Kinect (and others) – “DOOH” Killers?

How far away do you really think we are from mass adoption of interacting with the physical spaces around us?

Can this be the year of mobile and “interactive out-of-home?”

Has technology made “medium” really irrelevant?

My answers:  Closer than we actually think.  Yes and quite possibly (who would have thought?).  Technology has shifted each medium’s relevancy from consumption to experience, thus shifting the necessity of each.

For anyone who does not know what “out-of-home” (OOH), “digital out-of-home” (DOOH), or my own “interactive out-of-home” (IOOH) is, or does not believe its place or efficacy in today’s media environment, I believe you will learn very quickly otherwise.

I’m struck by examples of new technology that I have seen in a short 12 months, each adding another element of seamless human-to-computer interaction, directly affecting our experiences in the spaces around us:

Layar – through the use of your mobile phone, you can simply hold it up in any environment and instantly see, through this “augmented” reality, people around you, what they’re saying, what they’ve said, where they want to go, where you should go, etc…The open space around you instantly becomes interactable.

Audio Graffitti – here, you can walk up to any surface, speak or make a noise, and “tag” it for others to hear/experience from that point forward.  The surfaces around you instantly become audible.

Project Natal/Kinect – this gesture-based controlling system brought to us by Microsoft/Xbox was formally announced last night at the E3 conference (although the technology has been open to developers for at least a year.)  This is a game changer (pardon the pun, it’s just the right thing to say) – it allows users to control their experience in games without pressing a button of any sort.  Nothing.  All actions are controlled by the user’s gestures.  The displays around you instantly become responsive.

This Kinect news is really groundbreaking in my opinion.  Now, this technology is available for gamers, just a fraction of the general population, but in a year from now, how much bigger does that fraction get?  Who else is this kind of technology available for on a mass scale?

Technology is no longer the barrier.  Yes, it’s going to continue to get better and take different shapes, but as evidenced by the three examples above, it’s at the point where we no longer need to touch anything to interact with the spaces around us.  Just take a minute to think about that.

The other common thread among these three – they are all inherently social.

I’ve said before that “DOOH” as a medium is talked about wrong (“digital” just means display and without interaction, it is dull, tired, and un-sustainable) and I’m afraid that it is already becoming extinct, before it even gains traction.  We are rapidly moving beyond one-way, static displays, digital or not.

Take a look at the spaces around you when you’re on your way to work, or at the grocery store, or at the park.  Think you can interact with them?  If not, think again.

4 thoughts on “Kinect (and others) – “DOOH” Killers?

  1. Dave Haynes

    Ok, I don’t get the real world application of Audio Graffiti, and thrilled to see it’s my tax dollars at work bankrolling it via the Canada Council ;-]

    Actually, there probably IS something there for street-level promotions for things like concerts series and record labels. Or new on iTunes, and so on.

    Kinect definitely has a lot of potential, but I’d be getting injury and liability insurance squared away before I let people jump around and swing their arms on street corners and in shopping malls.

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  3. Mike Cearley Post author

    Very nice. Good to hear from you, Dave! The only tech out of the three that I think is ready for prime time is Layar. The other two have a ways to go, but it’s exciting to think about speaking/hearing/gesturing affecting the spaces around us. I think in time the options will become limitless for Audio Graffitti because now, instead of writing what you think of a particular product, you can actually say it, and then, when the next person “in turn” walks up to it, they can hear what others thought. Gone are the days of standard consumer reviews. All of this stuff is just really cool to think about….except when you might be paying for it :) Thanks for the comment. Hope all is well!

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