crappy console ports for the PC anymore...?
  • smeezekitty
    Maybe because PCs cheaper than $499 are readily available?
  • halcyon
    This might work for a very small business or one just starting out but just the fact that its primary use is for gaming hurts how it is perceived for other markets.