Tag Archives: Kinect

Digital Out-of-Home Demand and Noise – in 7 Parts

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

Part 1

Last week, I read an intriguing article by Garrick Schmitt of Razorfish, titled How Demand for Physical Experiences is Transforming our Physical Spaces. In it, he points out how the entire physical world around us is becoming a screen and that consumers’ expectations have reached a point to where that physical world should be turned on in some form or fashion. This is a viewpoint that I have mostly gotten behind many times on this blog. I say mostly because of those consumer expectations. I’m not sure that, even now, in August 2011, consumers expect the physical spaces around them to be turned on, and even more, transformed into interactive experiences. I don’t know that average consumer capacity is ready for that. What do you think?

Part 2

Guess when that article was written? 2 years ago, in September 2009. Awesome. In my opinion, Schmitt has always been on the forefront of these technology-led experiences in the real world around us. This is case-in-point.

I remember back during that time, it was around the time that I was leading the software development at imc2, for our interactive Out-of-Home solution. I always admired how Schmitt recognized the potential – and future demand – for these types of experiences.

Time is a funny thing, especially in regards to technology adoption. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about here. Consumer demand is directly tied to their comfort level with any particular technology. We’re just now seeing smartphone use creep their way up to the majority. Smartphones have been around for years. But just now, after all these years, the average consumer is not intimidated by them. They know how to work them and, even more, know how they can make their lives better. It also helps that everyone can now afford them. Kinect is another great example. I wonder how comfortable people would have been with the idea of gesture control, at such an immersive level, two years ago?

Part 3

In the article, Schmitt points to “Out-of-Home” examples that are driven by enabling technologies (mobile and RFID) and people themselves (social media).

I think it’s easy to think about touchscreen-this-and-that when you think about the world around us being turned on. But, as shown in the Schmitt article, and in some of the more recent engaging examples, actual public touchscreens are not part of these experiences. The place or the thing is the canvas and the interactivity is controlled outside of it, either through mobile phones or computers.

The effective thing with all of these examples – and the thing that I think we can all learn from – is that consumers want it all, in the most convenient way. What I mean is, consumers want information and connections and whatever else they deem valuable. And they’re always going to be driven by what they’re comfortable with because it’s usually the easiest. They’re used to being on computers, connecting with other people through their social networks. They’re used to navigating to whatever they want on their mobile phones. Are they used to walking up to a touchscreen and interacting with it?

Part 4

Also last week (the same day I read the Schmitt article), I saw that Cinemax deployed an immersive touchscreen experience in the heart of New York City.

As you can see, the experience spans the front of an entire NYC building. It’s obviously noticeable. Consumers are enticed by it. And, by the looks of this video, comfortable enough to go up and play with it.

Having lived and worked in NYC, to get anyone to stop and interact with a storefront, is a feat in and of itself.

Yes, people can also interact with this experience through their mobile phone. But this is largely a public-facing, touchscreen experience. And it doesn’t seem like anyone in the video is a) intimidated or b) unaware of how to use it.

Is this indicative of Anytown USA?

Part 5

QR codes. What can be simpler? In the past year, they’ve gone from nothing to everything, at least in terms of visibility. My wife knows that “those are the things you can scan with your smartphone.”

They’re a great bridge between the real world with the virtual world and quite effective of turning those places/things around us “on.”

They’re everywhere now.

But the question is, despite their simplicity, why am I the only one who I ever see scan them?

Part 6

Simplicity and comfort are not the only two linchpins to this demand that we all know is coming. You can bring up the Minority Report analogies all you want, but this is not a far-fetched representation of our future world. Glorified, perhaps. But not unrealistic.

Two years ago, all of these interactive Out-of-Home activations were novel enough to garner attention. Are we still in that novel stage?

Part 7

Value. That’s really the question, right?

In this constantly-on physical world, what’s going to be noise and what’s going to be valuable?

By virtue, demand always creates noise.

Are consumers ready for all that noise?


Friday’s 4-1-1, Gamification Style

I work in a fairly small group in a fairly large company.  We have about 25 people in our group, specifically.  Come to find out, 4 of us are all alumni of the same college – Texas State University (at the time that 3 of us were going to school, it was called Southwest Texas State.  Although this dates us with the younger kids, it’s something that we’re proud of and never hesitate to distinguish).  As far as colleges go and as far as colleges go in Texas, it’s a smaller school, so it’s unusual (and random) that we find ourselves all working in the same group.  Recently, an opportunity came available to us at our alma mater, speaking at the annual Mass Comm Week.  So, this past Tuesday, the 4 of us loaded up in a car and took the 4-hour roadtrip down to San Marcos for the day and spoke on a panel together about Going Digital:  Changes in the Advertising & PR Industry.  After the discussion, one of the students in the crowd asked me about “gamification” and what our views on it were.  First, it was a fancy word (one that I liked nonetheless) and second, it was fun to answer her!  The concept of life becoming like a game is pretty deep if you truly think about it.  The implications are freaky, and whether we like it or not, not far from reality.  So, today, I bring you the Gamification 4-1-1:

1.  Nike Turns London Into a Game Board to Get People Running – Very simply, Nike makes a game out of running.  They wanted to extend their message on the importance of being active, so instead of creating billboards or other “standard” media extensions, they decided to make the campaign into a game.  Online, everything begins and ends on the GRID website.


I loved this quote from Tom Coates from Yahoo – “GRID is part of a growing category of ideas that sits within, as Tom Coates of Yahoo! describes, the ‘real world web,'” Douglas writes, “connected things that blur the physical and virtual spaces–things that thrive primarily because they excite us as humans, rather than being a vehicle for demonstrating technical capability.” This ability to connect the physical (offline) and virtual (online) worlds is really the “true” potential of OOH.  This “new” OOH is not about making people aware of the message by putting it up as big as you can on a billboard or on the side of a bus or throwing some display technology at it.  It’s about getting that message across through engagement.  This is a perfect example.

2.  Puma Makes Everything a Game – Shoe-makers and their gamification.  What is it?

Puma Scoreboard

I found the usability frustrating, but the concept is great.  And it just goes to show that there is definitely something to this gamification thing.  Everyone wants to make everything a game nowadays, and technology has enabled it to the point to where it actually can be.  Look no further than Foursquare, Gowalla, and/or MyTown.  Actually, look no further than Nike or Puma.

3.  Microsoft’s Newest Acquisition is About 3-D Gesture Controls – So, I wrote about Microsoft’s gaming/motion-sensing device, Kinect, a couple of months ago when it was officially announced.  Now, today, comes interesting news that they are acquiring Canesta, “the manufacturer of semiconductor chips capable of sensing movement and gestures in 3-D.”  Just watch the demo:

So, yeah, the Minority Report/Iron Man whiz-bang isn’t too far off now, is it?  These are great strides.  Obviously, technology is mind-blowing.  I don’t know how long it’s going to be until technology like this is part of our normal lives, but it’s coming.  And if the industry is still talking about integrating “Digital” OOH into the marketing mix in a year, I’m afraid “Interactive” OOH into the experience mix is going to be quite a surprise.  By nature, this is (non)tangible extension to the fancy gamification.

4.  10 Reasons Why Smartphones Won’t Kill DOOH – Ever – Another thought-provoking piece from LocaModa, this time a good analysis between mobile and DOOH.  While all of Stephen’s points are relevant to the larger discussion, they are not to the gamification discussion.  Point #8, though – “Multichannel” – is quite relevant:  The smartphone screen isn’t the only screen competing for a user’s attention. With mobile, computers, TVs, cinemas and DOOH, advertisers are taking a multiple channel approach to their messaging. This means that ultimately ALL screens will be connected. Rather than a one size fits all approach, the media landscape is actually becoming more fragemented and micro-targeted as a result. This means that the phone screen is often part of a 360 degree solution – it’s not the entire solution – and neither is DOOH. All screens will be connected.  The places and things around us will become “screens.”  Everyone is connected, too.  See a theme here?  Sounds like the constructs of a game to me.

“Uh-huh” – Last week, I posted a story about how Mini created a “reality gaming” experience around one of their cars in Stockholm.  Yet another example of bringing us and the world around us together in an experience to engage in unique ways with brands and each other.  It’s quite appropriate in this week’s discussion, too.

“Duh” – Although not gamification-related, this is related to our panel discussion this week at Mass Comm week.  I said something that came out wrong and it’s bugged me ever since.  Just for some brief context – one of the unique aspects to the 4 of us alum working in the same group now is that we all come from different backgrounds.  I have an acting degree, another one has a directing degree, another one has a traditional PR/Comm degree, and the other one, well, I’m not sure what degree he has, but it’s different than all the rest of us.  Anyway, when we introduced ourselves, we gave a brief synopsis of our background and our journeys leading us up to working together right now.  I said something like this, “I got an acting degree, and there’s not anything from that degree (“what I learned in school”) that I use to make money other than maybe being able to speak in front of people.”  Ugh.  I knew, as I was saying it, it was all coming out wrong.  But I couldn’t stop.  First, these students don’t need to hear, “what you’re going to school for now, it’s really irrelevant, so why worry??”  No, that’s not the message I wanted to get across.  I’m a firm believer in life experience.  And no matter what you do, what jobs you’ve done, what you graduated with, all of the skills and experiences used during those times can help you in your present situation.  You’ve got to be aware of those things and constantly looking to call on those things, but it can all be used.  And it should.  What I meant to say is, “it’s less about the degree that you get because in reality, the real-world is much different than the college-world.  That said, these classes and this training prepares you for going out and doing your thing.  You’ll have to adjust many times throughout your career, and if you’re successful at adjusting, you’ll more than likely be successful in your career.”  At least that’s what I’ve found to be true.  Anyway, we were there for the students, and I really don’t feel like that one moment from me did them the best service.  So, if any of you guys are reading this now, take note. :)

Well, what a week.  I’m sure that this weekend, it being Halloween and all, with 3 kids ready to go trick-or-treating, I’m going to experience my fair share of gamification, even if it’s not the 2.0 version.

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.