Would You Prefer Planning On A Giant Touchscreen?

Touch-screen devices are everywhere at TechEd, and outside of individual interaction with portable systems one use that is being promoted is as gigantic planning devices: whiteboard replacements with the added ability to easily drill into data. It's a tempting vision, but how quickly will we buy into it?

I've frequently argued that Windows 8 makes keyboards and mice second-class citizens compared to the touchscreen, but that's not such an issue in an environment where the conventional model is to use a text and a whiteboard (or butchers' paper) instead. There's a small and paranoid part of me that thinks that approach is cheaper and less prone to damage, but if we pursued that line of thinking too far we'd all end up ditching our smartphones and retraining on the abacus.

During today's keynote, Microsoft executives Quentin Clark and Eron Kelly emphasised how large touch-screens made it easier to do drill-down analysis combining Excel as a front-end with sophisticated SQL Server back-ends. The demonstrations included showing where TechEd attendees came from, which cities tweeted the most and who had the most unusual job roles.

It looked impressive, and once I set aside my naturally cynical reaction of "I bet the person who typed in that data wouldn't have been half as productive with no keyboard shortcuts available", I could see the potential for brainstorming and data analysis. Would you be tempted? Tell us in the comments.

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    This concept has been around WAY before the recent touch screen phenomenon

    These have been around since the early days of XP and are a MUCH better option, and likely would be much cheaper than any H/W Microsoft my produce down the track:


    Everything old is new again, only less interesting and less functional

    Seems like it could benefit those in the same way you say. Large groups brainstorming on a computer, instead of a whiteboard. Opens up that avenue. Can replace the current "SmartBoard" style technology, and make even Projectors possibly obselete.

    As for regular computing, touchscreens are far from as efficient as classic keyboard and mouse, and i really don't think they ever will surpass in terms of entering data.

    I would love to. I love my new Surface Pro, and have found it to be incredibly productive (which in turn reduces my stress level because i'm under less pressure constantly) - but sometimes even its large display doesn't seem like enough when you have an on screen keyboard.

    I can see people getting fingerburn from long swipes... ow!

    Not to long ago I pitched this to my then employer about purchasing a touchscreen telvision or Win7/8 device with a screen of 60 inches or bigger. They did trial one and found that it adds a lot to any meetings. The only issue that they had problems with was preparing for that meeting (pictures, graphs etc). They saw it as something that should display what they what instead preparing, like normal meetings.

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