Monday, 6 October 2008

Tesco Wine Festival features Microsoft Surface

Thanks to some excellent negotiation - and design - skills from my colleague Mark Wilkinson who managed to secure a Microsoft Surface table for a couple of weeks, he's showing off a great application that engages people to try out different wines.

Microsoft Surface is a 90kg 'table computer' running Windows Vista Business edition with an up-projected screen and a series of cameras that watch for the presence of hands and other objects placed on the table. Once detected the software can react to it according to application design.

Mark has designed an application that allows him to place wine bottles on the surface with a form of barcode underneath. Microsoft Surface reads the barcode using the cameras under the screen and works out which wine has been placed on the table. The base of the bottle is then surrounded by a circle of tags which he can flip out to reveal various types of information about the bottle (country, grape, style. etc). Mark can then pull out a tag and expand it into an information box. In true Microsoft Surface style, the info box can be resized and rotated using a couple of fingers, and generally pushed around the table top and bounced off the sides!

Mark also places wine glass coasters on the table - again with a unique barcode underneath - and surface surrounds the coaster with buttons to press and - very impressive - a 'rotation of stars' to indicate what the user thought of that wine.

Usefully, the feedback is then built up in a database to uncover the most popular wines - an important objective of the Tesco Wine Festival in the first place.

This Tesco/Microsoft Surface application is very engaging, quickly taking the users beyond the 'wow factor' of the technology and engaging them with a fantastic wine tasting experience.

So congratulations to Mark and the rest of the Tesco & Microsoft teams who have helped him create an experience that is both useful and engaging.


  1. Thanks for the mention Nick, you make me sound like some sort of superhero.

    If I'm honest though (an ultimate failing of mine) most of the credit for the app has to go to a company called identitymine who are the great bunch of people that did the development for me. Anyone who has seen a surface demo has probably seen their work without realising it. check them out at


  2. Thanks Mark for that.. It was fun to build the application.

  3. Thanks ever so much, very useful article. If you do not mind, please visit my article related to travel to Pandeglang district in Banten, Indonesia at Kenali dan Kunjungi Objek Wisata di Pandeglang

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As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

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4. Insulting / obscene messages.

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