Minority Report

 

Is close to becoming reality.  Researchers at IBM have revealed they are working on technology which will lead to consumers being shown tailor made adverts that reflect their personal interests. Digital advertising screens are already appearing in train stations, on bus stops and on the sides of buildings, but currently they only show generic adverts for a handful of products.

Adidas today launched a new kind of in-store window shopping experience with a big giant screen that allows you order clothing and other products. Here is how they describe it in their press release.

The new storefront window is a fully functioning virtual store with life-size products. The intuitive interface of the touch-screen window lets shoppers explore, play and drag life-size products they are interested in directly into their smartphone for easy and convenient purchase from adidas NEO online.

By visiting a simple URL via their smartphone and typing in a one-time PIN, the shopper’s mobile becomes interlinked in real time with a shopping bag on the window, showing a live view of its contents. Any product dropped into the window’s shopping bag instantly appears on the mobile. The shopper can edit product details, save products for immediate or later purchase and share with friends through social media or email.

Shoppers can also play with a life-size digital model showcasing NEO’s fashion range in a fun and engaging way. By touching hotspots on the window the shopper can make the mannequin show product details, interact with the product and make playful actions and movements.

The technology being used has been created by Oblong.  They were founded in 2006 with the goal of creating the next generation of computing interfaces.  Their Chief Scientist, John Underkoffler, designed the computer interfaces in the film Minority Report.

Oblong‘s technology platform brings data sets, workspaces, and communications channels to life across multiple screens. It allows interaction from any number or type of input devices simultaneously, including touch screens, phones, and tablets. And it frees the user from sitting in one place, tied to one device.

The three most important trends in the technology world today are cheaper pixels, evolving device form factors, and increasing amounts of accessible data.  Oblong provides a new generation of computing tools — a new technology platform — built around these three trends.

We don’t need no stinking stores 🙂

Webman

 

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Touchscreens – Part 2

Last week we touched on some of the amazing technology we are now dealing with as consumers and business people.  The touchscreens on our smartphones and tablet devices have enabled amazing things with regard to your creativity, productivity and overall engagement with the content on these devices.

These devices and the rapid emergence of social networks have provided an incredible amount of new advertising inventory for businesses to reach their consumers while also significantly increasing the difficulty of communicating with their customers.  So what is a business to do?  How engaged are consumers on these new devices and how responsive are they to advertising?

The IAB is the Internet Advertising Bureau and they have just published a new study about consumer responsiveness to advertising on touchscreen devices. Ads that appear on touchscreen devices like tablets and smartphones are showing some of the highest levels of engagement of all digital ads.

Before we delve into some of the detail, let’s pop it up a level and frame the different types of the mobile value proposition and consumer engagement.

Mobile value propositions vary by device type:

  • Smartphones are mission-critical devices for life, with nearly 70% of smartphone users saying they “won’t leave home without it.”
  • By contrast, tablets are a media consumption hub, with nearly 70% of tablet users reporting that their tablet is an “entertainment device.”
  • Engagement on tablets surpasses engagement on smartphones. Across key dimensions – use/consumption, the receptivity and action related to advertising, and the activity of shopping – tablet users are more easily engaged.
  • Although smartphones are more likely than tablets to be used outside the home, there is a clear reliance on their smartphones across high-value activities at home as well, for example while reading print media and watching TV.

Mobile affects traditional media consumption in distinct ways. Two audiences are emerging – one that drives traditional media through mobile (so mobile complements or augments their traditional media usage); another that detracts (so mobile substitutes for or replaces traditional media).  Almost half of tablet owners say having a tablet has had an impact (positive OR negative) on the amount of time they spend reading magazines and newspapers.

Here are some initial headlines from the report:

Size matters. Between tablet and smartphone users, the IAB found that those on tablets  are actually more engaged in advertising. When asked if they engage with ads more than once a week — that is, click on an ad for more information — 47 percent of tablet users responded yes, compared to 25 percent of smartphone users. Tablet users were also more likely to “take action” on the ad (that could mean buying something, downloading something, filling out a survey, or visiting another site): 89 percent of tablet users took action versus 80 percent of smartphone users.

The medium is the message. Also, as we’ve seen from other tablet research, people are more likely to be using their tablets to read and consume entertainment media for longer periods of time, while smartphones are about short bursts of use. Those shorter bursts imply that users will be less inclined to spend time clicking around on ads than on the tablet. Among smartphone users, 47 percent of smartphone users say they “never” interact with mobile ads, compared to just 23 percent on tablets.

Context is king. The top three categories for mobile ads, as ranked by respondents, were the same across tablets and smartphones, although their rankings differed. They were coupons related to things users were already browsing;  ads for products that were already being shopped for; and favorite brands (again possibly related to your browsing activity).

Much more information can be found in the 70 page report that was completed.  You can download the full report at http://www.iab.net/media/file/IAB-Mobile-Devices-Report-final.pdf.  More to follow on this once I can dig a little deeper into the findings.

Webman

Touchscreens

Since the beginning of our computing experience, we were tethered to the computer either through a mouse or a touchpad on the computer.  This devices enabled us to interact with our e-mail, games, browsers etc. and enabled us to navigate through the many options that exist in this wild, wild world.  But now all of that has been changed by the touchscreens available on our smartphones and tablets.  And what a new phenomenon this is.  We push, we pinch, we use all five fingers to make new and even more amazing things happen, all with our phalanges.

And this reminds me of a song:

Come on, come on, come on, come on
Now touch me, baby
Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Now, I’m gonna love you
Till the heavens stop the rain
I’m gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky for you and I
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/d/doors/touch+me_20042756.html ]
Come on, come on, come on, come on
Now touch me, baby
Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

I’m gonna love you
Till the heavens stop the rain
I’m gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky for you and I

Touch Me – The Doors

A classic of course.  But now back to the touchscreen topic.  What is a touchscreen you might ask?

A touchscreen is an electronic visual display that can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area. The term generally refers to touching the display of the device with a finger or hand. Touchscreens can also sense other passive objects, such as a stylus. Touchscreens are common in devices such as game consoles, all-in-one computers, tablet computers, and smartphones.

The touchscreen has two main attributes. First, it enables one to interact directly with what is displayed, rather than indirectly with a pointer controlled by a mouse or touchpad. Secondly, it lets one do so without requiring any intermediate device that would need to be held in the hand (other than a stylus, which is optional for most modern touchscreens). Such displays can be attached to computers, or to networks as terminals. They also play a prominent role in the design of digital appliances such as the personal digital assistant (PDA), satellite navigation devices, mobile phones, and video games. (Sourced from Wikipedia)

There are many forms of touch technology. The first touchscreen appeared in 1965, and while we think of them as a relatively recent development, it’s easy to forget we’ve been using them in devices like cash machines for nearly 30 years.

More recently, we’ve seen two main types of touchscreen technology. The older resistive type uses a screen comprising two separate layers with a small gap between them. Pressing down on the top layer makes it touch the bottom layer, and the connection is recorded as a tap. The biggest drawback with resistive screens is that they’re far less accurate than other technologies, and most don’t support multi-touch.

Capacitive touchscreens use glass displays insulated with a conductive layer. As our fingers are also conductive, touching the screen produces a small charge that produces a disruption in the screen’s electrostatic field, which is recorded. Capacitive technologies are more accurate than resistive, and support multi-touch gestures.

Despite their obvious advantage, capacitive screens have their disadvantages too: they rely on the charge in your finger, so they won’t work with gloves.

These days, a new technology based on old standards is gaining ground. Optical touchscreens are developed by a company called NextWindow.  Working together, two optical sensors track the movement of any object close to the surface by detecting the interruption of an infra-red light source. The light is emitted in a plane across the surface of the screen and can be either active (infra-red LED) or passive (special reflective surfaces).

At the heart of the system is a printed circuit controller board that receives signals from the optical sensors.  Its software then compensates for optical distortions and triangulates the position of the touching object with extreme accuracy.

Some techno babble for you today.  All I know is that I love my iPad and my iPhone and the touchscreen capabilities are just awesome.

Enjoy the day.

Webman

Touch Me!

Come on, come on, come on
Come on now touch me, baby
Can’t you see that I am not afraid?
What was that promise that you made?
Why won’t you tell me what she said?
What was that promise that you made?

Now, I’m gonna love you
Till the heavens stop the rain
I’m gonna love you
Till the stars fall from the sky for you and I

Touch Me – The Doors

Touch is an essential form of communication.  A gentle touch for the person you love; touching your new born child to soothe their anguish or to  help them get to sleep; a strong handshake; a hug.  And of course the need to use a keyboard to type a letter, construct a powerpoint presentation, create a web-site, write code as just a few examples.

The QWERTY keyboard has been with us for a very long time. QWERTY is the most common modern-day keyboard layout. The name comes from the first six letters (keys) appearing in the top left letter row of the keyboard, read left to right: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. The QWERTY design is based on a layout created for the Sholes and Glidden typewriter and sold to Remington in the same year, when it first appeared in typewriters. It became popular with the success of the Remington No. 2 of 1878, and remains in use on electronic keyboards due to the network effect of a standard layout and a belief that alternatives fail to provide very significant advantages. The use and adoption of the QWERTY keyboard is often viewed as one of the most important case studies in open standards because of the widespread, collective adoption and use of the product, particularly in the United States.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QWERTY

Continuing our discussion about how things are changing, we are rapidly becoming a “Touch Screen” society.  In 2012, life will take place via ever more pervasive, personal and interactive screens.  2012 will see three mega-tech currents converge: screens will be (even more): ubiquitous / mobile / cheap / always on; interactive and intuitive (via touchscreens, tablets and so on); an interface to everything and anything that lies beyond the screen (via the mobile web and, increasingly and finally mainstream in 2012, ‘the cloud’). In fact, the future for most devices will be a world where consumers will care less about them and just about the screen, or rather what’s being accessed through it.

If you own any of these devices,  you know what I am talking about.  We touch the screen and great things happen.  We access our music, we select the artist, we change the volume level, we download an app, we change the colors, we transfer money, we pay bills, we change channels by using our smart phone as our tv controller, we check the weather, we forward articles, we create likes on Facebook, we post images on Pinterest, we take pictures, we re-size images, we play Words with Friends/Scrabble –  the list goes on and on.  All by using a touch screen interface, with very little interaction with our QWERTY keyboards.

All of this and more by touching a screen – remarkable really 🙂

Enjoy the day.

Webman