“Are you ready to change the way you watch television?” asks the voice in the video.
“It can do way more than that,” I say.
See for yourself.
Yes, I am a fan of Grey’s Anatomy (the last couple of seasons, I thought it had jumped the shark, but last year’s finale put it back in my good graces), so today when I caught news of their new iPad app, I went to check it out. What I found was something that could not only drastically change the way we watch television, but how we interact with brands and each other, and ultimately the places and things around us.
The app has everything you’d expect out of it – exclusive content, social hooks, game elements. But the real game-changer is its Sync Technology. (Similar to the type of technology that Ford uses in their cars.)
Real quick 101 on the tech – it picks up on audio waves within a certain distance and then takes action based on the audio cues. Here, in this app, when watching any Grey’s Anatomy episode, you can “sync” the iPad with the show. And when that happens, the app serves up custom content (polls, tweets, behind-the-scenes footage, etc…) based on where you are in your viewing experience. It reacts, real-time, to what you’re watching and then serves up the most appropriate content. Just by listening.
In a car is one thing. There, the technology is taking action based on the driver’s commands, allowing the driver to eliminate all futzing required of their hands, and focus on the actual driving part. It’s highly effective at serving a utility. Watching and interacting with a TV show is something entirely different. Here, the technology is taking action based on a storyline, as told by many different characters. It’s literally deepening with every touch point. Here, it’s highly effective at enhancing the experience. It turns a fairly passive & non-personalized experience (even tweeting during a TV show can only go so deep) into an (inter)active & personalized experience that’s efficient and smart.
Can you imagine what kind of experience this could enable from any digital sign? It could turn a simple newscast that’s projected on screens in an office lobby into a personalized newsfeed. It could turn a lecture in a conference booth into a deep and interactive presentation. It could turn that short elevator ride into a fun game with others riding with you. The requirements are few and the benefits are many.
This is one of those technologies that can turn anything that is originally general into something uniquely specific. Devices conducive to mobility (when consumers are out and about) along with enabling technologies like Sync are changing what “OOH” means (and can do) right in front of our eyes. It’s always been seen as a mass awareness channel, but thanks to these sorts of technologies, there’s nothing stopping it from being a purposeful engagement channel. Always on.
Because it’s already happening.
When I started this OOH exploration, it was very black and white to me what it consisted of – it originated from a platform/device that you don’t have to own and you can’t turn it off. But the more and more we advance (in only 2 short years) – as consumers and technology – the more and more grey it’s becoming. The channel becomes more powerful when you can have a unique experience and we’re seeing that play out through technologies like Sync, and technologies that bridge the offline with the online, and technologies that can be controlled through simple gestures – it is becoming an active engagement channel, not something that houses a display that you simply can’t turn off. You can now “turn on” the experience that you want and it’s quite likely it will be different from the person standing right next to you.
Last year, I wrote about 3 different technologies that transcend “DOOH” and could advance the medium/channel in a profound way – basically alleviate the need for physical “screens.” This is another one of those technologies, but unlike the others, this one becomes more effective through a screen. At least right now.
We are, no doubt, in exciting times. As I’ve said before, technology is no longer a barrier. It’s about how we creatively push those technologies and use what’s at our disposal (networks of physical screens) to connect and drive deep experiences.
So, I think it’s an interesting question – “are you ready to change the way you watch TV?” But it seems pretty narrow. It’s not about “watching” anything. It’s about “experiencing” everything. And it has nothing to do with being in or out of your home.