Tag Archives: iPhone

Easy Encourages and Effects Engagement

Easy Encourages and Effects Engagement

I just got an iPhone and it’s awesome. Before this, I had a Droid 2. Before that, I had an HTC something or other and before that, I had a 1st generation Blackberry Storm. All this over the past 5 years.

In a matter of a couple of days, since I’ve had the iPhone, my mobile usage behavior has undergone what I would call a profound change. I’ve always been able to access more with each of my phones, and with each evolution, a little bit more and a little bit easier. It’s been a fairly steady progression since I’ve operated on all-things-other-than-iPhone. But a very rapid progression in the last couple of days. And it’s not necessarily that I’ve done SO much more than I used to; rather, if my behavior thus far (which is different, for sure) is an indication of how I will now operate in the real and virtual world, I know it’s going to be drastically different.

I can sense that the most profound change will be how I connect. With people. With products. With things. I’m not talking about connecting through features like texting (although as a caveat, my mom, a normal Baby Boomer mom – her behavior completely changed when she got her iPhone. She texts now more than ever and even that change, is a profound one when you’re talking about communications.), I’m talking about connecting through features like seamless integration into social networks and all the apps you could ever want and rich content like photo and video. Everything is just so easy.

And here’s the thing about easy – easy is an encourager. Easy makes you want to engage and explore and do things differently. It’s all about ease of use when you’re talking about adopting any sort of emerging technology.

Like any forms of interactive out-of-home.

If those who are creating ads or materials or experiences for out-of-home recognize the profound power of mobile devices – particularly the best mobile devices of today (because they will be the standard for everyone in the not-so-distant-future) – and how easy they make things, and what that could do for deeper engagement, what out-of-home is today will look drastically different in that not-so-distant-future.

What the Average Consumer Taught Me About Technology

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

I was hanging out with my step-dad this morning and he shed a little light on the “average” person’s familiarity and expectations with new technology, specifically with mobile technology. He’s a new owner of an iPhone, thanks to AT&T’s $49 deal that came out a few months ago and his computer usage is really centered around email, Facebook, and surfing to camping or backpacking sites via Google. He doesn’t know a lot, but he knows enough to get the information he needs on these devices. The iPhone and its power make him want to explore and expand the way he uses it, but he needs a little bit of guidance. Without that guidance, he falls into what I call, “overload paralysis.” There’s just too much out there, too much to process, to0 much to decide between, too much to search, too much to find out – it’s easy to just shut down and become paralyzed when faced with too much. I feel like this is a common state for the average consumer, and my step-dad reaffirmed my belief.

These types of consumers have different expectations from technology than those of us who are immersed in it day in and day out. And this is what my conversation really shed some light on.

Here’s how our conversation went:

Step-dad (SD): Mike, I’d like to pick your brain a little bit about what apps to download.

Mike: OK, what do you want to do, from the apps?

SD: Well, I just downloaded Pandora the other day and I really enjoy it.

Mike: So, you want music and movies, multimedia-stuff like that?

SD: No, not really. I don’t need to watch movies. But I’d love to know what good apps are out there.

Mike: Are you looking for games? Or productivity things? Like scheduling, notes, reminders – things like that?

SD: That might be interesting.

Mike: What about your bank? Do you have your bank’s app?

SD: Oh, that would be good.

Mike: Facebook?

SD: Yeah, that would be good, too. What about that Twitter? How does that work?

I’ll spare you the conversation there. It picked up a little bit later….

SD: I just downloaded a barcode scanner and I love that.

Mike: What do you scan?

SD: There are these square codes in my camping magazines that I scan.

Mike: You actually scan them?

SD: Yeah.

Mike: What does it take you to?

SD: Like this one here (pointing out one regarding a GPS), it takes me to a website where I get to see more information about this GPS unit.

And then, I let him show me the experience. He knew what to do and actually thought he was really cool, doing this high-tech thing on his iPhone.

I was enlightened. From this one encounter, I learned:

1. There is an awareness of QR codes and what they do, to the average consumer. My step-dad was genuinely interested in them and used them.

2. The expectation that the average consumer has about the content behind a QR code is not in line with mine. My step-dad was fine that he was simply directed to a website (non-mobile-optimized at that). He was able to learn more about this GPS system that he wasn’t able to from an ad in the magazine.

3. A mobile-optimized website was of no concern to him. He knows that he can expand any part of the mobile screen with his two fingers so it doesn’t annoy him that there aren’t any special versions of links or simplification of the experience. In fact, he was able to manipulate the screen – expand and scroll – with (relative) speed and precision.

Overall, there is a belief out there that in this little grey computer box and the little phone in your pocket, there is a treasure to be unlocked. The average consumer just doesn’t know how to unlock it. They’re less concerned about instructions and context and optimization. They’re more concerned about having what everyone else has.

To me, that’s a far different problem to solve than perfecting the experience.

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.


Honda “Syncs” With Consumers in This Unpredictable Life

Honda The Power of Dreams

I just wrote about a new technology called Sync that can “sync” two different devices with each other based on audio and can serve up customized experiences.

Today, I see that Honda has utilized this new technology, too. They just released a new commercial (“This Unpredictable Life”) and iPhone app (Honda Jazz) that can interact with it. First, the commercial:

And then the iPhone app:

They’re calling this “screen hopping technology,” but from what I can gather, it’s based on the same concept as the Sync technology that Grey’s Anatomy uses in their iPad app.

My takeaways from this – Honda is one of those brands that understands their brand(s), their stories, and their channels. They’ve always done a great job at connecting with consumers in unique and meaningful ways. Across many channels. Here is just another example.

And Apple continues to lead the way. Attention DOOH Networks: get a creative mind (preferably a storyteller) and an application programmer and let them come up with the best way to integrate with the other content in your network. I know it’s not that easy, but it seems like those two roles are becoming more and more essential each day.

Microsoft’s Microsoft Tag for Microsoft Office FTW!

Good post today by my buddy, David Weinfeld, about 2-D barcodes, specifically how much they’ve been used this year, even citing a ScanLife report that shows a 700% increase in barcode scanning.  It’s a big number, but you must consider that it almost started at 0 in January.  The number of people who actually use this technology is still small.  What I found more interesting in the report was a) 1/2 of the barcode users were 35-45 skewing more male (I found this a high demo – would have thought it would be younger) and b) the most popular smartphone platform among users was the Google Android platform, followed by BlackBerry, then by iPhone.  It’s one of the few times I’ve seen anything led by something non-iPhone, particularly with the use of new technology.

This morning, I came across a Microsoft ad that featured one of their Microsoft Tags.

I had high expectations for this experience, it being a Microsoft Tag on a Microsoft ad about Microsoft Office.  (I didn’t quite get the 3-D thing on the text – don’t know if you can see it, but I looked past it).  What I got was a nice, easy site with videos.  My first impression was that it was good, but really, it just left me feeling like it was any other code/scanning experience that I’ve seen.

Then, I looked closer and went through the experience again. I have to say, it’s well thought-out and includes some little things that really separate it from others that I’ve seen. First, the videos are highly produced and there are lots of them! And they’re all sharable via Facebook and/or Twitter. The social integration is smooth and it pre-polpulates an #Office2010 hashtag. Besides that, it gives you a blank field to draft your own tweet. (Having done this before, I’ve elected to pre-draft the entire tweet for the user, including the hashtag, just for the ease of experience. In the end, people are used to drafting tweets on their phone so I suppose it doesn’t make much of a difference). The most important aspect here is that this feature extends the brand experience beyond this particular “channel.”

They extend channels via another feature, too – an email sign up to “receive details on how to get a free trial of Office 2010.”  This not only drives the user deeper into the brand, it drives them one step closer to purchase, which is the end goal, right?  Smart.

And on top of it all, navigating this mobile site is like navigating any good website on your computer.

This is what I expect from one of these experiences, particularly from a maker of this type of technology.  I’m glad I looked again, because it gave me a chance to notice things I should notice.  It doesn’t always have to be unique right off the bat, upon first glance.  Often times, regardless of what technology or channel it’s in, the elegance is in the details.  As is the case here.

700% shows awareness of this technology.  That’s a great indicator of widespread adoption.  What’s on the other end of the scan, as David and anyone else who’s dealt with/analyzed these technologies says, is going to be the key to real adoption.