Schematic multi-touch wall introduces some real world apps

July 1, 2009 by Dave Haynes

Interactive agency Schematic, a muti-office’d part of the monster WPP media group, just shut down a really interesting multi-touch interactive wall that was put up for the big Cannes international advertising festival in France.

It is a rare sighting of something involving multi-touch that actually has some practical commercial applications, though the cost of the screen and the development time to put this together was probably staggering. I have this image in my head of the Schematic account guy bringing along a defibrillator when he went in to present the job quote.

Looks cool, though.

As noticed on the DSE site:

Designed to help delegates get the most out of the event, the massive 12-foot-long by 5-foot high interactive display provides attendees with instant access to the complete festival program, 3D maps of the event and surrounding area, and information on local restaurants and bars. The Touchwall also allows delegates to schedule meetings with each other and to trade contact information over email.

The experience begins when an attendee places his or her event badge against the Touchwall. Equipped with an RFID reader, the Touchwall recognizes delegates through RFID tags embedded in the conference badges. Once the badge is authenticated, the Touchwall provides a personalized workspace on the display, from which users can then navigate the event. Multiple people can work side by side, creating a productive and fun environment for sharing information and ideas.

“The key to delivering the kind of game-changing results that clients demand lies increasingly in finding better ways to connect with consumers and to provide real value,” said Trevor Kaufman, CEO of New York-based Schematic. “With the Touchwall, we’re introducing a new platform that enables brands to create engaging digital experiences for their customers.

“These types of interactive-out-of-home installations will give advertisers new opportunities to better connect with consumers by giving the user control over the quality and duration of the interaction, while also offering a more personalized experience.”

“Cannes seemed like the idea stage to debut our new focus on the digital out-of-home space, and our intent is to raise the bar for the whole industry relative to the quality of user experiences that should and will occur on these devices,” added Matthew Coble general manager of Schematic’s Atlanta office.

Providing a fully immersive experience, the proprietary Touchwall technology was developed by Schematic from the ground up. Combining spatial navigation design, multiple database coordination, and a pristine and intuitive user interface, the Touchwall leverages Schematic’s deep expertise in software development and user interface design. Schematic hopes the unveiling of this new platform will spark discussion on how marketers can more effectively leverage the interactive out-of-home channel.

Touchwall Demo from Joel on Vimeo.

The video shows some of the application work that was put together, and while I would argue whether this is entirely intuitive, it’s definitely a step up over most multi-touch, multi-user stretch-and-spin-the-photo crap I have seen on videos and in person. Unfortunately, somebody from Schematic had to utter the tired comparison to the film, Minority Report.

I also like the part when the Microsoft platform guy says, “With the wall, you just walk into it and the wall knows who you are.”

Well if you somehow walk into this wall, the wall knows you are one clumsy fella, and you’ve just given somebody a $200,000 (guess) heart attack. 

He was awkwardly talking about RFID reader work, which is indeed clever and appropriate.

I haven’t figure out what the screen is. It’s stitched rear-projection, I think … with some kind of touch overlay.

As noted, Schematic says they are now active in our space. Expect more of the interactive guys to follow, and really push the envelope … which will be welcomed.

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