Tag Archives: iPad

Friday’s 4-1-1, Apple & DOOH Style



Isn’t it something when a CEO of a company resigns and the entire world takes notice? When Steve Jobs unexpectedly resigned this week, it pretty much rocked a large sub-culture of our population. My first reaction when someone read the headline to me was, “wow,” with the disbelief and wonder that I reserve for pretty major news. This wasn’t just any CEO stepping down, this was an icon of the past decade, at least. One who has completely changed the game in design, technology, and entertainment – pretty much pop culture as a whole. Jobs and Apple have also made an indelible impact on the digital signage industry – and, in turn, an impact on me – with their products and thinking. So, for today’s Friday 4-1-1, it’s only right to give it up to the man who is responsible for some of my children’s favorite vocabulary words (iPod, iPad, mac – seriously.)

  1. The mac mini – when I was creating the Intellibooth software, one of our challenges was also finding the most appropriate hardware. We ended up using mac minis to house and run the software, primarily due to its small footprint. We could work it into any fabricated structure pretty easily and beyond that, could ship many of them in an efficient manner. In addition, we could load our Windows-based application onto it, plug all of our peripheries into it, and in a pinch, switch them in and out if anything went wrong. In short, this one little box enabled us to focus on what we really wanted to focus on – creating the front-end experience – so we could make a business of that instead of messing with the hardware game.Mac Mini
  2. The iPhone – in early iterations, the phone was more of a novelty than anything else. Yes, it was powerful, but no one really knew how to unlock the potential, both from a developer’s standpoint and a user’s standpoint. The possibility of integrating digital signage communications with mobile phone communications would probably not be at the stage its at right now without the introduction of the iPhone. It did change the landscape of phones, but it also changed the landscape of “out-of-home” in a literal sense. Now, it’s possible to interact with the places and things around us – not to mention, physical screens outside of our homes – in (very) large part thanks to the iPhone.iPhone
  3. The iPad – did you hear about the restaurant that is now using iPads for their entire customer experience? Menus, out. Credit card machines, out. It’s all iPads. Here are the two major impacts that this device has on the digital signage industry, in my opinion – 1) the more people get used to using a “high technology” (and touchscreen) device like this, the more they’ll feel comfortable using other unique touchscreen devices and 2) the more people get comfortable operating on a non-tethered device, the more they’ll feel comfortable using a “foreign” device outside of their homes.iPad
  4. iOS – perhaps the largest contributor to interactive Out-of-Home signage is Apple’s operating system that is founded on gestures like swipe, tap, and pinch to actually navigate through the experience. These gestures are commonplace with the “average” consumer today, thanks to iOS. This type of touch and gesture control – and the comfort level using your fingers to control something this way – is a foundational element to interactive signage. Apple has made it infinitely easier for the industry to work through any intimidation barriers that might be around.iOS

“Uh-huh” – the brand is iconic. To build something like this is what all brands and executives hope for.

“Duh” – have you ever heard that old adage, “it’s simple to make something hard, but it’s hard to make something simple”? Well, that’s what Apple has done throughout the years. Part of their beauty is in their simplicity. The digital signage industry, particularly as it relates to interfaces and experiences, can take many things from Apple. When it’s simple to use, it’s enjoyable. And joy has to be present for any positive experience. Thank you, Steve.


DSE Keynote – DOOH Disrupted: Paths to a Connected Future

11th Screen | The Interactive Out-of-Home Blog

Keynote speaker – Shelly Palmer (Live Digital w/ Shelly Palmer and Shelly Palmer Digital Living Sirius/XM Radio Show)

Excellent talk. Read through for some real gems!!

It’s interesting because we’re here to talk about DOOH at a time when everything is digital.

Digital is not new.

Show of hands from the audience – how many people are NOT carrying a smartphone? Literally 2 people. Wow.

Everyone of us is walking around with a computer in their pocket. The world has changed. Digital is a part of our lives. It’s not new.

The ability for people to connect with each other and amplify their voice, at scale – that is new. Speed and scale. It’s worldwide.

Stop it with the behaviors have changed and media consumption has changed – we know this?! (Does this industry really?)

Watson (yes, the computer) – natural language processing.

Pure research + applied science + showmanship (practical ways to use digital tools to make people’s lives better?) = the business we’re in.

What is a sign in 2011? Could be a TV, could be sign, could be anything we want it to be. (This is what I’ve been talking about – places & things around us have the ability to be turned on.) But what we have right now is analysis paralysis – everyone’s got their own interpretation and it’s different from everyone else’s and it’s is causing schizophrenia.

How do we fix it?

All technology is meaningless unless it changes the way we behave.

18 mos. ago, there was a proportional screen rule that was absolute – small screen – short content, bigger screen – longer content. Now, anyone will watch anything on the best available screen.

Now, people are taking their TVs with them. That’s new.

iPad is the 1st of a zillion tablets to come out. Motorola Xoom is an iPad killer. 2 computer chips instead of 1. Full screen HD. 2 cameras. All Googled up with Honeycomb. Will it actually kill the iPad? No, but for a certain group of people, it will become THE tablet of choice.

Difference between 3G & 4G – we’re at a tipping point that is unprecedented since 1847. We’re about to go from 3G to 4G. It is literally the difference between the pony express and the telegraph. Huge sociologic change. It took 5 weeks for someone to get a message. Now it takes less than 5 seconds. Huge. 3G takes minutes, 4G takes seconds. Are you guys ready for that?

We’re still trying to figure out where to put the signs. How to network the signs. Blah, blah, blah.

People are picking up their signs and walking around with them.

Traditional DOOH is a lot like old school TV.

Something he’s working on right now – LogoVision – has every logo in the history of the world in their database. Consumers take a picture of the logo, it delivers content. Can take a picture of any logo on any sign – TV, digital sign, poster, etc., get content instantly. Think about how “instant” 4G will be.

This time next year, you won’t be able to buy a 3G device. All will have 4G, means getting content/data will be 6-8X faster than they are now.

People now like texting. Consider email a formal letter. What’s better than texting? Taking a photo/pressing 1 button. The computer does the work for you. What’s that? Oh, Watson. You see where this is going?

Speed, scale, convenience – technology is meaningless unless it changes the way we behave. How do we behave? In the way that is most convenient.

“The #1 show at 10PM on Friday night is TiVo.” – Jeff Zucker.

People make choices, we’re empowered now with technology.

We’re living in a connected world and very quickly we’ll be able to argue – there are 2 types of people and 2 types of tech – connected or not connected.

Trust circles – small groups around things from people you emphatically trust. The new DMA’s. (Very interesting.)

How does a sign help you? How does a network of signs tied together that disseminate valuable information help you? That’s our challenge. We’re an old medium today. People are taking their signs with them.

Another show of hands – how many of you guys have Google Alerts set up for the information you want on a daily basis? Only 10% of people, if that, raised their hands. This does not surprise me. Now, he’s going off on the audience – you’re in “digital” signage/Out-of-Home and you’re not even using the tools for yourself. How do you not do this? It’s unacceptable that you’re at the Digital Signage Expo and you’re not digital.

Who do you sell to? Helping the industry move forward requires 2 components – 1) how to present this industry to buyers?

Retail has forever changed. Borders couldn’t compete digitally. They didn’t keep up. They, like so many people, believed things will work themselves out.

Do not fall prey to the idea that anything is going to go backwards. What’s the penalty for being late? The penalty for being late is business death.

How do you filter the paradigm shifts from the parlor tricks? You personally apply the filter based on your experiences to the question – is this going to change people’s behaviors.

Digital signage industry – hire armies of developers to work on platforms because that is where you’re going to win.

Nut – and I quote, “He who is closet to the point of sale wins. That’s always going to be true.” Now people are bringing their computers to the point of sale. And they’re connected – to each other & brands & information through technology. And the best, “Not about hyperlocal, it’s about hyperpersonal.” This takes some sort of engagement and interaction. This is what it’s all about.

Quote of the session – Now, the only people who like change are babies in wet diapers.

Sync Technology Changes “Watching” to “Experiencing”

Greys Anatomy iPad App

“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.

Are we in the Middle of the Interactive Generation?

Interactive Generation

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season as the new year fast approaches. I’ve spent some much-needed time with my family and actually have the rest of the week off to enjoy more time with them. Right now, their sleeping time is my catch-up time and I feel like I’m just wading through emails, tweets, and stories.

Tonight, I re-read a post from eMarketer that a colleague sent me – “Department Stores Take Digital Out-of-Home Marketing to New Heights” and there were a few interesting nuggets that stuck out to me. As a whole, and to someone who’s been pretty deep into this industry for the last year, there weren’t any surprises about the channel (“DOOH”). What I latched on to, though, were the consumer behaviors that continue to change with the introduction and adoption of emerging technologies like smartphones, iPads and video games.

A couple of weeks ago, I asked if we were in the middle of an Engagement Revolution, and tonight I’ll ask if we’re in the middle of the Interactive Generation. What do you think?

This eMarketer post provides some compelling information, probably the most is centered around interactivity and advertisements on the iPad. From the post –

And stores hope they will attract shoppers who have become used to colorful digital advertising on the internet, their mobile phones and increasingly on devices like the iPad, where bright colors and movement add interest and engagement according to studies like one from UM and Time Inc.

No brainer on bright colors and movement. This can be partly attributed to the technology, partly to the content, and partly to the simple human condition of recognizing movement over static. But it’s the “82% more likely to notice ads with interactive features” that I find fascinating. I mean, think about that – 8 out of 10 people are more likely to pay attention to an advertisement that includes some level of interactivity. Now how many of them actually interact is my next question, but this number is astronomical and quite encouraging to anyone who believes that the future of OOH/DOOH/digital signage is interactivity.

I’ve thought and had conversations with colleagues about mobile tablets affect on OOH/DOOH, specifically how they can be used with those installations to drive deeper brand experiences. But this study sheds light on another profound impact that tablets could have on the industry – not as a connection device, but as a behavior-changing device. If consumers react a certain way on tablets (and brands create advertisements a certain way), it seems like this, more than anything, can drive the need and acceptance for interactivity on anything outside of the home, on and off devices that consumers own.

Another point, not backed by data, but well made – Creating window displays powered up by digital technology, retailers aim to attract the attention of a generation of consumers who are increasingly accustomed to the on-demand, interactive, and technically advanced capabilities of smartphones and video games.

These non-OOH/DOOH technologies are already playing a large part in today’s generation, which is not made up of like-aged people, but of like-consumption consumers. Interactivity is all around, and technology is rapidly advancing. Along with both come the change in consumer expectations. I almost think it’s expected to see bright colors and movement – they’re table stakes – but consumers want the connection, and that connection happens through interactivity. Table stakes are soon not going to be enough because at the end of the day, regardless of the bright colors and movement, as long as brands are pushing a 1-way message, they can only accomplish so much.

Engagement and interactivity go hand-in-hand. They’re not based on demographics, they’re based on behaviors. And as we see here, they’re changing right in front of our eyes.

So what do you think? Do you think we’re in the middle of an Interactive Generation? And how much do you think these behaviors will affect the OOH/DOOH/digital signage channel?

Honda to Bring Us 1st 3-D Times Square Billboard

Mark your calendars, if you’re in NYC or not – September 23, Honda plans to launch Times Square’s first 3-D billboard for their new sporty hybrid, the CR-Z.  They’re going all out with this campaign, focusing on many emerging technologies, including 3-D, iPad/mobile apps (their interactive brochure that launched last week), a Facebook app that includes a video wall (?), and no telling what else.  Be on the lookout!

My First Friday 4-1-1

In an effort to write more regularly, I’m going to implement something that every other blogger on the planet does – a regular series.  It’s called the Friday 4-1-1.  And here’s how it breaks down:

Each week, on Friday, I’ll highlight 4 stories/events/implementations that I’ve seen during that week and give my impressions.  On top of that, I’ll highlight the best “uh-huh” (rockin’) thing I’ve seen and the worst “duh” (what were they thinking?) thing I’ve seen.  And we’ll see how it works.  So, here we go.

1. Interactive Technology to Enhance Museum Experience – an affiliate museum of the Smithsonian, The Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture in Washington state, is piloting a “Passport to Discovery” project that sounds a lot like the myLOC passport system (set up in the Library of Congress).  Solid idea – make the user’s experience smarter each time they visit, based on their actions/interactions from the last visit, but my question is – how much of a pain is it to keep track of a passport-like tchotchke?  I would either lose it, forget it, or be annoyed that I have to sift through my catch-all drawer every time I need it.  Tie this into the one thing that people keep track of and don’t leave home without – their mobile phone – and you have something.

2. Google Introduces Branded Map Icons – simple – brands can now “brand” their locations into Google maps.  For OOH/DOOH/IOOH, brands can benefit in a major way.  They not only benefit from the brand recognition when Google maps is integrated into a digital/interactive sign, they benefit from the native functionality that allows users to automatically click-through to details about the brand.  I’m big on driving deeper brand experiences through all mediums, particularly OOH/DOOH/IOOH, and this is an example of an API unlocking that feature.  This feature has been available before now, but for a brand, there is a big difference from their location being tagged by a grey dot and being tagged by their logo, especially on an interactive sign, when you want to make it as enticing as possible.  Of course, this feature is only available to paying brands (using this as a form of advertising).  :)

3. Eye Expands Mobile Marketing at Malls, Sans “Big Brother” Effect – this is cool, but I just wonder for the end-consumer, if they make any distinction with geo-location ads.  The average consumer probably thinks it’s still creepy, regardless of “how” it’s done.  EYE and Ace Marketing & Promotions are working a system based on phone proximity, nothing GPS-related.  Here’s where I think digital/interactive signage (I don’t even think you’d need a “digital” sign) serves an ideal purpose – the sign is the bridge between the smart-but-creepy ad and the not-knowing-and-wary consumer.  Imagine in a mall, you walk up to a sign that lets you know what to expect on your phone – in terms of store advertisements – just because you’re “in the area.”  Viola, without doing anything other than being in that place, you’re pleasantly delighted when you look at your phone and see that Gap is having a sale on jeans.  You don’t walk away creeped out.  We need as much of this “non-creepy” interaction/advertising as possible right now – it will only help in the acceptance of digital/interactive signs (that have the potential to be very smart).

4.  Seahawks Utilize iPad Kiosks for Fan Registration – first, I can’t wait for football to begin next Thursday.  Second, anytime interactive technology and football are mentioned in the same sentence, my ears perk up.  So, I was delighted to read about the Seattle Seahawks building kiosks with iPads to “register over 20,000 fans” at their training camp this summer.  Sounds like they were also able to allow the fans to experience some premier content, which I would fully expect on devices like that.  I think this is a great, relatively cost-effective solution to explore when wanting an interactive out-of-home solution.  Take a $800 sophisticated piece of hardware & software, build a nice unit around it and you have yourself a feature-rich, well-functioning IOOH solution.

“Uh-huh” – I give this the “uh-huh” head nod each time I see it.  Imagine what could be done with this interactive film – The Wilderness Downtown – in an out-of-home setting?  Not only would the current iteration be sticky enough for people to stop, interact, and gather around, it sure would be cool to integrate the point where people are interacting with it and the point where they ultimately go (their hometown house).  That idea goes against what I said earlier about the “creepiness” factor, but it would be cool.

“Duh” – I don’t know if this is the right word for this category.  Nor do I know if it’s a “what were they thinking” category.  I just know it’s opposite of the cool, “uh-huh” category.  But this week’s installment of the un-cool comes in the form of QR codes.  And not one specific implementation.  Just as an overall solution.  I saw this one and this one, not to mention this one in a magazine I was reading:

Now, look, there’s not another enabling technology that I’ve written about more than QR codes, but the more I learn, read, see, not to mention actually work with QR codes and other mobile technologies, the more I question whether or not the average consumer knows what the heck to do with them.  It’s all about the audience – the JFK/Twitter example will probably get more interaction because Twitter, in and of itself, does not attract the “average” consumer, but I just might be at the point of QR code over saturation.  Good to see so many examples this year, but are they working?  Jury is still way out.

So, there you have it.  My first Friday 4-1-1.  What do you think?


Thankfully, I was too busy with work yesterday, particularly in the morning, to tune into the Steveosphere.  I knew the news.  I know the news.  The iPad.  I get it.  I don’t like the name, but I get it.  I have read so many opinions pre-news and now, post-news, that I’m already tired of it.  But, alas, here we are and I’m writing about it.  I think it’s important.  I think it’s revolutionary.  And I think it’s rockin’. 

I’ve used tablet PCs for the past few years in events that we supported, so I was really interested to see what my meeting/event colleagues had to say about the iPad.  I keep up with two in particular, Samuel J. Smith and Midori Connolly, and they’re right on point with their thinking around how the iPad will impact conferences and events – for both attendees and brands/exhibitors.  They’re projecting and predicting all of the different ways that this device will enable deeper, richer, more meaningful interactions betweens brands and consumers.  (Read them, follow them if you’re interested in this space.)

These events are “closed” environments where technology that fulfills multiple needs is used and effective.  In my experience, we found tablets to be effective at displaying digital (and interactive) content for intimate, 1:1 scenarios.  This focused, 1:1 time was very meaningful for the brands and the relationships they were developing with key attendees.  We also hooked bar-code scanners up to the tablets so we could capture leads directly into our system.  The bar-code scanners were clunky, but highly effective at data capture and expanding our footprint in the booth.  The mobility of tablets is perhaps their greatest strength, especially in a setting like this.  They allowed us to use the entire booth to our advantage rather than limiting attendees to stationary screens.  And on top of everything else, they’re cool, which tends to work in the brands’ favor more often than not.  

Right now, I think this is the most reasonable expectation for “mass” use – a closed environment with specific needs.  Attendees won’t need to own them.  They’re a low cost to brands/exhibitors.  But to both audiences, they present a huge value proposition – exposure, expanded capabilities, enhanced experiences and we can’t forget the cool factor.  I hope brands/exhibitors will listen to the Samuel’s and Midori’s of the world when planning their next event.  Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think the brick & mortar events are going away anytime soon.  Certainly not before these things can be used effectively in this environment.

Out of this environment, they’ll eventually catch on for the masses.  Eventually, they will be part of our lives.  Eventually, they will be my kids’ Trapper Keeper, which, as a lover of organization, is an awesome thought.

Whatchou got?