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Microsoft's ’90s vision for the smart home looks a lot like today

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People have been talking about smart homes for decades, but we're still far away from that perfect, tech-enhanced home seen in so many movies and product demos over the years. But the relative failure of the smart home to date isn't because companies have had bad ideas. For proof of that, just take a look at this circa-1999 segment from Retirement Living TV on Microsoft's vision for the smart home of the future. The video is a fantastic blast from the past that's eerily accurate. A mother uses location tracking to find her husband and uses voice recognition to give him a call. A web TV interface brings in programming from cable and the internet. A barcode scanner adds items missing from the fridge to a shopping list. Sure, the technology may be laughably ancient — just look at that "pocket" PC! — but these are all things that are available today in some form or another. Unfortunately for Microsoft, being early is the same as being wrong.