Walking the convention floor at these things is just sensory overload. Or in this case, kiosk overload. Kiosks everywhere. Every kind of kiosk you could want, you could find it here. (It’s funny, I was talking to someone and they said they specifically came to look for a kiosk to replace their old one and they didn’t find one here. I couldn’t believe it.) There were also lots of touch screens. Lots of really slick looking applications. But when you boil it down, it’s basically the same thing. Here’s what I observed – most everyone wants to be in the everything business. They want to be hardware providers. They want to be software providers. They want to be content providers. They want to be advertising providers. They want to be the data house. Enough already. Please. The best solutions I saw were ones that were focused and were trying to solve 1 problem. Three good companies made my short, I-commend-you-for-knowing-your-business-well-enough-to-focus-on-one-thing-list:
Nanonation – these guys are big time. Software providers. They developed the software that runs the Greenopolis (Best of Show, Self Service Excellence Awards) kiosk (more on this solution later). They have software to serve the enterprise level and they just developed software to serve the “lite” level.
DigiKomp – These guys are in the hardware business. But instead of showing up with kiosks or large digital screens like veryone else, they stole the show (in my mind) with these small (320×240) LCD screens that they call “the last nametag that you’ll ever have to get.” They’re sweet. Basically, really small, really sharp looking digital frames. They play .jps, .avis, .mp3s. Battery life of 12 hours. I bought one. But didn’t take it with me because I didn’t have the cash. The ATM was far from the convention center and I never made it back. I’m going to follow through with my purchase. Just to have it.
RFIDeas – I got a little bit of an education on RFID from these guys. My biggest takeaway – there are 3 “levels” of RFID (I really don’t know the right nomenclature): proximity, HF (High Frequency), and UHF (Ultra High Frequency). The Mini key fob/billboards used UHF. These guys deal primarily with proximity – think of the security cards that allow you to go in/out of your workplace/parking garages/etc.. My 2nd biggest takeaway – they don’t think of anything for marketing/engagement purposes. When I told him why I was interested, he looked at me like I had 3 eyes. All good. He gave me knowledge, which is all I want.
There were others that I heard were good, but really of no interest to me.
I think it would be cool to get creative, developers, software providers, hardware providers at one of these things and over the course of 1 or 2 days, get them to actually make something right in front of our eyes so we can see the true capabilities and something worthwhile come to life. Then, we would really find out the strengths of all of these companies. And to me, that’s the whole point.