In what is an almost epic reach, Mashable is describing a trade show-bait thing put together by Razorfish and Microsoft, for NRF this week, as the arrival, finally, of that big, frighteningly invasive moment in the flick Minority Report when ad screens start beckoning Tom Cruise to engage and buy.
This isn’t even close, and it’s not all that creepy, which is also suggested.
Remember that scene in Minority Report where Tom Cruise walks into a store and a cheery face on a video screen turns to him and asks how those assorted tank tops worked out for him? The tech isn’t just fantasy anymore — it’s here and now, thanks to Microsoft.
Hooking up the just-announced Kinect for Windows sensor with a software package from Razorfish, Microsoft has created an interactive storefront, which the company unveiled at a retail trade show in New York City. The setup lets passers-by interact with the store display and even use their smartphones to access store catalogs and shop.
It goes like this: The store window has a TV behind it hooked up to a Kinect. The moment someone walks by the display and into the Kinect’s field of view, the display reacts to grab their attention. Once in front of the screen, they can gesture to call up items they’re interested in, swipe through inventory, or interact with the models, depending on the precise software setup.
When you get your smartphone involved, it’s even more interesting. The screen displays a QR code in the top corner, which will hook the phone up with an HTML5 app built for the store. Then the user can walk away and shop whenever he or she wants, and even use it with Microsoft Surface tables inside, if the store has them.
Microsoft’s obviously catering to retailers here, but how do you feel as a customer? Do you think an interactive ad is fun and exciting? Or is it just creepy? Give us your take in the comments.
OK, first, get some working microphones. And then someone who can demo the thing properly.
The Razorfish guys are hardly dummies and there are things to like about this at a conceptual level. They also don’t use the reference in their press about this retail experience project. But it is not much more than a Kinect triggering content instead of a motion sensor or other mechanical switch. Whether people really would stop and engage will depend heavily on the content experience and the reward for engaging. My safe guess is most people in a mall or on a street would just fly on by.
There is nothing – apart from the gestures which are now very commonplace – to suggest this is the privacy-threatened ad world of Minority Report. In technology advertising, that phrases is taking on the same unibrow thinking of all those TV journalists who attach “Gate” to absolutely anything scandalous, somehow concluding they’re being clever.
Just stop. When a company does actually cross the privacy line, we’ll all be so tired of the reference we’ll just skip on by.
Like Mashable generally, but this is a lazy, dim-witted effort, at best.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.