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 (opens in new tab).
"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.