All isn’t well in paradise. Kinect + Windows Live video chat

This isn’t a critique on Kinect’s motion tracking, face recognition or voice recognition capabilities. It’s about Kinect and video chat – “Video Kinect” – with Windows Live Messenger. It is great when it works. In our experience getting it to work has taken at least three attempts to make it happen and the process is far from perfect. The shear fact there is a “process” is a key part of the problem.

My “in house tests” with a laptop in the same room as the Xbox+Kinect, (connecting over Windows Live) seem to remember resolve in it working first attempt. Now that I’m on the road with my family back at home it seems to take a minimum of three times, often more, to work. With a toddler in my wife’s hands on the other end this is challenging…. same problem with family in England (less the toddler). Result? Lot’s of family getting irritated. Again, it’s great when it works. It simply takes too much faffing around to make it happen, let alone for it to be a pleasant experience.

Xbox notification of "”Video connect” is too slow. Without this you have to press the Xbox button then go to ‘messages’ then go to the appropriate notification, again too many steps, too much process. Like the need for “native touch” on touch screen phones. You need these things to be “native” and easy for the consumer. I’m not a normal consumer, I love the tech and am happy to mess around with it. My wife isn’t. And quite frankly if my wife isn’t happy I’m not . One time the Xbox crashed trying to accept a Video Kinect call from our family in the UK. Our Xbox had never crashed before.

This will be great, eventually. When the issues are resolved things will be great. This needs to happen for this over arching benefit (not “this technology”) to appeal to the every day consumer. The situation we need is for “it just to work”. I’m reminded of the complexity of getting a CD drive installed in the mid ‘90s. Loading MSCDEX in the BAT file, having the Sound Blaster device in Config.sys set appropriately and making such all my IRQs were in order… My point being this technology is feasible, it “works”, it’s the user experience which needs to be streamlined, automated and ultimately easy before it will be something that is wildly adopted by consumers. Kinect still is very cool, this post is about the Video Kinect feature talking to Windows Live.

We just spent 10-15 minutes trying but had to give up due to Toddler melt down. To quote my wife, she’s “not impressed”.

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