I woke up dreaming about the blog yesterday. Then, today, I woke up dreaming about Twitter. Very anxious to get this thing up and running, this new “brand.” Even when I’m not sleeping, my mind races. Who am I talking to? What am I trying to say? Who do I want to form a relationship with? What will my voice be? What kind of information will be within my “boundaries”? On and on and on. You name it, I’m thinking about it. In sleep and while awake. Talk about anxiety.
So, now, I’m breathing. And doing. Wait no more. The time has come. I’m getting it out. And this is it – the 11th Screen.
I’ve spent the last four years of my life helping develop and implement a piece of software that is used in specific locations (like conferences and events) on technology that users don’t own (like touch screens). When we initially started the process, we knew these two requirements, but didn’t fully understand their effects. Nor did we understand the breadth of the opportunity that was staring us in the face. Once we got into it, we based everything on these two insights:
- These events occur outside of the home (OOH) in an environment where the audience is a) captive and b) doesn’t have any form of personal technology (like computer) to interact with, other than their mobile phones. (At the time, smart phones weren’t what they are today – both in technology and penetration.)
- These events require attendee registration and result in each attendee receiving a name badge, all of their registered, personal information packed away in a 2D or 3D barcode.
As far as the software is concerned, the 2nd insight drove its differentiator. The system can scan badges, store the information immediately and track every action back to an individual user. On top of that, the system can handle an unlimited amount of brand content. The differentiator is tying the data together with the content real-time. So, everyone who interacted with this experience could receive a custom presentation based on the data that we knew about them or gathered from them real-time. It’s really cool, but that’s not the point of this blog….
As far as this blog is concerned, insight #1 opened up a door for me that I have fallen in love with. Again, at the time we were developing this, Digital Signage – or Digital “Out of Home” (DOOH) – was in its infancy (some would say that it still is, but it still gives you a point of reference. I think it’s more grown up now, but still has a long way to go.) so we felt like we were discovering something revolutionary, certainly discovering unchartered territory.
Well, we really weren’t.
But we were on the front lines of creating innovative, interactive out of home (OOH) experiences. Which brings me here now.
I have been to more conferences and events than I care to admit over the past four years, observing what others are (or in this case are not) doing with “digital signage.” And while digital signage is starting to take off and get a little bit of attention, interacting with that signage is and has been virtually non-existent. Of course, there are examples like this and that and the other thing, but talk about something in its infancy. These can be considered more experiments than anything else, certainly not something that brands and people are comfortable with enough to accept. Certainly not something that will take significant portions of budgets right now. But we are getting there. I truly believe it.
Everyone is hoping big things for mobile this year. I’m hoping big things for interactive out of home, which in large part, is tied directly to mobile. I think industries will make great strides in connecting people with brands and each other through enabling technologies – like mobile, like touch screens – this year. So, while I may be a little late (try YEARS) in starting a blog, I feel like this is an appropriate time to join in the discussion.
I can’t wait any longer…
NOTE – I no longer work for the company that I helped develop the software for. I have no affiliation with the software either, other than to wish it great success.