Intel-InWindow launch big-dollar interactive “Experience Stations”

Intel appears to be taking its digital signage concept ideas off trade show floors and getting them into the wild, most notably though “Experience Stations” being run with New York-based Inwindow Outdoor.

These stations are 70-inch multi-touch screens that also respond to gestures using Microsoft Kinect. They have built-in NFC and run Intel’s Audience Impression Metrics software (video analytics).

Waving the flag, the project has a huge Canadian component, with the user interface and applicatiosn developed by a couple of Ottawa firms, Teknision and YOUi Labs. The AIM suite is what Intel got when it bought Toronto-based Cognovision.

The station is a pilot project and there are five in the field in NY, Dallas, Atlanta and Philly. Erick Schonfeld of TechCrunch took one of the units for a drive at a Hilton hotel the other day, and offered these impressions:

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.

TC also shot a video which doesn’t want to embed, so click here …

Interesting stuff. Crazy-expensive like a lot of these Intel showpieces, but proofs of concept tend to be like that. The concept itself seems a little unformed, but I suppose the idea is that these units would become the norm in public spaces and consumers would grow conditioned to walk up to get deals, buy tickets, grab information (like directions), and so on.

I’m not sure about some of the stuff, like having to strike a pose to get a Daily Deal coupon (pfffft), but the point of this is likely to see what resonates and what gets ignored.

InWindow is waaaay more known for big experiential streetfront installations for brands, media properties and new movies. CEO Steve Birnhak says the stations are jointly funded with Intel, and says this is a logical progression for his company.

“In terms of how it fits, as you’ve seen from our projects over the years, we have evolved from street-level locations to malls to free-standing ‘Cubes’ and now to Experience Stations and progressed from static displays in our early days to highly customized interactive technologies,” says Birnhak. “So there’s been a natural evolution in our products, but we have a history of creating deeply engaging brand experiences in public spaces and that’s why Intel chose to work with us.

“Our companies both believe the future of digital signage is personalized, interactive and measurable and that’s what Experience Stations are designed to do.”