You know that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise is walking through a mall and all the digital signs are talking to him and showing him highly targeted ads? Yeah, well, we are not there yet. But we are moving that direction. A New York City company called Inwindow Outdoor is testing several prototype digital “Experience Stations” in malls and hotel lobbies like the one I demo in the video above. They combine several interactive technologies—including motion capture, large touch screens, and NFC readers—to create immersive experiences in physical locations.
The unit I got a chance to play with above was loaded with a few typical apps designed to showcase its capabilities. These apps included everything from an interactive ad with a photobooth feature to a way to watch movie trailers and buy tickets with an NFC-enabled phone or unlock local deals from stores at that specific mall. The prototypes were built in partnership with Intel.
As with any digital platform, the experience is only as good as the developers make each app. The challenge in a physical setting is to make it so engaging that people actually will want to stop what they are doing or delay their journey to play with these things. My sense is that traditional ads won’t work so well unless these are positioned at the point of sale for a specific product and they operate as information kiosks. But for general brand messaging, making the apps more game-like with rewards provided by advertisers is the way to go.