Tag Archives: touch screen

advertising

Facial Recognition Coming To A Store Near You

Last month, in my post, “Maybe a Little Big Brother is OK,” I wrote about behavioral marketing on the Web. By that I mean when technology tracks what kinds of things we seem to be interested in by our Web browsing behavior, and then serves up advertising tailored to our apparent interests. I talked about how what at one time seemed somewhat scary now seems benign and even helpful. At least I certainly find it helpful and most people I talk to feel the same way to the degree that they notice it at all.

But that’s on the Web. Now new technology is being brought to market that has the potential to change the way we experience brick-and-mortar shopping — shopping in stores — just as significantly.

Last month, at Digital Signage Expo 2011, we (Flypaper Studio) got a lot of attention when we demonstrated a Flypaper/Intel solution that served advertising content on digital signs to passers-by based on their gender and estimated age. It’s an example of facial recognition technology. It uses a camera built into or attached to the sign. In our case, the camera was delivering the video stream to Intel’s AIM Suite software, which would assess if anyone were actually looking at the sign. If anyone was, either individuals or groups, the software would determine their gender and estimate their age. It would then send that information to the advertising content that had been built in Flypaper, and the content itself would determine which ad or ads to display.

The benefit to the viewer of the sign is that they see advertisements (or information) that are more likely to be of interest to them. The 65-year-old male doesn’t see a Baby Gap ad, for example. The benefit to the advertiser is that their ads are displayed to people who are more likely to be interested.

When the digital signage is touch-screen, as ours was, the possibilities are even greater, because the content can measure effectiveness and utility. For example, of women ages 30-40 who were shown version A of an Ann Taylor ad, only 25 percent approached the sign and began interacting with it. But when they were shown version B, 35 percent did so. Again, both viewers and advertisers benefit.

This is only one example of the types of things that are becoming possible. In future posts from time to time I’ll describe how loyalty programs (think VIP cards for grocery stores), mobile devices like smart phones, and digital signage can all work together to improve shopping experiences out in brick-and-mortar land.

HP PC Tablet

Getting Touchy with Tablets

I just heard about something that I think is not only really, really cool, but has a real chance to impact the nature of how we interact with computing devices in the future.

It’s called TeslaTouch. If you’re a user of a touch-pad device like the iPad or, to a lesser degree, if you’re a user of a touch-screen smart-phone, you’re familiar with the problem it addresses. When you use one of the glass screens on these devices you can see what’s happening, but you don’t get any tactile feedback. This can be an especially big issue when you’re typing. If you’re a touch-typist with any proficiency at all, trying to type on a glass screen can be an extremely frustrating experience. Instead of focusing on your thoughts and having the words just appear you’re often reduced to some form of “hunt-and-peck.” At the very least, you frequently have to stop and make corrections. The reason is that you don’t get the tactile feedback from the glass screen that you get from a physical keyboard.

The keyboard often has special keys where the “f” and “j” keys are so your fingers know that they’re beginning in the appropriate “home row” position. And from there, your fingers know immediately when they’ve missed a key you’re trying to press, or when you’ve pressed two at once. But with a smooth glass screen everything feels the same, including the spaces between keys. This problem was by far the most critical deciding factor for me choosing an HP EiliteBook Tablet PC over an iPad recently. The iPad is much lighter, lasts much longer on a charge, and is just all around much cooler… but doesn’t have a keypad. There was no way I could use it as my primary computing device without one.

But TeslaTouch fixes the problem by using small electric impulses to change how the screen feels at different places. Touch one place; receive on sensation. Touch another; receive a different one. So, for example, the “home” keys could have a different sensation than other keys. And the space between keys could offer no sensation at all. Touch-typing problem solved!

Not surprisingly, there are numerous potential uses beyond more effectively emulating a keyboard. For example, objects on the screen could be made to “feel” heavier or lighter relative to others. For example, large files could “feel” heavier than smaller files. Very useful to know when you’re trying to download or transfer files over a connection. Or “rubbing” a folder might convey to you how “heavy” its contents are. Dragging and dropping items could be enhanced too: successfully dropping the item on the target could be felt as a “snap.” If you don’t feel the snap you know immediately you missed. Certainly you’re getting the visual feedback as well, but adding the tactile feedback creates a much more holistic feel to the interaction.

We’re already in the midst of an accelerating transition away from keyboards and mice to a more direct interaction with objects on the screen. TeslaTouch, if successful, could dramatically speed up that transition. If the iPad were equipped with TeslaTouch, I’d probably be on my way to the store right now.

Apple The iPad Dazzles - AZ Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010

The iPad Dazzles, But Is It Worth $500?

It’s only been a few months since the iPad’s April debut, but Apple’s latest light-weight cordless gadget has — for most — lived up to its expectations. Sans keyboard and mouse, the iPad offers a versatile online experience through a 9.7-inch glossy touch screen. You can search the Web instantly, pull up maps that are clearer and crisper than a paper printout, listen to music, read endless amounts of books and magazines, and access many more apps with the touch of one button.

If you own an iPhone and love it, the iPad could be a new favorite, as it is much easier on the eyes and extremely simple to navigate. Even if you are not familiar with the iPhone, the iPad may have you saying “can’t leave home without it,” due to its relatively small size (weighing in at only a pound and a half), slim shape and useful applications.

And, several months later, the iPad continues surpassing demand expectations. With such a tough economy, it seems surprising that people are finding an extra $500 to splurge on a device that is not a necessity. But could it actually be the future of business communications or a corporate norm? We spoke with Pendleton C. Waugh, vice president and co-founder of Phoenix-based Smartcomm, a company dedicated to offering opportunities in the wireless industry, to find out his thoughts on this new device and the implications it has on business users.

How do you see the iPad helping with business uses?
Well, Apple sells all the applications you would normally use on a computer for work, like Word, Excel, even PowerPoint. You can just add those apps. And if you don’t like using the touch screen, you can hook an extra keyboard to your iPad and type away.

What application do you find the most helpful for work, currently?

I like the note taking application. It replaces paper. I can just type up my notes, and then e-mail them to myself or to anyone else — and there you go.

So no more paper and pens for your meetings?
No, I don’t need them. I take the iPad into all my meetings and type away. I did recently add an extended keyboard, but up to now I’ve just been using the touch screen. You just tap on the letters; it’s very easy and user friendly — much like the iPhone interface.

Do you see the iPad complementing or replacing a laptop or computer at work?
The iPad is going to be your computer at work. But it won’t replace your desktop or laptop. Your desk computer will remain at your desk while you’re in the office, but the idea of “desk jobs” is rapidly disappearing. Your iPad will be your PC, so you can work from it wherever you are, and then your desktop will be your server to access any information. We’re going wireless. According to SNL Kagan, a financial information firm that collects, standardizes and distributes corporate, financial, market and M&A data, about 80 percent of households will be wireless within 10 years. If you want to see the future of businesses and communications, walk into an Apple store. There’s the future.

What kind of industries would find the iPad useful?
The iPad provides a more effective way of storing, organizing, using and retrieving information. There are a lot of people who didn’t realize the iPad was going to be a big hit and still don’t think it is. But it is revolutionizing our communication standards, going from voice data to video. We are using smart devices that keep getting faster and more efficient, just like Gordon E. Moore (Intel co-founder) predicted in what we now know as Moore’s Law. So many capabilities of computers are linked back to this law, from processing speed, memory capacity, sensors, and even the number of pixels on a camera. The iPad can help industries communicate more efficiently.

The iPad is supposed to be great for streaming video, but video quality is low With the YouTube application.
It might have something to do with the network. For example, even though I have access to Wi-Fi, I’m using AT&T’s 3-G network. It’s possible that the network doesn’t have enough bandwidth to play the video clearly, but I’m not sure. When you use an iPad, it sucks up bandwidth like there’s no tomorrow.

What are some other observations?
The iPad has definitely been a positive experience for the principals in our company in changing how we approach work scenarios. It beats taking notes on paper or the occasional napkin, and allows the ability to instantly e-mail anything typed up on the electronic tablet. The iPad is travel-friendly and uncomplicated to use. The price is reasonable. It’s not cheap, but it won’t break the bank, and the general consensus, from other media reviews, is that it’s worth the money.

Arizona Business Magazine Sept/Oct 2010