Tag Archives: MS Surface

Top 5 Moments of DSE 2010

As you’ve read from previous posts, I found DSE to be very rewarding.  My top 5 moments:

1.  Hard Rock Café Access – My first impressions from everything there were mixed – overwhelmed, underwhelmed (in a weird sort of way), giddy, and confused.  Stepping away from it all, I’m able to digest all that I experienced there.  No matter what, that Rock Wall really does rock.  MS Surfaces are fun to play around with and I’m sure that if I were dining there, I would play with the booth touch screens to the point where it would probably be annoying.  Truth be told, with all of the interactivity there, there might not be a better place for lovers of the 11th Screen world to go, including me.  Interestingly enough, I just saw that these were featured in what I consider to be the gold standard in industry recognition – the new Communication Arts Interactive Annual (yet to be published online).

2.  One-on-one discussions – the information and knowledge that I took away from the formal sessions paled in comparison to all of the one-on-one discussions I had.  Guys at the Preset GroupSymon Communications, Reflect Systems, Muzak, Digital Signage Today, Daily DOOH, Arinc, and Daktronics – I enjoyed meeting you all and I look forward to continuing the conversation.  We are all excited about the future of digital/interactive out of home.

3.  The different & consistent perspectives of the future of DOOH – everyone talked about the future of digital out of home being bright.  They also talked about the barriers we face – lack of consistency, measurement, and stories.  There are many companies in the industry doing the same exact thing, but there are far too few stories and proven success.  The industry, agencies, media planners/buyers, and clients need all three of these things – consistency, measurement standards, and stories.

4.  The on-the-floor workshops – I attended Keith Kelsen’s and Gary Kayye’s small workshops and they were, hands down, the best formalized sessions offered at the show.  Both are industry leaders and visionaries and I would recommend everyone hear them talk.

5.  Mobile and social integration into digital signage – by extension, mobile and social integration into digital signage makes it interactive signage.  I look at this as interactive out of home – 11th screen.  I believe that this is the immediate future of DOOH.  Content will always reign, and the better, more relevant the content is, the more people will be compelled to interact with it.  But once you connect people through content, you have deeper engagement.  And with deeper engagement, you strengthen relationships.  With strong relationships, you have trust and with trust, you have loyalty and advocacy.  I saw two companies integrating mobile & social – LocaModa (who you’ve probably all heard of, thanks to Jumbli) and Aerva (who I just heard of) – watch out for them both, especially Aerva.  They have a great offering(s).

Again, none of this would have happened without the folks at DSE.  They were really good to me and “thanks” on paper just doesn’t seem like it can capture my gratitude.  I look forward to seeing them again.

How about you guys?  What were your top moments of DSE?

1st Session of the Day: #20

Had a work conference call right before this 8:00 session.  All I’m going to say right now is QR codes and cars are keeping me busy.

This session, Creative Tactics for Integrating Digital Signage in Different Environments, has a good panel:

  • Steve from Symon – “Visual Communications Solutions” of which digital signage is a part of
  • Jeremy from Razorfish – emerging media, enough said
  • Bryan from OpenEye – unique experiences through digital media in various environments

I’m going to hear the stories that OVAB mentioned yesterday that we need – the case studies.

Landscape is constantly changing – number of things that are competing for consumer’s attention:  traditional media, new media, social media.  Everywhere an individual turns today, they’re being bombarded by information.  It’s a different world today, more people are gravitating to online media, now mobile elevating in importance, social, too. 

Just having a digital sign on the wall doesn’t mean your message is going to be delivered, seen, absorbed.  You have to do something unique.  If you’re going to keep people from looking at their handsets instead of the digital sign, you have to do something uniquely different.

Bryan (OpenEye) – what do we do with content (non-advertising based content)?  A huge question?  Create identity to help strengthen the brand.  Emphasize the brand values, culture.  Help educate the viewer.  Perception is that content is video – not so – look at other dynamic media formats, for example Flash.  Look at a way of using content to create a very visual, unique experience.  How do we keep the screen fresh?  Keep people from overlooking it?  You have to create a consistent message across other mediums.  There’s a way to pull all that together and put something effective, consistent on digital signage.

(He’s showing examples)

Sovereign Bank example – incorporate media into the environment, not product promotion.  Create unique experience for the customer.  They developed a series of videos/content of people within the bank, also to show local businesses.  All outside of advertising.  Also product promotion, but used it in an educational way.  Approach this as extending the relationship with the customer and the brand.

Smithsonian Institute Museum of Natural History example – problem with foot traffic, trying to get people from one location to another, to other exhibits.  Another challenge – need to incorporate into existing environment, couldn’t move the exhibits.  They looked at the architecture, the area – how do we get screens into the existing environment?  And not oversaturate the environment?  This is a non-advertising based network.  The ROI is how big the person’s smile is when they leave.  (I’m hearing this consistenly here.  Perhaps OK for non-advertising based networks??)

Jeremy (Razorfish) – It’s about understanding the audience that’s going to be there and how to best impact them.  What’s the dwell time?  It’s a delicate balance.  Every time you do one of these, you learn a little bit more.  Test and learn process.  4 examples:

Microsoft example – Windows Phone 7 Series.   Big touch screen that allows people to understand how the phone software looks/functions on a large screen, with the absence of phones themselves.  Only had 6 weeks to do it.  Thought about the content first.  Animation, video.  Instructional.  Experience.  From technology perspective – multi-touch, directional audio, Windows 7 based.  Utilized their Razorfish Touch Framework.  Also had tracking mechanisms built in as well.  Will use the data to evolve the solution.  Design – they worked closely with the MS booth guys.  They really wanted to draw people to the screens.  One of the biggest challenges is to reverse engineer the animations.  Needed to spend a lot of time making sure it was consistent with the animation on the phone.

Retailer example – back-to-school initiative, wanted to drive to denim dept (jeans).  Side by side touchscreens on a vacant storefront.  Covered the storefront in a static wrap.  Full-screen attract loop, made some contextual inferences – Starbucks close by, so mentioned something about the coffee.  Heavy use of interactive video – video based on user’s decisions/interactions.  A lot of that interactive video content was put on the website.  We’re able to get more bang for the buck.  Timeout screen if not interacted with after a period of time.  Technology – rear-projection film.  Their proprietary touch framework and analytics framework.

Audi example – surface experience as part of a tradeshow booth.  Developed a complimentary iPhone application, too.  Car configurator.  Really rich 3-D.  Various POVs.   Audi-branded “puck” (I believe called a “muster” in the surface developer crowds) that brings up additional menus.  Multi-user, multi-touch.  Simple gesture that switches the whole interface around if others are interacting with the same surface.

AT&T example – surface experience in retail store.  Most difficult considerations – do you want people sitting?  Standing?  Elevated?  Fixture around it?  How do you “present” it?  Challenge with managing that number of people around it and the whole experience (like standing).

Questions –

  • How do you see these experiences evolving?  A: mobile phones, social networking…digital signage is just a complimentary medium.  It doesn’t stop, it extends. 
  • How do you get past the barrier of intimidation, particularly for touch screens?  A: It’s about finding ways to attract people into the experience.  It’s the content.  But then, it’s all about how it looks in the environment.  When it comes to multi-touch, gesture-based, the iPhone has really paved the way.  But it’s a consideration – either visual or text-based, instruction needs to be there.  Also, are there any on-site support (retail store employees, car salesman, etc..) 
  • Nationally-known brands – who are the leaders in embracing this technology/experience?  A: From OpenEye’s perspective, there is “private” clothier who is looking to create these types of experience.  Smaller organizations like that seem to embrace this type of technology.  From Razorfish’s perspective, one of the most innovative retailers is Ralph Lauren.  Touch screen windows for years.  QR codes, too.  From both perspective, there’s not a lot of case studies out there, so there is a tremendous amount of educating that comes along with talking to clients.

My thoughts – These guys are marketers, I can relate to everything they’re saying from personal experience.  They’re saying all the right things.  Cool examples, but examples that I read about online or in trades.  1 hour is not enough time for a session like this.  So many questions, primarily around the future.  I wish I would have gotten to hear Steve share some examples, but he just moderated.  Off to coffee with him now.

Hit the Ground Running

I kept up with the plane’s momentum and hit the ground running as soon as we landed.  I had to rewind my clock to set myself on Pacific time, which kills me, btw.  So, while I landed at 9:18 Texas time, it was really 7:18 Vegas time.  My deadline was 8:30 – 8:45 at the Hard Rock Cafe to catch the tour.  I wanted to drop my bag at the hotel, register at the Convention Center, and make it to the Hard Rock in what was essentially an hour.  Plenty of time, right?

I felt so anxious the entire time, rushing to every destination.  And it didn’t help that I had the slowest cab drivers, despite my direction to “get me there as fast as you can.”  The broken red light right by the hotel didn’t help either.  Once we got to the hotel, I dashed inside, they had my room, I took my bags up, and then viva Convention Center.  That ride seemed to take an hour, but I got registered there and had a speedy cabby take me to the Hard Rock.  There, I walked back and forth between the cafe and the casino and across the street and everywhere in between and still could not find the tour-gatherers.  Of course, it turned out that there is a NEW Hard Rock Cafe on the strip and that’s where everyone was to meet.

So, I rode over to the new cafe – it was 8:50 by now – with two really nice guys, Phillip (from Arinc) and Seth (from Daktronics).  They both work for digital signage & network providers, were interested in new technologies, and asked me what “11th Screen” meant.  Good conversation.

Most importantly though, we all made the tour!!  The Hard Rock crew and the tour-gatherers welcomed us in, gave us some behind-the-scenes access, good talk with the GM, and then let us play with all of the technology.  And let me stress ALL of the technology.  It was almost overwhelming, how much interactive technology they have.  First, the centerpiece is the Rock Wall, a huge, 18×4 interactive, multi-user, multi-touch wall that holds 70,000 pieces of Rock & Roll memorabilia.

Then, they had quite a few Microsoft Surface displays, each with a well of content, too.

And if that weren’t enough, each booth had a small touchscreen that users could interact with and, among other things, search Hard Rock’s retail inventory.  The video is the least compelling, thanks to my direction.

As much as I love all of this sort of technology and all of these solutions, I think that they are missing an opportunity, primarily to drive additional sales.  There are no ties to ordering or purchasing anything in the cafe (including the retail store) from any of these devices.  I know that it is complicated to tie into larger systems like POS systems, but I feel like they could get much more (true) value out of these than they are currently getting. 

To their credit, their whole objective is to drive deeper engagement between the brand and the consumers, so as long as people are interacting with this technology, thus the brand, they are achieving their objective.  Aside from all this, two nuggets of information that I found interesting:

1. The average age of people visiting Vegas is 49 years old.  And Hard Rock believes that this technology is for this demo.  I actually think that the Hard Rock demo is younger than this and this could be the reason they are getting so much interaction.  And who wouldn’t want to play with these things.  Even if they are overwhelming.

2. Apparently, it only took 1 year from ideation to “turned on.”  I just can’t believe that.  Wow.

More of my adventure later….