He’s a smart cat (works with the retail-focused agency TPN) and I agree with much of what he says, though I am far less convinced Google Glass will take over the world or render other forms of retail and public communication irrelevant.
Here’s what I hope to see and hear about in the next few days:
The Samsung SoC initiative: A high quality commercial display panel that can play back smooth HD video and use HTML 5, with a tiny Linux-based CPU embedded in the enclosure, and wifi connectivity, at low or no additional cost should immediately raise eyebrows. These panels will not likely be used on overly sophisticated jobs, but maybe 80% of the projects and applications out there in the SMB universe (and big retail, as well) don’t need anything more than this.
Android: Numerous software companies will be showing how their software has been adjusted in some way to make the jump from x86-based PCs that costs hundreds of dollars to little gadgets that cost $50 or less. BroadSign is the latest to be showing something, and Navori (Swiss company) also had a $50 unit working on its well-established platform. This shot on the right is a Capital Networks’ Android box driving a display in an electrical distributor (39 store deployment they announced to day). Again, these units will not be finding their way into server racks of Fortune 500 company deployments, but there is no end to the numbers of digital menus and posters that just need a few vids or even JPEGs to cycle on a display.
Touch: I want to see what’s new in terms of overlays and new technologies that can affect how an interactive experience is navigated. I don’t mean truly stupid crap like waving you arms in front of Kinect, but touch overlays that have the responsiveness of a 10-inch tablet or tight, granular and intuitive gesture controls.
Creative: I want to see who else is out there producing work that looks good, and is effective. As I have noted many times, for an industry that spends every conference and trade show declaring content is king, there’s still not a lot of options for good creative providers. I get asked who to recommend, and I always start with Arsenal Media, then say Alchemy and then Flixio, and then I run out. I know there’s others, but it really is odd how few commercial options are out there.
Innovation: Like Manny, I am looking for ideas and applications that elevate the experience and service delivery. I don’t mean stuff that’s cool, because cool is so often impractical. I mean smarter new ways to apply available and emerging technology, and make everyday consumer activities easier and more compelling.
Differentiation: As a guy who use press access to get around and also a seat when I need it, the tradeoff is I get on the email list of everyone with a booth at the show. I have been carpet-bombed for weeks now with invitations and phone calls from companies asking me to schedule a meeting with them. Very, very few make a pitch that makes me think “I need to go see them or that.” I don’t care that what you have is game-changing, takes something to the next level, is industry-leading or revolutionary. I do care about stuff that reduces cost, time or complexity, or brings quality up to a level that’s expected (ie touch).
See you on the show floor (or at the mixer tonight).