At the Microsoft CIO Summit that took place early last week, the new Surface computer/table was shown off. What is cool is that they demoed Virtual Earth on it, creating a mashup between hardware, software and services.
"The demo showed the ability of the Surface to detect and identify an object such as a wine glass when placed on its surface and then provide the user with options for finding information relating to that object. In the case of the wine glass, the demo allowed the user to tie into Virtual Earth to explore regional vineyards. This was impressive but the synergy of the Surface and Virtual Earth that should be of keen interest to Public Sector customers, DoD especially perhaps, is the ability to allow multiple users to collaborate around mapped business intelligence data on the table, through touch. The environment that immediately comes to mind is the war room."
As well as the many public sector areas where this collaboration holds much promise, there are also regular consumer scenarios where Virtual Earth + Surface makes total sense e.g. for hotel concierges when guests ask for directions. It'll be interesting to see how this takes hold when Surface tables eventually get distributed out to Microsoft Partners.
Microsoft Surface, Virtual Earth, Demo