I think that surface and gesture computing is going to explode over the next five years. We're going to see it in many areas of our life. We already are with devices like the iPhone and the HTC Touch, however Surface will bring more opportunities with it.
Surface brings a larger space to interact with, and more options. Here's some scenarios that I've dreamed up for it and would like to see.
- Resort and Hotels - When you check in at a hotel or resort (say Walt Disney World), you receive a Eye-Fi 2 gig wifi card to use during your stay with your digital camera. When you come back to the hotel after your day of running around the park snapping photos of your kids. While you are waiting to sit down to dinner you can put you camera on Surface which would already be paired with the Eye-Fi card. (From what I remember, Surface does not automatically see all wifi and you wouldn't want that, considering security.) You could then shuffle through the photos, and email them to family or create a photo book to be printed in a store and then picked up after your meal.
- Education - At a Montessori school a child interacts with real objects to learn. Surface would be great as a lead in, because of the direct interaction between the device and the child. And when you add "Contacts", you get real world with virtual world.
- Library - Surface would be perfect for a rare book library that you could search, interact with and even turn the pages. And the application is already done!
- Hotel Concierge - Asking for directions to a restaurant or buying tickets for a show would be much better when you're sitting around Surface.
- Medical - Reviewing XRay or MRI results with a doctor could be much more enlightening. And Surface could also be used for a collaborative session between doctors. (Possibly a remote linked (think RDP remote controlled session) dual Surface devices sharing one desktop for collaboration).
- Music Engineering - A multi touch mixing board.
- TV - Telecasting, Weather and Sports could all make use of Surface with Video playback and drawing on the device. (Think Madden doing a review of a play).
- Science - Data Visualization, Mapping and Chemical and/or gene combinations.
There's just a couple. More will come and soon. Hopefully there will be a Surface lab at MIX08.